It was Beach Week, senior year in high school, and through a series of miscommunications, my friends and I ended up without a hotel room on Sunday night (graduation was Monday). Everything cheap was booked -- Ocean City, MD, was filled to its grimy, salt-water-taffy-encrusted gills. We meant to find some sort of accomodation, but, you know, we had so many other things to talk about...
So we picked out a likely condominium roof, brought up our sleeping bags, and camped out under the stars... it was quite beautiful, Ocean City a three-block-wide necklace of lights between the dark ocean and bay.
We woke up with the cops pointing guns at us. They figured us for (sleepy?) burglars. Once they figured out we were impecunious kids, they didn't actually want to book us, but the condo owners insisted.
Me and my friend John were 17; Liz and Jamey were 18. Me and John were handcuffed and stuffed in the back of one squad car... the cop (a young black guy, actually a D.C. law student being a cop for the summer, or something) climbed in the front and saw us looking a little... unhappy. "You juvies?" he asked.
"Don't worry, we treat juvies real good. We need the repeat business."
John and I thinking: this cop is *cool*.
Cop: "y'all don't mind if we listen to my MUSIC, do you?"
We shook our heads, and he turned up the funk. We funked all the way to the station.
They stuck us upstairs in different rooms. I lost about 30 games of rock-scissors-paper in a row to my astoundingly drunk cell mate.
Then, to keep our spirits up, we began to sing the entire Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack, in order.
After a while a cop came by and said: "Hey! Stop having so much fun! You're in *jail*!"
You could tell he was enjoying our show, but you could also tell he was kinda serious. Like, the reluctant voice of the adult world, delivering its truth to those not clear on the concept of incarceration.
My parents got a lawyer to spring me (and made me pay for it with my camp counselor salary that summer). He couldn't get anyone else out, since John's parents were on their way and Liz and Jamey were adults and had to be arraigned. I retrieved my car and drove home. That was the worst part. Imagine being 17 and having to drive home alone, *leaving your friends in jail*!!!!!!!
I made it to graduation, though. Someone had seen us in the squad cars, and everybody knew. "Who did Jamey kill?"
And the beauty of it was that, you know, we didn't even have an underage *beer* up on the roof. Plenty of our classmates were doing lines of coke off hotel tables, while we were getting arrested for camping out.
So, you see, your impression of me as a softie is not all that far off. :-)
Except for the Gaza thing, I mean.