“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Monday, November 13, 2006

About Dutch

Some years ago, I worked in a street shelter. Actually, I lived in one for about six months, before helping build another one and remaining on staff for a year. Anyway, I had the chance to meet some interesting people while I was there. One of them was Dutch.

Dutch was former Navy. The big thing about Dutch was he didn’t have much patience with folks. But, like all good sailors, he had some pretty good stories. One night, we were all sitting around over coffee. And Dutch told this one:

This was right after I got out of the Navy. I had just bought a car, was driving back to Arizona. The car registered in New York—because that’s where I bought it from my Uncle. I had a Tennessee driver’s license, because that’s where I lived before I went into the Navy. And, I had an Arizona address. In the middle of the night, driving across Tennessee, I got pulled over by a cop—for speeding.

The cop does the usual, “Boy, do you know how fast you were going?”

Being wise to back country cops, I held my tongue and said, “I’m sorry officer.” Then handed the guy my license, registration and insurance.

The cop looked at all the different addresses and goes back to his car. He was there for a while. When he came back, he was having this conversation with himself about how I must be a criminal or something

When he started talking about arresting me on general principle, I started to get worried. And the longer it went on, the more frustrated I got with him.

“Well, officer, I just got out of the Navy,” I said trying to be calm. “I’m moving to Arizona for a job.” I was really getting fed up with this guy.

The cop looked at all my stuff again. Then he shook his head and he starts giving me this lecture about driving and licensing and a bunch of other stuff.

“Just exactly where do you live, son,” he asked eventually.

I leaned out o the car window, and pointed at this really bright star.

“You see that star right there,” I asked in the most serious voice I could put together.

“That bluish one right?”

“Yeah, well, I live in the one just to the left of it with the two car garage.”