I had an experience with an officer in training the other day. I was pulling in to the parking lot of a store, pulling in to the aisle to park, and there were two women walking down the middle of the aisle about one car length in. By pulling into the aisle I got right behind them, and they didn't notice me until I was all the way in, about five feet away. One woman got out of the way, but the other stopped, turned around right in front of my car, and started yelling obscenities at me, "I'm walking here," and blah blah blah.
She stood there, said her piece, then moved out of the way to my side of the car. As I drove by she dropped an F bomb on me, so I dropped one in return. She was all full of beans until I spouted back at her, and then she became offended and was like, "Oh my god did you hear what he said?" to the other woman. I drove away, not caring much, and parked my car. We sat there for a while as my daughter finished her lunch, and as we're sitting there, I see Ms. Full of Beans behind my car, reading my license plate into her cell phone. I have no idea who this chick is or what she's going to do with my plate, so I get out and say, "What are you doing?" with my hands out to the sides, palms up. She sees me and runs off, and I stepped after her, again saying, "What do you think you're doing?"
Here's where it gets interesting. She goes from all full of piss and vinegar, all up-in-your-face attitude, to suddenly "terrified" and fearful. I'm not making this up - this really happens next - she grabs some bystander woman by the elbow and drags her into the store, telling the woman she's terrified of me or some such thing. I'm just standing there, arms out from my sides, palms up, with this "WTF" look on my face. They go inside and I was like, "Forget it" and went back to my car and waited for my daughter to finish lunch.
So a few minutes go by and she's done, and we go into the store and this woman is now at Customer Service (right next to the front door) with security, her hands shaking like crazy, with this totally terrified look on her face. I see her as we walk in and she does this quick spin like she can't even bear to look at me. So I go over to Customer Service to see what's going on, and they won't talk to me. Having done nothing wrong but not being a fool, I figure she's on the phone with the cops, so I wait.
Five minutes or so go by, and three cops RUN into the store. I've been standing there calmly doing nothing the whole time, and that's how they enter. So I tell the cops what happened, they take a statement from her, and I ask what's going on.
She accused me of trying to run her over in the parking lot. To the cops. This was probably not the best way to respond to that, but I just laughed when they told me.
The officer I’m speaking to is in training, and he’s the one who took her statement, and he’s being pretty cool about it. He’s not belligerent to me or anything, and he’s not treating me like the bad guy, which is cool, because this woman is accusing me of something that could be pretty serious.
Unfortunately for her, this store’s parking lot is covered by about ten different cameras, so all they have to do is check the tapes to see what happened. This takes about ten minutes, during which time I’m chatting with the officer, and this woman is over at Customer Service still going on with her antics, the shaking, the terrified look, everything. It’s not Oscar-worthy, but she was selling it.
The police get done looking at the video, and they go to her first. I don’t know what the officer told her, but she goes from this B-Movie Scream Queen look on her face, utter terror, to this “Well, F you too!” look, and then walks out. The trainee comes over to me, tells me I shouldn’t have given her an F bomb even if she bombed me first, and told me to have a nice day.
So that’s my first brush with the police in… two-plus decades. And he was a trainee and pretty cool. Even though he was new on the job he could see through her BS story, and it’s pretty helpful to have had the tape backup. I’m guessing once they saw her in front of my car shouting at me it was all over for the Drama Queen.
As I was chatting with the other officer waiting for them to review the tape, the cop told me that if the video looked like I was purposefully getting too close to the woman they would arrest me for Assault with a Motor Vehicle. How’s that for turning into the wrong aisle while grocery shopping?