Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall Session Writing Lab - Week #3 - Slavery

Engaging the Active Imagination: Writing as Activism (Fall Session)

Writing prompts
  • Write of a time you, or someone you know, has encountered an oppressive injustice

"Kim," I shouted from across the block.
With the day off from work I paraded around the streets of downtown by bike, stopping at any location I pleased - the central library, for a bite to eat, or a public bench to watch the street life unfold. Riding south on St. Mary's I spotted my friend Jimberly at the corner of Navarro and Martin and made my way to greet her. I noticed she was standing behind a long string of yellow caution tape. I glanced over the half-empty parking lot to see two cop cars and af ew police scattered about the scene of who knows what. I looked back to see the teape form an L shape from navarro to Martin but only covered the sidewalk; Martin street itself was not blocked off. And the scene itself was so far from the street lanes I assumed I couldn't be accused of "tampering with the evidence" or "interfering with an arrest."

I had almost reached Kim on the other end of the line when I heard a booming, aggressive voice directed towards me. Just about anyone can and will appraoch you in broad daylight on the streets of downtown, so I took a deep breath and turned around. The smile on my face turned solemn as I was looking at a stern, tense and tight-lipped cop.
"Please step right over here for me, sir," he said, bellowing at me as if he was still half a block away.
I turned to Kim and saw a frightened look of unease as she turned to tell me she was on her way to work and had to leave. My heart was beating fast as I walked my bike over to where the cop was pointing. I began to question and replay the events of my actions within the last three minutes:

Was it something I said? Did I even say anything? I know it's illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk, was I riding on the sidewalk? No way. What's going to happen when he asks for identification and I reach into my backpack?

All of this and more ran through my mind in a matter of 10 steps. I nervously faced the police officer, now standing by the yellow line of tape.
"What does that say?" he said, again with his condescending and authoritarian tone. At this point it became evident had no intention of lowering the volume of his voice. I stood there with a puzzled look on my face of "what does what say where?" though I dare not ask the question.
"Right there," he said, poitning to the yellow tape. Yes, he was determined to make his point with a brute show of force.
"The caution tape?" I said.
"Yes, read to me what it says right there," he said.
I immediately resented this and couldn't believe I was being subjected to such humiliation. I proceeded anyway out of fear.
"Poooliiice Line - DO...NOT...CROSS," I read slowly with an air of annoyance.
(to be cont'd...)