Friday, March 23, 2012

On the mean streets of Austin

So it happened, I had my first ride-along on Thursday night.  I began at five in the afternoon and went through the end of the shift, at midnight.  Here are some observations.

1.  You know how, when you speed, you eyeball cars stopped at the side of the road to make sure they aren't cop cars?  You know, you tap the brakes until you're sure it's just someone broken down or out of gas, maybe an abandoned vehicle.  Well, guess what?  You still do it when you're riding in a cop car!  Yep, we'd be cruising along and I'd check out cars parked facing the road, then realize, Hey!  I'm in the cop car!  Sorry, "unit."

2.  Texting is dangerous.  You know how I know?  There we are, tootling along a downtown street and I look to my right, into the car of the woman driving beside us.  She's texting while driving beside a police car, which, as you can tell by my outrage, is not allowed in Austin.  Be clear: my outrage is not at the fact that she was breaking the law, but that texting is so obviously distracting that she didn't even see the cop car beside her.  Honestly, that moment (looong moment) really crystallized how absorbing texting must be if she had no idea we were there.

3.  People are funny.  Take, for example, the old boy (picture a gold prospector or sheriff's sidekick in a western movie) who told us all about the band he was in, the $250,000 he was being paid next week for playing at the White House, the weed he smoked with Willie Nelson last week.  He was the band's drummer, he said, then proceeded to sing through whistling teeth some unrecognizable song.  My cop (okay, I don't own him he just kept me safe all night) listened politely, respectfully, and nodded along.  (I, on the other hand, wanted to respond to the singing with, "No wonder you're the band's drummer.")

4.  Police officers can hold entire conversations in numbers.  Seriously, they don't even know they are doing it.  The Sgt. emailed me before the ride-along and said to "21 her when I got to the sub."  In some alternative communities, I'm lead to believe that's quite an invitation.  Turns out she just wanted me to call her when I got to the station.

Well, that's all for now.  Any questions?  I'll be riding every week so I don't want to 86 my 91s.  Or 22 my 38s.  Whatever, you know what I mean.


  1. "Texting is dangerous. You know how I know? "

    I have a friend, over thirty yeas of age, who texts while paying perfect attention to the road (he scans the road and mirrors between each and every letter and doesn't fix typos). Does that prove texting isn't dangerous?

    I have seen many other people drive as distracted as the driver you describe, or even more so, and they weren't texting. Does that prove all people are too dangerous to drive?

    Not paying attention to the road is dangerous. Depending upon a variety of factors, including a person's awareness, medical conditions, age, skill at the other activity, driving skill, level of fatigue, stress, intelligence level, etc determines whether an individual can drive safely or not while texting or not. Some state-licensed drivers are more dangerous driving while only driving than others (including some unlicensed drivers) are while texting (and sometimes while also smoking and eating and changing the radio.

  2. I really enjoy reading your blog, so on my blog ( I have awarded you the Liebster Blog Award (for inspiring and motivating blogs).

    Feel free to head on over to check out what it's all about and how to accept if you're interested!


  3. A Critic: to be fair, it was a light-hearted post not intended to besmirch the vehicular reputation of all texters. And yes, there are bad drivers when they are doing nothing but drivers (unrelated thought, does my M-in-L read my blog?!) but it's hard to argue that texting while driving is a good thing. It's not going to make anyone's driving better, and can only make it worse. You're right that smoking, eating, fiddling with the radio etc are equally (potentially) distracting, but my observation last week really hit the spot. And if she'd been eating a Big Mac or playing Wii instead of texting, I still would have posted about it.

    Julz: Me get an award? Never... I'll be right over to check it out!


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