Let the record show that Val is no stranger to law enforcement officials.
That is not to say that there are frequent APBs out for her arrest. Nor that she's a subject of multiple investigations concerning nuisance calls, fraudulent insurance claims, or has a habit of crying wolf. I have been on the calling end when my apartment was burglarized, the receiving end when I broke the law by exceeding the posted speed limit, and the investigated end during a round of polygraphs administered at a former workplace. Each personal interaction with representatives of the assorted agencies was of a positive nature.
Likewise, I have brought up my boys to show respect to men of law, whether local, state, or members of a private security force. To do as told first, and ask questions later. Genius had no problem with being followed, and asked to whip out his ID several times on his first casino visit when he turned 21. Nor did he fault the officers who locked up two of his college roommates for the weekend during his freshman year. After all, they DID steal a bicycle and trespass on the construction site of the new chemistry building and (attempt to) run away in handcuffs, all while underage staggering drunk.
I was not pleased with the way a member of the local police force represented himself today.
Oh, don't go thinking Val is in the hoosegow! Or released on her own recognizance. The situation had precious little to do with Val. She was just an innocent bystander. Made to feel like an interloper.
There I was, minding my own business in the back corner of Bill-Paying Town's Walmart. It was shortly after 11:00 a.m. I approached the deli counter with the intent of getting six chicken wings. Val does not live by gas station chicken alone, you know.
At the end of the counter was A Policeman in uniform. Black pants, blue shirt, gun in holster, handcuffs, the whole rig. He was standing at the counter like a customer would, looking over it, talking to three women who work there. I walked up to the other end of the counter, seeing the hot foods through the glass, waiting to be waited on.
The Policeman turned to look sideways at me over his left shoulder. "Yeeesss...?"
"I was just going to get some chicken wings..."
Let the record show that I had no business with The Policeman. I was just a customer waiting to be waited on, with the purpose of procuring six chicken wings. He was obviously NOT going to take my order. So what business of it was his that I was waiting at the counter? If he was conducting an investigation, I presume that Walmart has a conference room available for such important, confidential business.
It's not like I walked up to that group and took out my ear trumpet and tried to eavesdrop. I was the length of the counter from them. At least 10 feet away. So I don't appreciate the tone, and the look, and the telegraphed insinuation that I was a Nosy Nancy, trying to find out what was going on, as if I was shopping in that area and noticed the confab and wanted the scoop.
When I was still in the workforce, and we had parent conferences at night, and ordered in food for our evening meal...parents would often show up at the very minute we sat down to eat, as a group, in the cafeteria. Let the record show that none of us were keen on leaving our hot meal and hotter gossip to get up and traipse down to our classroom and face a possible haranguing from a possibly irate parent. But we did. And we did it in a cheerful manner, as positive as all get-out, because that's what a professional does. You do not make the other party feel unwanted or like an interloper. "Oh, Mrs. Smith. I'm glad you were able to stop by. Oh, no. You're not interrupting. We've been waiting for people to come see us! Come on down to my room, so I can look up Johnny's information."
Anyhoo...I don't appreciate The Policeman making himself the center of the universe. I had no business with him. I only wanted my chicken wings. One of the older of the three ladies said, "I'll get her." And came down behind the counter and took my order, as pleasant as could be. Because she knows the meaning of PROFESSIONALISM.
"What can I get you?"
"Six chicken wings, please."
"Which ones? These ranch ones?"
"No. In the front. The plain ones."
"Drums or flats?"
"Half and half."
"All right. Anything else?"
"No thanks. That's it."
"There you are. Have a nice day, ma'am."
Since The Policeman was acting all self-important and top-secretive, right there in the ordering area of Walmart's deli counter, I couldn't help but have my attention on him as my wings were being bagged. I don't know the specifics, but when the younger clerk would start to tell her information about what she said, and what a customer said, The Policeman would condescendingly say something like, "And you want me to...?" I'm not sure why there wasn't a better place to carry out this official business than right there by the hot food counter, but I wasn't even interested until The Policeman turned to me unnecessarily. He could have simply said, in the beginning, "I'm sorry, Ma'am. Could you give us a minute?" That would be understandable. Not the look. And the sing-songy, "Yeeesss?"
Sure, it's not like he tased me and put a knee between my shoulders and buffeted me about the head with a billy club. I just took offense to his attitude. Even all five of the law enforcement officers who have written me speeding tickets have been more pleasant and professional.
I'm an old lady, by cracky! Just what did The Policeman think I was going to do, listen in on his conversation and blog about it? Oh, wait...