Saturday, February 26, 2005

Critical Mass/Eve of FSC

Yes--I should be sleeping instead of writing this, but I am too wound up and need to get some thoughts down. This will be a long post (I've been drinking so babbling will probably be worse than usual) that covers several topics.

The ride started fine, but had at least two very ugly incidents that I witnessed. I heard a plastic-y crunching noise and looked to see a bike hit head-on with a car. The bike's wheel was slightly imbedded in the front of the car. The rider pounded his hands flat against the car hood and yelling between him and the driver ensued. I turned around to provide assistance. [I feel like some over-protective momma bear and am ready to jump in to any sort of fray and flex some attorney muscle.] As I was heading back toward the incident, a biker flew by, followed by the driver of the car on foot--but running fast. Goddamnit.

Anyway, later in a huge intersection (Ashland & Elston) there was a car basically surrounded by bikes and a man yelling angrily. The scene was particularly volatile, so I got closer. The driver was out of his car and shouting that he was an off-duty cop and that we couldn't fuck with him. Enraged he was yelling threats to Travis in particular and the crowd in general. People were taking down his plate number and several of us asked him for his badge/star number--which he refused to give. [Basic rule--cops are supposed to give up this info when asked.] Some people were trying to argue with him, others calm him down, some were yelling for everyone to leave--basically it was a mess. I added my voice to the cacophony yelling for people to calm down and that we'd file a CR (complaint register) with OPS (office of professional standards).

At one point the cop noticed that a guy was touching his car and went ballistic: his hand went to his gun and he started moving around the vehicle and threatening to 'put bullets in anyone who fucked with him/touched his car' and then yelled that he should put bullets in all of us. Too fucking crazy. Travis was drawing most of his rage and also seemed to be the leader of the bikers. I got his attention and told him to leave NOW. He did and most of the group, including myself rode away. [Travis knew I was an attorney and had his back at the auto show the other week]. He declared "I'm sticking with you" and agreed that we should ride fast to catch up to the Mass and wedge into the middle

I didn't see the whole incident, but according to riders, the cop forced his way into the bikers and then hit someone, stopped the car and got out, enraged. At best this can be considered a fender-bender--more likely, assault with a deadly weapon. The guy was completely unhinged. I don't know for sure if he is a cop--but I believe that he was. Completely unacceptable. There was no reason for violence to occur--but he seemed eager for violence and confrontation. Nobody with a temper that short should have access to a gun--yet it seems that this sort of machiscmo, can't-back-down attitude is rampant among the CPD.

Travis and I made plans for filing the CR [I spend probably at least 35 hours a week working on police brutality files] and making sure that it has some teeth. I also learned that he played a (good) part in the earlier incident with the running guy. After exchanging words with one of the bikers, this driver grabbed a knife from his dashboard and started the chase. Travis and another biker followed the runner and talked with him to calm him down, and he turned around without incident.

Next week is going to be crazy-busy already, and now I have to deal with this CR, too. I really want to do it though--if this guy actually is a cop, then he should be fired. Simple as that--besides this is the type of thing that made me go get a law degree. It's interesting, how valuable my opinion and advice often is to my bikey friends and acquaintences. This feels really good--plus, I think I am quite well-respected within this community.

Oh yeah--the doll. I am carrying around a cardboard cut-out doll that is about two feet tall as part of a school project for my second cousin Dayna. Basically, I am supposed to show Dayna's class my life/city through the eyes of this doll: journals, photos, postcards.....etc. I plan to turn this project into pro-bike propaganda --get 'em young.

Anyway, after the Mass, the doll drew a lot of attention at the closing party for the Art Show. I didn't plan to stay long, but kept getting sucked into long conversations with cool people. Finally when it was time to leave I realized that the doll was missing and started freaking out. Todd's phone rang and he said it was for me: a raspy voice whispered "If you ever want to see the doll again you will be at the Handlebar within the half hour--if not, I'll start mailing fingers." Delightfully hilarious.

The doll was proudly propped up among the liquor bottles and I was told I couldn't leave without a drink--that turned into more. Again I was getting ready to leave when I noticed the doll was gone again. People's eyes were twinkling, but no one was talking. I eventually learned that the bartender tossed her up on an alclove after finding her in the garbage. The next thing I knew some drunken friends were climbing on barstools and counters to get her down. Everyone came down safely, and I was handed another drink for my troubles.

I'm half-tempted to have the doll write back home about these adventures. "I was in Chicago for about 48 hours before I was kidnapped and left for dead in a garbage can." Instead I guess whe will just have a secret life not fit for 4th graders. (we did of course get a picture of her amid the booze). I can easily see this doll being involved in a lot more "adventures" since my friends are just as amused by this project as I am. Several people want to follow her blog--so I need to get moving on that, too. Yes--the adults are going to be much more entertained by this doll than Dayna's class. Long live silliness!

So instead of sleeping well tonight, I drank and stayed up too late (this post is compounding it). None of the other women riding tomorrow stayed out past 10:00, and I think I was the last of tomorrow's riders to leave the bar. D'oh. And if the doll is any example of my future mothering abilities--I must never breed.


At 2:26 PM, Blogger Gilby said...

Whoa--what a drama! Sounds like everyone came out of the ride physically unharmed, but yikes. Guns, knives, unhinged I really want to visit Chicago?! ;c)

At 10:23 PM, Blogger equipoise said...

Wow, the Doll's Chicago experience is going to be a tough act to follow! Did you have the doll with you on the Mass ride? I'm just imagining you confronting an unhinged cop with a 2ft cardboard doll under your arm ...

At 12:05 AM, Blogger jojo said...

Actually, the doll is bungeed around her waist securely to my rear rack--sidewalk side. The cop probably didn't see her.

G: Yeah--this was a very crazy Mass. There were about 300 people--so there are bound to be a handful of assholes in a group that size.


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