Officer Alex comes to term with being awake in the daylight hours
I was easing down the highway in the early morning light of what was a new day to some but the end of a long day to me, and I couldn’t get home fast enough. I was vulnerable here.
I was a midnight man and unaccustomed to the details the light provides as well as the people that bathed themselves in it, and I could relate to neither. I didn’t blame them for their lifestyles mind you, but I may as well have been in a different (and potentially hostile) country.
I was a time traveler; in the daylight hours it’s still “yesterday” to me and it was more than these aliens could process so the time between dawn and arriving at my blacked-out bedroom was a race. This was my mindset when I rounded a curve on the interstate and came upon a motor cop with a customer on the shoulder, and I felt instantly at ease.
He was leaning through the passenger side window of the car with an elbow propped up just casually enough to make you miss the fact his gun hand was inches from the pistol on his hip, and the smile on his face as I passed served the same purpose as it camouflaged the squint of his eyes behind his shades.
Motor cops are a unique breed amongst cops, which are weirdo’s enough as it is on a good day.
They are not pack animals; they are solitary beasts used to only the company of the highway and the interior of their cars or the exteriors of their bikes. They are fierce creatures of habit and resistant to change and find comfort in the repetition of their duties, and quite often won’t even promote up for fear of losing their jobs in what cops universally refer to as “Traffic.”
They are deceptively quiet in that you don’t know they’re there until provoked, and God help you when they bring the thunder. I’m not sure if it’s a passive-ggressive thing or just a result of professional isolation, but never assume for a second the wheels aren’t turning below the surface when you’re in the same room with one.
The quiet demeanor also hides the fact they’re probably the smartest (or certainly the most mathematically proficient) person in the room. Their innate knowledge of physics and engineering actually further isolates them from the rest of the herd because they are almost uncomfortable with their own knowledge when it comes to the skills acquired over the years and hundreds of hours of training they receive in the field of traffic crash reconstruction. Grade, surface type, moisture…they knew more about drag coefficients than a politician knew about kissing babies.
As solitary as they were though, when you saw more than one at a time it was both fascinating and terrible because while you were observing a group of highly trained and highly skilled individuals almost wordlessly working together like a well-oiled machine, they only came together when a crash was so bad the cops basically had to call the cops.
The roadways and highways around us are harsh mistresses. Easily taken for granted and wildly unforgiving, and the only thing they do better than taking vehicle tires to task is rending flesh from bone in any increments one could choose, depending on their mass and impact speed.
You don’t look at certain patches of roadways in this profession without remembering having to step around unidentifiable body parts, and you don’t look at certain classic Cadillac steering wheel columns without remembering what they looked like sticking out from between someone’s shoulder blades after making a poor choice in crossing traffic against a Helig Meyer truck…and this horror show to some was an “office” to them. Did I mention they were solitary?
Yes… I was no longer the weirdest guy on the highway, and it brought me comfort. I felt my shoulders slump a little and actually felt more tired than uncomfortable as the blue lights still strobed in my rearview mirror from the Harley casually tilted on its kickstand awaiting its rider.
Till the next time, you beautiful weirdo.
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.