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September 10, 2003


Because my camera was in the trunk of the overloaded car, you'll have to settle
for this photo of clothespins to illustrate my tale of getting pulled over in Prague.
It was 3 a.m., Milos was driving way too fast, anxious to get Mirek, me, and the
clarinet player home. I noticed we passed a half-hidden parked car with its lights
on and I expected flashing lights and sirens any second. Instead, a little green &
white POLICIE car pulled ahead and quietly flashed the red LED STOP facing back-
wards on its roof. We pulled over and two cops got out. (The cops here usually travel
in pairs, and I've seen as many as four crowded in their economical compact cars.)
They seemed deferential & almost apologetic as they checked his license and gave him
the breath test. He blew a 0.0, knowing better than to drink and drive--a big problem
here. They let him off without a ticket because, as Milos explained, they saw that
we were poor. After we dropped everyone else off, I observed that the cops here
seemed pretty decent, unlike the power-tripping butt-heads so common in Seattle.
Some are decent, Milos said, but many aren't. Same as anywhere, he guessed. He
said he'd had trouble with cops. What kind of trouble? He didn't answer that. Later
on, driving erratically in search of my place, he got pulled over again. The cop smiled
as he got out. I got out, too. From where we were it was close enough for me to walk.