Sunday, April 15, 2007

San Diego's Finest

DISCLAIMER: The not smoking thing is not going well. This will make more sense a little further down in the story.

Okay, glad to get that out of the way.

Yesterday La and I went to the San Diego Museum of Art to see ArtAlive. If you’re not familiar with ArtAlive, or are not from San Diego, ArtAlive is an event where participants create a floral display representing (hopefully) a piece of artwork that they’re assigned to. It’s been going on in San Diego nigh on 51 years now. As we have three designers representing Che Bella it was important for us to take a look and support our crew.
La and I walked to Balboa Park from Little Italy – a half hour walk on a beautiful sunny day to meet La’s sister in front of the museum to take in the event. We arrived a bit early, so La and I went to the Timken to kill some time. Not much has changed there, but the art is still beautiful.

La’s sister arrives and we take the tour. I must say that I do not know how the judges rate the florals because our staff’s work was superior to 99% of what was showing there, and we didn’t receive any kudos. I’m biased of course, but you can check it out yourself. Anyway, that’s beside the point. That said, I must say the Grand Prize winner did an excellent job, a beautifully balanced piece that gave motion to the still life that she had to interpret, truly a great job. She really deserved it.

Anyway, our plan was to survey the show and have lunch at the Prado. And that we did.

The Prado was PACKED; La was told there was a 45-minute wait (we were starving) so we decided to have a drink (or two) at the bar. Eventually, we were seated on the patio and to enjoy a lovely, languid lunch.

It WAS a lovely lunch; with two gorgeous girls I’ve known more than half my life; on a beautiful day in sunny San Diego.

After coffee and paying the check, everyone had to visit the restroom. Ladies’ rooms being what they are, I was done well before the girls were, so I decided that I’d meet them out front and have a smoke, and I’m feelin’ mighty fine after two beers, two glasses of wine, Ahi, and other sundry fine foods.’

I walk out to the parking lot, it’s kind of a Piazza for cars and I see two mounted policeman on the lawn. They were on horses. I stop and pull a cigarette out of my pocket and light up, take a deep drag…

…and I’m thinking to myself – nice horses, but those cops look ridiculous with those funny helmets.

“Hey You! Put out the cigarette!”

Is this guy talking to me? I shrugged my shoulders and looked at him with a “you talkin’ to me” in my best De Niro expression.

The cop does the C’mere gesture with his hand. I say this in retrospect as I was still trying to digest why this cop all of a sudden had my number.


“If I put it out are you going to give me a ticket for littering?” A G note fine by the way.

“That’s it, you’re getting a ticket”

What! C’mon man you don’t have to give me ticket.

“I do now”


“Because you didn’t come when I told you to come.”

Now I’m pissed. Luckily La and her sister come into the scene. This cop is intent on writing me a ticket, I’ve asked him numerous times to lighten up and just let it go…


He’s got to whip it out.

After all, he’s a cop AND he’s on a horse, albeit with a completely ridiculous helmet.

This guy is taking his ever-sweet time in writing this ticket, knowing that I’m getting more pissed off by the second. I am SO glad La and her sister were there to take control because this guy SO wanted me to say or do something to give him a reason to arrest me.

As they were walking up, I turned to a passerby (who happened to be Australian) and said, “Can you believe this sh*t, I’m getting a ticket for smoking! Last time I checked this was the United States of America!” The Aussie, God love him, put two fingers horizontally under his nose, and gave the Hitler salute.

This only served to further piss off said cop.

La engages the cop on the horse with the ridiculous helmet and her sister leads me away because she knows that in a 10th of second I’m going to go ballistic and end up in the county lock up.

By now I’m about 10 yards away, and La’s sister is telling me all the things to get my mind off the stupid cop who’s determined to give me a ticket. Such as, “I’ve never noticed the sailboat weathervane on the Museum of Man”.

“Me too”

In the meantime, La is looking up at the cop on the horse with eyes like the cat in Shrek.

Poor guy.

Then Dudley Doo-Right starts to get fidgety. He’s taking his sweet time writing the ticket and babbling on to La about warning people all day about not smoking in the park and this is his first ticket, and if I wasn’t so belligerent I wouldn’t be getting a ticket, and how there’s signs everywhere.

La looks around “I don’t any signs anywhere.”

“Well, there all over the place”

Dudley’s partner says “I don’t know why he’s so upset over a $10.00 ticket”

La says, “It’s not the ticket, it’s the (and she makes a gesture where her crooked little finger simulating a little … you know).”

“By the way”, La says, “why is it taking so long to write this ticket?”

“Well, you keep talking and interrupting me, and asking me for an explanation.”

“I haven’t said a word”

“Have so.”

Just kidding.

At this point, nature calls on the bowels of the horse. Jeez, right there in the middle of the park!

“Well, it seems your horse has made a bit of a mess?” La says.

He said, “It’s NOT against the law!”

Well that’s good to know, isn’t it? I’m not sure the dog owners know about that one.

Dudley has finally finished writing his ticket (it’s taken 37 minutes) and has to have me sign it. I ask him what if I don’t sign it…

“Then you go to jail.”

Can you believe that?

I signed, not wanting to go to jail. That said, I do know the King. I have to show up IN COURT for this, unbelievable.

If the guy had said to me, “Excuse me Sir, but it’s illegal to smoke in public parks, please put out your cigarette.” I’d put out the cigarette no question.

And that’s the end of the story. As Elvis Costello said:

“I used to be disgusted, but now I’m just amused.”

Y’all have a great weekend.


Apollo said...


That is too incredible to believe.

Well take heart bro.

A lot of these guys join the force just to be able to harass and intimidate people with immunity.

It wasn't about the smoking once he realized he couldn't do the latter to you.

If this is the Modus Operandi of his crime fighting technique then I'm quite sure, amongst his peers back at the station, he's a silent laughing stock.

Perhaps, that's why he's protecting the patrons of a public park from the evils of secondhand smoke on horseback. Meter maid duty was probably all full up.

Maybe you should have said,

"Look at that honey!"

"I've never seen a jack-ass ride a horse before!"

Anyway, the cop is probably related to Michael Nifong.

Apollo said...

One more thing.

My wife reminded me there was a car-jacking in Balboa Park yesterday.

Perhaps the S.D.P.D needs to re-prioritize a bit.

Just a thought.