28 March 2006

Open up, it's the police!

I was just typing an email and the front gate buzzer sounded. I ran down thinking the guys digging up our driveway had a question or were leaving for the day. It was the police. Oh boy, my first run in with the law in a foreign country. Of course, Dar is not at home to participate in the encounter with me.

A police woman with an automatic weapon strapped to her hip and a dark blue uniform shirt with a neon yellow shoulder plate advertising "policia" on the back starts speaking very rapidly in Spanish as I come down the front stairs to the gate. My first comment is I don't speak much, say it again.

The poor South American immigrant mixing cement in the street is the object of the problem, but I as the homeowner seem to be the source. Something is illegal. The city does not allow something. Pointing at the cement, which is now a smudge on the street - a half hour ago it was a hill, this will get in (pointing again) the drains. I was accused of hiring these men and thus violating the law, at least I think that's what she said. This was a very vigourous one sided discussion. The Spanish seem to like to argue about things and I think she was ready for one. Her male sidekick just watched the man scraping at the little mushy bits on the street.

I said something dramatic in Spanish, like, "I rent." I was still lectured, so I tried the word I hoped meant builder. "The constructadora sent them." I tried, "I rent" again.

She switched her tactic and went after the South American man in coveralls. He was demonstrating how he could clean up the smudgee bits of cement with his trowel and his shovel.

Finally convinced that the situation would be righted, the police left. I didn't have to show any identity information but I'm glad I've got my identity card now.

I felt like I sort of left the two guys in the driveway in a lurch by simply shirking all knowledge of what was occuring, so I went back out and asked if everything was okay. Said I didn't understand well. So they explained the same thing to me using other Spanish words, probably South American ones. I tried to be friendly by saying a very favorite phrase here, "No pasa nada." Which they use for, forget about it, doesn't matter. Like it had anything to do with me if it mattered or not!


  1. wow! Yet another great event for your movie! Can't wait to see the previews for it! :)

    Okay, I'd be freaked out if the police came to my door--in my own country...let alone in a place I was still learning the language in! I'm glad it all worked out for you!

  2. It must have been a slow day in your neighborhood and they must have been in a mood.

    Good stories! keep them coming.

    It is too bad that you didn't get handcuffed to your gate.

    How about a picture of your house?

  3. Taking away your house key would've been the same as handcuffing you. :)

  4. Talk about an intimidating and crazy situation. Glad you weren't arrested or fined. What a story!