I don't know about you, but the whole drunken mess involving a possibly surly cop, a possibly surly Safe Ride Home driver, and a vanload of certainly tipsy passengers is giving me a headache to rival a hangover.
Our story unfolds on a recent night in the downtown bar scene, with Judy Dyer picking up people who shouldn't be getting behind the steering wheels of their own cars, if you catch my drift. She's been driving less-than-sober people home, courtesy of the United Cerebral Palsy of San Luis Obispo, for many years.
From there, the story turns into a big "he said, she said" argument, with a cop asking her to move her Safe Ride Home van from its vantage point in front of Mission Grill so as not to block traffic. She said he was rude. He said she was rude.
In my experience, if the "he" in "he said" has a badge, he may not realize or care that he sounds like a jerk when he asks people to comply with his orders, no question. Also in my experience, if the "she" in "she said" is responsible for a dozen or two post-party travelers, she may not realize that she responds to commands with less decorum and more frazzled nerves.
Also in my experience, "if you mess with a cop, you never come out on top." It's a little saying I like to say to myself whenever I approach a DUI checkpoint. The man in uniform may be wrong, but he's also got handcuffs and pepper spray and a gun and probably a buddy who's got all that stuff, too. That doesn't make everything a police officer does right or good or even moral, but it does make a convincing argument not to mouth off if all the cop in question is doing is asking you to sign a traffic ticket.
Traffic tickets you can get out of. Handcuffs not so much.
The big brouhaha escalated from ticket to handcuffs when Judy either did or did not use the F-bomb, depending on who you believe, and then did or did not do something illegal by not quite doing what the officer asked her to do in the first place.
The executive director for the group that provides the van has said he believes in the "if you mess with a cop, you never come out on top" philosophy, though he didn't put it in as many words. It's a pretty safe belief, but it's also apparently a harsh one, since Judy's now out of a job. Less-than-sober drivers are also now out of luck while the group tries to find a replacement van driver before too many people plow into medians, light poles, and fire hydrants on their way out of downtown over the summer.
It's already happened, according to a friend of one of the young ladies in the van that night.
Solid objects generally can't travel through other solid objects. This is a great principle to remember if you're studying physics, but is a real bitch if you're trying to avoid accidents on your way home after a night at the bars.
Apparently, after the incident, police told the group of variously soused passengers to find other rides home, which, to at least one of them, meant getting into her own car and driving herself as close to home as she could. She did a good job for a while, I hear, but she didn't quite make it back to her own driveway with an un-bended fender because solid objects generally can't travel through other solid objects. This is a great principle to remember if you're studying physics, but is a real bitch if you're trying to avoid accidents on your way home after a night at the bars.
So Judy mouthed off to a cop. Or not. Either way, she's got a track record of getting people home safe and alive. I think. Come to think of it, I've never seen her record.
Someone should take a look at her record and, if everything checks out, give her a slap on the wrist. Make it a hard slap on the wrist. Mouthing off to a cop is plain stupid.
Then, give her the job back. The least she'll do is save lives.
Or get arrested. I take no responsibility if she gets arrested again.
Go for the gold
I don't mean to always pick on the Tribune. Well, maybe I do, but I feel bad about it. Well, that's a lie, too. Let me start over.
I always mean to pick on the Tribune - and I feel great about it - but I'm not sure whether the Trib means to pick on us here at New Times, even though sometimes it feels like it. Take, for instance, the way they cover us ... when they have to.
Look at the cover of the local section from June 6.
On second thought, don't. Keep reading this paper. I'll tell you about the Tribune so you don't actually have to see it yourself.
If you were to look at the cover of the local section from June 6, you'd see a big picture of Team New Times wrapping up the kayaking portion of the recent Adventure Challenge at Santa Margarita Lake. Then, you'd look closer.
If you were a typical reader, you wouldn't see anything wrong. But if you were a New Times employee, you wouldn't see any fellow employees.
The caption with the picture sort of implies that event winners Chris Stehula and Miles Neissen, who, I assume, are the guys actually in the photo, somehow work in the same building as me. They don't, which also means that Team New Times didn't take first place in the competition. But thanks to everybody who's congratulated us so far. Â³