Our summer rainy season (laughingly called the “monsoon” in Southern Arizona, as if …) is officially over. For the past two months I’ve been driving the truck to the air museum. When I take the truck there are always a pair of prescription eyeglasses along for the ride, either the sunglasses in the center console or a pair of readers stuffed in a side pocket of my cargo pants. Yesterday, with no rain in the forecast, I reverted to type and rode the motorcycle in. There are no prescription glasses in the saddlebags, and I didn’t remember to bring the readers. When I sat down between tram tours to look at Facebook updates on my cell phone, I could barely make out the posts and comments.
By squinting a little (a lot, actually), I could tell that one of my sisters had posted heated comments on a police brutality thread I’d participated in before leaving for the museum. I could make out enough of what she said to get the gist: we shouldn’t question the police; they put their lives on the line every day and if they deem it necessary to beat, taze, or shoot unarmed civilians, we should keep our heads down, move along, and respect their authority. Nor should we share or repost stories about police wrongdoing and abuses, because that makes their job harder and puts them at risk.
I’m not sure if she said anything about not videotaping police as they go about the important work of savaging and killing anyone who gives them lip, because by that point I had a headache from squinting at the tiny print. I put the cell phone away, meaning to catch up with the conversation later on the big monitor in my home office, but by the time I got home she’d deleted her comments.
So I’ll just say this: the issue I have with law enforcement administering extra-judicial beatings and killings is that police are almost never held accountable for their actions. Accountability goes along with respect. The president of the United States is held to account for his actions, and is often subjected to disrespect. So too are doctors. So too are commercial pilots. So too are military officers and soldiers. Why should the police, alone of all the professions, be unaccountable, respected even when they break the laws they’re sworn to uphold?
So it’s a tough job with a certain amount of risk. Yes, and …?
A couple of months ago the air museum put out a request for tram docents to come in on Friday, the 25th of September, to give bus tours to UCLA football fans here for a weekend game. The deal was the football fans would show up in six tour buses: we’d meet them in front of the museum, board the buses, then narrate a tour through the museum grounds.
What lured me in was the detail that the tours will start at 6 PM, after the museum is closed for the day, close to sunset at this time of the year. I saw an opportunity to take sunset photos of some of the outdoor aircraft, something I’ve been wanting to do.
Over time a few details have been clarified. The buses won’t show up until 6:30 PM, and the fans are supposed to be inside the main hanger for a catered dinner fifteen minutes later. We’ll just have time to board the buses, figure out how to turn on the mics, and introduce ourselves as the buses drive around the back side of the museum to the hangar where dinner will be served. I should be able to wander around with my camera afterward, and for that it’ll be worth driving 40 minutes each way to the museum and home again.
Speaking of the museum, a teenaged boy with Down Syndrome, along with his family, boarded the tram for my tour yesterday. At the end the young man came up to me and held out his hand. After I shook his hand he wrapped a big old hug around me, and I gave him a big old hug back. Things like that make everything worthwhile. Made my day, anyhow.
Our beloved dachshund Schatzi has paid her post-surgery visit to the vet and has been pronounced healed. We’re a happy family once again (especially now that Polly’s evil cats have been banished to a friend’s mountainside workshop, where I hope they’re earning their keep by killing vermin).
Ha! I just found an older but still serviceable pair of prescription glasses. I’d put them aside a year ago, meaning to drop them in the donation box next time I visit the BX optical shop. They have a new destination now: they’re going in one of the motorcycle saddlebags!
© 2015, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.