It’s Official. I’m a Bum.

Statistically, New York is one of the safest cities in the United States, and now I have my own anecdote to confirm this. Yesterday, my colleague invited me to a last-minute barbeque in Prospect Park after work. Because it had rained that evening, we had the place to ourselves and, despite the wetness and mosquitoes, had a lovely time sitting around picnic tables in the dark talking about books (White Tiger and The Lemon Tree are now on my list). At one point, a lawyer named Becky, who had 1940s movie star eyebrows and pinned-back curls, wanted us all to be quiet so we could listen to the peep frogs.

So we’re sitting there like good school children quietly listening to the nightlife when all of a sudden two giant police vans roll in and shine their headlights on us. Eight cops get out of the car to investigate our little soiree and they take our licenses to see if we are criminals. We’re not, though half of us had expired licenses since no one drives. If I were a teenager, I would have hysterically cried, but since I’m old, I found the situation kind of amusing.

The police, who were polite enough aside from mocking one young man for drinking non-alcoholic beer, said someone had ratted us out for having a party and that we would have been fine if we had left earlier (it was about 9:30 or so). We all received tickets for drinking in the park, except for one guy who used his magic card. I kicked myself for not giving mine along with my license, but 1) I had completely forgotten about it as I don’t often have run-ins with the police and 2) I doubt I would have had the balls even if I did remember.

Now I have a court date for September. I heard one cop say something about paying a fine instead, but I don’t see anything about that on the pink summons he gave me. Of course when I arrived home, a sketchy crackhead was rummaging through my neighbors trash and trying to pick a fight. I didn’t bother calling the police, though. They’re busy enough busting up wine and cheese parties. 

Sarah Mikutel