In last Wednesday morning’s ice storm, still half asleep, I was en route to class at Rutgers Newark, as per normal. Rutgers is notoriously shitty about canceling class, and since I hadn’t gone the week before because of that week’s winter weather, I had to be there one way or the other. Off I went eastbound on 280.
I was driving in a cluster of cars, coming down the big hill past exit 8, when all of a sudden, a sheet of ice lifts off the minivan in front of me in the next lane. It was one of those things that happened in slow motion. I saw it fly off his car and go off to my right. It was out of my field of vision for a second and then—BAM!—a chunk of ice shattered my windshield.
Now, my tendency in these situations is to exaggerate, to say the chunk of ice was huge, more of a ‘berg than a sheet, with a polar bear on top of it and all, but really, it wasn’t much bigger than a laptop. It was, however, big enough to kick the living shit out of my windshield. Fortunately, it hit the passenger side, so I could still sort of see out of the car, and didn’t break all the way through.
The car was a gold Dodge Caravan. I saw the whole thing. I even wrote down the license plate. First thing.
I pulled behind the guy and started flagging him down, so we both could pull over and I could call the cops, like one does in that situation. He didn’t pull over. Maybe he didn’t see me. I got alongside him, started honking, waving, etc. He wouldn’t even look over. Still no acknowledgement.
At this point, I started getting the picture of what was happening here. I swung around in front of the guy—who we’ll call Dipshit McGee (his real name was Tom Somethingorother)—and slammed on my brakes. Cars were honking, driving around us in the middle lane, and all Mr. McGee did was slow down behind me, no attempt to go around, nothing. I started to get into the right lane to pull over and he wouldn’t budge from the center lane, just kept going. No way I was letting this fucker go now.
I called 911 and got a dispatch in Irvington who told me—get this—that I had called the wrong 911. As if I have any fucking control over where my 911 call goes whatsoever. Long story short, without any help from the police, I followed Dipshit McGee into Newark (he got off on MLK but went the opposite direction from Rutgers), and when we were stopped at a light, got out and, admittedly, not calm at all by this point, told him he needed to pull over, that I was going to call the police. He said “Not me. Not my car. You go call police.” Direct quote.
The light turned green and he swung a left, and I followed. At some point, I thought he was pulling over, but he just let two passengers out of his car and then kept going.
Kept going right to the “Homeowners & Merchants Association & Newark Police Of North Newark Community Center,” where he double-parked, got out and went inside, and where I did likewise. Within two seconds, he was shaking hands with an officer—we’ll call him Officer Fuckface (his real name was Jose Somethingorother)—obviously familiar, obviously friendly, obviously a case of pick-your-cop.
Officer Fuckface didn’t even give Dipshit McGee a ticket. Said it was my word against his, and since he didn’t see it, there was nothing he could do. Said, “I know this man. He’s a good man, he does a lot for the community. I don’t know you.” Another direct quote.
And as for Dipshit McGee’s fleeing the scene of an accident? Well, Officer Fuckface chalked that up to “He doesn’t know who you are. Maybe you’re crazy. Maybe you have a gun.” To which I responded, “He had two other people in the car with him and I don’t know him either. Maybe he’s crazy and he has a gun. You still don’t flee the scene of an accident.” No response.
Officer Fuckface then went on to recommend I don’t take it to court, because it would be a hassle, while at the same time telling me that despite my insinuations to the contrary (I’d said, “I think we all know what’s happening here”), he wasn’t giving any preferential treatment to Dipshit McGee, that I was “being treated like any other victim of an accident”—the acknowledgement in spite of himself being that he believed Dipshit McGee had in fact illegally left the ice on top of his Caravan and just that Officer Fuckface, true to his name, wasn’t going to do squat about it.
Hey, Newark. Next time you’re wondering why no one other than the Sundance Channel gives a damn about your fuckhole town, and them only on some backhandedly racist “cultural study” level, take a fucking look at the way the bullshit flows. And Irvington dispatch? Fuck you too.
What if my wife had been in the car and the ice had broken through my windshield? What if I had my 96-year-old grandmother in the car and she had a heart attack? Fuck your lackadaisical favoritist bullshit. Get off your ass and enforce the laws you’re there to enforce.
And that was my adventure with Dipshit McGee and Officer Fuckface. The real problem here is that if anyone in the Newark PD reads this, I’ll probably get harassed for it. Needless parking tickets at least. Because that’s the way the bullshit really flows.
Still made it to class,