I have an uneasy relationship with cops: in any language, in any country. It’s not a secret, I’ve written about it before. I’ve never had any serious altercations with the law, but asymmetrical power relationships make me feel uncomfortable, especially when only one party has a gun. Heck, even when my sister was a cop, I felt uneasy around her. I remember showing up unannounced to my parents’, and on the way home I saw her patrol car parked on the side of the road. I parked and waved at her from afar, all Forrest Gump like. All I got in return was a very loud “sir, get back in your car, right now”. So yes, it’s all very annoying that regardless of the country, the po-po find their way into my life.
[By the way, see part 1 for context.]
This past week my better half decided to do a girls’ escapade to Morocco (Yes, I know). “Are you gonna be alright, alone, and on vacation”. I’m like… “Does Amazon deliver here? Oh, I see. I’ll be alright then.” Not a minute had passed, when I had already registered Amazon Prime, and ordered Two Raspberry PIs and 3 phones, cause you know… free returns. It’s a well known fact that I don’t do vacations or sabbaticals well. As my mom likes to say “don’t let him fool you, he’s a workaholic who likes to tell everyone he hates work.”
So… on a long week alone, in almost no time, my partner’s apartment had degenerated into a mess of pizza boxes, phones, cables, and a dollop of beer cans for good measure. Unfortunately, on day 3, deep concentration was broken by the annoying door buzzer I recently related. Since all my deliveries had arrived, there was 0 chance it was for me. Hello? “It’s the police, we need to come in”. I was half-way through another season of Homeland, so all sorts of conspiracy theories swirled around my head. “The hell you do…” *click*. A minute goes by and the ringer goes off again. “Seriously, it’s the cops. We need to come in”.
At this point I’m thinking, what if the laws are different here? Am I supposed to open? Do they have warrants in Europe? How do you spell Miranda? Will they take one look at the nuclear wasteland that is the flat and assume I’m a squatter? Hmmmm… I wonder what the local attitude is towards empty apartments with a Muslim looking man, and lots of small electric gadgets spread across the floor. I panic.
I call Alba, but her cell reception is non-existent. Errr, I wonder if they’re actually looking for *me*? I ring back in my best Canadian accent: “Who are you looking for, ey?”. “Señor, es la po-li-ci-a… There’s a water leak we think may be coming from your apartment block, and we need to find out.” Hmmmm….Homeland conspiracy theories again. “Why don’t you send the firemen (who don’t have guns)?” Frustrated sighs and louder knocking.
“Ughhh, alright, I’ll be down in a minute”.
At this point, I’m thinking the deal is not personal, but is it real? I go knocking on each neighbor’s door in order. *Knock knock* “I swear I’m not the Irish guy…”. No responses (and no laughs either). I later learned that it was a long weekend and everyone was out of town. Lucky me!
I walk downstairs, peek through the letter slot, and upon seeing a gun and badge shoved in my face, I slowly open. “Can I help you?” There is visible frustration in their faces “good thing it wasn’t a heart attack; someone would be dead by now”. To which I couldn’t help but respond “I’m the only one in the building, if it were a heart attack it would be mine, and I can assure I would’ve opened the door”. Not even a hint of a smile…
The cops frustratingly explained that water was gushing out on the other side of the street, and it could be coming from this complex. They asked me if there was access to the roof from the building, so they could peek down. I considered asking for a warrant (which by the way, I don’t know how to say in Spanish so it would’ve been an awkward request at best). However, upon remembering the earthquake survival zone that was the apartment, I figured that if I annoyed them just a little bit more, they’d probably take me in just to dispel any doubts.
They walk through, with a rather disgusted look on their face as they climb over pizza boxes and cables, and finally arrive at the terrace. At which point I realize my life is not in danger. I had stumbled upon the world’s worst coordinated kidnapping, if this were actually one.
“Where are we?”
“Sir, do you have a flash light?”
“I can’t see down there”.
“Damn it, I can’t get my bearings”.
“This is so confusing.”
“Which street is this again?”.
At which point, one pulls out her phone and starts fiddling with Google Street View to see where they’re at, followed by Google Satellite View to see which apartment block leads to where.
Silence… followed by “never mind, wrong block”.
*hurried steps echoing on the cobblestones*