THIS IS A TRUE STORY…
It was April. It had to be the 14th, because it was when I was wrapped shooting Murder University; but before tax time. So, it was Josh and Nicole’s wedding day, the 14th. Since the first and only winter storm of 2012 in Rhode Island, I had been shooting 10 -14 hour days each Saturday and Sunday on the film. Additionally to my restricted weekends, I work in an office chained to a computer past dark winter dusks.
On the 14th of April, I felt free. I have been officially unfettered for my weekends. Now I had to be in the Cape, but seeing good friends at an open bar is equal to freedom. The kick to the shin had been that when I went to do my taxes on line, I had discovered that my Social Security Number had been attained by a cyber thief. Identity theft was the term used. I have had my debit card stolen four times; but this was more frightening.
But after meeting with a CPA in East Providence on this specific sunny Saturday, I felt liberated. This accountant had remedied my rampart with the IRS. I had nowhere to be for a few hours. I had been catapulted into a day now boasting a thermometer reading in the high 70’s. and I was driving; something I was still getting used to as the past New Year’s Eve was my purchase of a car; which I had not had for two and a half years. Oh, and this new car has a Bose system.
Sun? check. Solitude? Check. Speakers, of the bad ass variety? Check. Open Schedule? Check.
I was driving North on Broadway over Waterman Ave. I kept going through EP, realizing that I could have gone about 5 different ways that would have been shorter. But fuck it. It is a gorgeous, warm day and I am unrestricted in my traversing abilities. Now, for those unfamiliar; Broadway is a route. It is a commercial causeway with no residences, most days of the past two decades crippled under construction. So, I adjusted my stereo up to 40, its peak number of volume. DEATH THREAT was the band of choice; God and Government was the album. This album gets me pumped; hardcore with a punk edge, made for sing-a-longs.
I went down Broadway amongst the tractor trailer smog releasing pipes and cantankerous horns. The jackhammers were absent, but businesses and automobiles relieved their burden. My pointed fingers were lifted from the steering wheel to emphasize the important refrains of DEATH THREAT. Shouting the important phrases of rebellion filled my small sized cockpit. I drive across route 44 and approached the empty field that cradles the small no exit bridge that goes east into providence’s Wayland Square.
Technically, this is a bridge and a highway, despite its ¾ mile length. My screaming reached its acme as I was on the bridge over the water, void of others’ ears to care about. I was most likely travelling at about 65 mph and riding the ecstasy of an unsheathed sun and inconsequential singing. A combination of early summer weather and hardcore music is quite the endorphin rush.
I pull off the short bridge and quickly am dropped into a few blocks of upscale residences and posh shops. I hit a green light on the first stop enabling my speed and autonomy. A small amount of traffic and my recognition of many pedestrians pushed my foot on the brake. My car slowed, but I felt as independent as prior routes due to my singing freely to my favorite song, “Broke and Bummed Out”.
I pulled up to the red light at the first major five way intersection and most likely the busiest one. I was in idle; giddy and bouncing to the pulsating rhythms of the deep bass and crisp drums. Out of the corner of my right eye, I felt an imposing presence. I reluctantly and slowly moved my head. As I peered across my empty passenger seat, I noticed a waving hand; slightly above me, dangling from an elevated seat of a large SUV.
My mind spoke to my body, “ignore…”. I am, however, a considerate individual. So I looked to make eye contact. A look of disdain ravaged this man’s face as his lips moved in futility to state words that my ears would not hear over the Bose speakers proud abilities. My finger reached to power button. With a complete deflating of my excitement, I turned my music off.
My elation had been vacuumed out of me and I am sure my face reflected this acrimony. Through my clamoring thoughts, I eventually heard his disappointed scolding.
“You can’t do that,” he spat.
He then extended his left arm past his side mirror and flipped open a wallet like folder that showed two sides with white papers that had some sort of print on it.
“Uh,… your music. Stop blaring your music”.
“Stop blaring your music! People don’t want to hear that.” He shook his discouraging face, as he put his wallet back into his lap inside his truck.
“I cant’ blare my music?” I sternly asked in a mocking tone.
“People don’t want to hear that”. His frustration was obvious.
“So I can listen to it, I just can’t ‘blare’ it?” I repeated.
At this point the light had turned green. I threw my car in neutral and sat still.
Hoping to emphasize that if he just tolerated the 60 seconds of loud tunes that it would be over by now, I took my hands off of the wheel and leaned in closer to my open passenger window that was fixed between us.
“yes. Do not blare your music,” he repeated.
“Well, how loud is blaring?” I immediately asked. It seemed logical to me to inquire how to translate his glaringly obvious relative term that he tried to utilize to constrain me.
His face sank with grinding teeth and bitten tongue like an indignant father to an obstinate 5 year old having a tantrum. Clearly, such a subjective term, relating to a volume regulated device driven by digits, needs to be formatted in a regimented nomenclature. But he did not agree with my interpretation as proven by his shaking head.
“Really?” a pause of disbelief breathed in between his dry statements look, “just turn it down”.
“And what was that paper you flashed at me?”
He again paused as the horns of cars that did not drive around me honked from behind as the red light took its noble stance again above us. This is also when I noticed that he was parked at the corner of the sidewalk where no parking space is designated. This triggered a feeling of superiority despite is intimidating retort.
“State Police” he stated firmly.
“Now just go” he exclaimed as the light turned green again and I pondered whether to point out his legal infraction of a no parking zone or that if he just let me go that I could have been gone long ago. I hesitated slightly, but put my car into gear and seethed at the families looking to cross in front of me.
I drove off at a medium pace. I was appalled. I was silenced. I was bewildered. I am a purveyor of logic. Detached from emotion or any personal affront, I would like to simply ask: “what the fuck, man?!?”. Fo real? Clearly if he had just let me pass then the duration of my belligerent aural attack would have lasted an entire 30 seconds. I will however concede to his point of “people do not want to hear that”. He has no consideration for that simple fact that I just got off of a highway, for argument’s sake. Obviously, I was driving open and free and only have to dip through this pretentious neighborhood momentarily until I am plunged into the downtown area. I would have been a minimal imposition at most.
Regardless of my astonishment, I will succumb to his declaration to defend the eardrums of the delicate, uppity neighborhood. What does he do when some obnoxious business man gets in an argument with a client on a cell phone in the crosswalk? What about when one of these bored housewives mismanages their 3 year old’s disposition and the annoying twit has a blaring tantrum for all to hear? Madness. Simple madness.
And that whole flash of a badge thing. Fuck you. You are off duty, you are parked illegally and you are just an arrogant dick. I didn’t see any legible print. It was paper. And then you get offended when I asked what it represented; as if I should have memorized all forms of state official patterns? At least when I watch the X-Files they have big blue undeniable letter: “FBI”. I saw nothing resembling “P-O-L-I-C-E”. What a cocky prick.
All this for music. All this for feeling good. The stores had their doors open, blaring their banal audio assault. If I was walking on the sidewalk, could I flag him down and ask him to approach a manager on my behalf? Bullshit. He is blindly dedicated to protecting this rich-ass community nestled amongst the Starbucks and crosswalks. I often to think of visiting this area because they have independently owned shops but fuck them. If I can’t be myself amongst that community than I have no desire to support them. Hypocrites.