An Upside down world

By on October 24, 2017


The drive to Batavia from Hamlin on a Thursday morning was peaceful. The trees in their autumn colors added a delightful touch of color to my drive. I passed through towns and traversed country roads and while each place is different the one common factor are the police. They patrol the streets, keeping peace and making us nervous with their presence. As a whole when we see them we pretend we are unaware of them but we automatically glance down checking our speed, sit up a little straighter, worry for a moment about our turning signals, head and tail lights and the innumerable other things that could and often do go unnoticed when they stop working. As is expected I passed several of said police cars in their various forms, State, Sheriff and of course Local Police. Often not noticing them until they are directly beside, in front or behind me. I turned onto route 33, surrounded by other drivers and the scenic views full of color and life.
In the distance I saw the flashing lights on the opposite side of the road. As I drew closer the oddity of the lone car struck me, surrounded on both sides of the road by woods, it was a lonely, isolated place to be pulled over. Like the others in front and back of me I gave the officers car a wide girth as I passed, slowing our speed in hopes of not drawing his attention to us. As I passed I glanced over and noted briefly that his head was bent forward looking down in his lap. His pose completely disguised his face. I passed following the lead of those around me. However; as I traveled away from him, News stories of honorable, dedicated officers being struck down in duty began running through my memories. After several minutes I lost the argument with myself not to turn around and check on him. I found myself retracing my steps. In front of me still resting alone on the grass, was the same police car. Lights still flashing and the officers head still bowed. I pulled over in front of him, for a moment I had doubts. The violence and fear that bleeds into our minds with each story of a police encounter gone awry had me pausing, rethinking. What-ifs paraded through my mind and a hundred scenarios played out in my imagination. But as I sat there I watched as more cars gave him that same wide girth. What-ifs suddenly changed in my imagination, what if he was having a heart attack, what if he had had a bad encounter and was too weak to do more than turn on his lights in a silent call for help.
Heart pounding a heavy rhythm in my chest, My hand hit my door handle, all doubts fled. What if this man needed us as we have so often needed him.
I stepped out, and while I would have felt like a hero had any of those scenarios been true, I sadly have to say they were not. His head lifted and our eyes met. I waved like a cheerleader at the foot ball player. And for just a moment I saw the what-ifs walk across his mind as well.
Suddenly I was struck by the knowledge that every minute of everyday these men and women have to deal with the what-ifs and every minute of everyday, they set those fears aside and get out of their cars to help us.
He stepped out and looking confused began approaching me. I was laughing at my own silliness, for obviously I would not be saving him today. But an explanation was needed. I smiled and and asked if he was okay? if he needed help? For a moment our worlds were upside down. Before me where a policemen had stood was now a young man, he looked astonished and then a smile bloomed on his face as his eyes lit up with humor. He seemed for a moment so light hearted, so very young. Still smiling, he explained why he had pulled over, someone had hit a deer. I told him the short diatribe about turning around and wished him a good day. I turned and lightly jogged back to my car, laughing at myself, feeling silly, but so glad he was alright. I turned around up the road and regained my trip toward Batavia. I saw him several seconds later, we passed, and the smiles were still in place on both of our faces.
I had not saved him from harm but for a moment we had gotten to play the others part. For just one moment I understood what it is they deal with every day.

Kelly Stone