My second arrest happened one weeknight as some friends and I congregated on the otherwise empty street. It was late, and I was–unfortunately–sober, and dreading the bus ride “home” to my squat. This time I was arrested for the dastardly crime of “obstructing the sidewalk” (from ghosts, apparently) without ID. Yes friends, in San Francisco standing on the sidewalk without ID is a crime!
So one minute I’m chatting with friends in an empty storefront, and the next two cops are on my like slavering dogs wanting my ID. When I don’t have one they charge me with obstruction, ask me if I have any weapons (I say no) and cart me back to the friendly holding station, where they once again handcuff me to the chair.
A guy comes out right away and exhorts me not to sing–but its ok, I don’t really feel like singing. I sit there miserably for an hour or so until the pressure on my bladder becomes unbearable, and then holler out my request to go the bathroom. After I’ve been yelling for a while, a stocky Latina policewoman struts out and uncuffs me, leading me to the nearby bathroom. Here’s where things start to go down-hill.
So she’s standing there watching me try to pee, and I just can’t do it. I just can’t pee with this heavy bitch staring at me. So I ask her, as politely as I can, to please turn around. Well, it’s at this point it occurs to her that I haven’t been searched yet. Who knows what crazy shit she expects me to do in the moments I’m planning on using to void my bladder–so she pulls me off of the toilet, and starts searching me, only to find a pocket folding knife, a double sided dagger-style letter opener, and, once again, my box-cutter (remember this was pre 9/11).
She responded as if I had smuggled a pocket sized nuclear bomb into the precinct, or at the very least. Shock. Outrage. Horror. Holding up my letter opener she yelled “This is a felony offense! A double edged blade!”
Me: “It’s a letter opener. It’s not sharp.”
Officer: “Double-edged blades are illegal in the state of California. And this!” (holding up my folding knife) “Another illegal weapon.”
Me: “It’s a pocket knife. Under four inches.”
Officer: “We’ll see about that! You’re going down for two felonies!”
Me: “Can I at least pee first?”