Rear View Paranoid

REAR-VIEW

I thought my life was flashing before my eyes as paranoia began creating a vortex for its ascent from my stomach up into my head. Fear shot electronic impulses through my entire body as the flashing continued. Get hold of yourself dude, everythings cool!! Its an actual flashing not my life flashing. A quick peek in the rear view mirror reveals there is a cop car advertising its intentions behind me in my car. The cop car drove past me in pursuit of another driver. My adrenal glands began chuckling as the paranoia flew out the window into the cosmos. Those flashing lights weren’t for me at all. The welcome relief washed over me but the tension remained. WTF? At this point of my life I am an upstanding law abiding citizen. Well aside from whatever I may do in the privacy of my own home but that’s my business. My car is legal, I drive and obey the traffic laws, (like never speed when a cop is near by, etc.) so I have no reason to fear even if I do get pulled over. I no longer keep any stashes under my seat or papers in the console. Hell man, I even had my seatbelt on. So why this rush of paranoia every time a cop is behind me when I drive? Primal evolutionary instinct? Not exactly but it can be traced back to my teen years.
Like most of the derelict suburban youths of my era my first contact with police outside of school visits, or watching Dick Tracy and Courageous cat and Minute Mouse, was our own teenage version of cat and mouse with the cops. We wanted to get drunk drinking cheap beer or wine and they wanted to catch us and sadistically pour it out while sarcastically letting us know we should head home to Mommy and Daddy. In truth it was an okay relationship for both parties, they could tell the adults in town that the streets were free of drunken degenerate teen hoodlums and we only had to cry over spilled beer, not get in big trouble with Mom and Dad. But it all changed when the evil Satan Smoke, Beelzebub bud, the Devils Weed crept its vile horned joint rolled self into our teen culture. The sinister antichrist herbal delight swept into our teen lungs, relieving our teen angst, making us teen laugh, giving us teen munchies, and made us feel all around teen fucking awesome.
Unfortunately the post teen portion of suburbia was not as enchanted with wacky weed as we were, they were certain it would turn each and every one of us into drug addicted serial killers who threaten to tear and shred the very fabric of their three martini society to shreds. Our relationship with the police altered drastically at this point. The police needed to massage the concerns of the scotch swilling adults assuring them no marijuana could find its way into their neighborhoods but we wanted to massage our minds with that very same illegal weed of wit and wisdom. Now our job as teens was to smoke pot and get high free of handcuffs and the cops hoped to arrest us and lock us up so the rest of society could rest easy knowing the refer mad hooligans were locked up alongside murderers, rapers, and armed robbers. Where we belonged. (is there a special font for sarcasm?) Then and only then could society relax and take a deep breath. Not a breath test, because I’m pretty certain most of our parents would register above the limit for alcohol. Anyway, the dichotomy changed, we found better hiding spots and continued our evil ways and cops continued in fruitless pursuit of passionate pot puffing juvenile perps.
Once we began driving however, the cops had the advantage. With badge comes privilege and the police were willing and able to take liberties in their attempts to remove our liberties. Now they could exact their revenge for our ability to avoid capture by flashing those strobe like red lights to pull us over on a minor violation accomplishing two things. First they knew that it sent a surge of paranoia through our circulatory systems causing discomfort, perhaps even incontinence. That’s the primal response I was speaking of earlier. Secondly, a pull over and the badge equipped them with everything they needed to search our cars to find out where we kept our hash pipes or hidden stashes, because they knew we were still prolifically puffing the perverse pot of decadence. With any luck they would then have the opportunity to use the Miranda right speech they had committed to memory for real. The bust of the neighborhood, a few more hardened (well stoned anyway) criminals locked away making society safe to continue forcing its backward values on their youths.
So now, even when I’ve reached the age where high school students read about our antics of demonstrating while high on the woeful weed in their history classes I still stiffen in paranoia when a cops lights flash in my mirror. That’s living proof of evolution right there, my brain has adapted to the fear of danger caused by flashing red lights just as our ancestors developed the fight or flight response from being chased by ferocious human devouring animals. My children probably have this red light fear gene embedded in their DNA already. Or maybe its just a stoner reaction. If that’s the case I wonder is if this paranoid phenomenon will ever cease. Will I ever be able to drive normally when a cop is behind me? Am I destined to peering behind my wheelchair in the old folks home if a light flickers while rolling to early bird dinner?
I get that the institution of policing is important, ever since I reached the point I understood I really never was invincible I understood that believing in anarchy is a part of teen angst coming of age, but like I said, I obey laws. For the most part anyway, and the few laws I may bend are hardly worth punishing because I obviously will never learn and will never consider my minor indiscretions to be evil or wrong. But seriously guys, there must be a way to break this cycle of fear every time I see a cop.
PEACE

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