I’ve gotten in the habit of going to Starbucks every morning to work on my book before I go into the office. Since in L.A. everyone dreams of being a screenwriter, on any given morning there’s usually about half-a-dozen of us sitting there writing on our laptops.
This morning, as I was tapping away, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the cops had pulled over an SUV in the parking lot. At first it didn’t seem like it was a big deal. The Starbucks is at the corner of two major streets so someone caught speeding or running a red light might easily decide to turn into the lot to get ticketed.
But a few minutes later I glanced up again and noticed that the guy next to me was staring out the window. And when I looked where he was looking I saw that the cops were standing behind the open doors of their patrol car with their pistols out and aimed at the driver of the SUV.
“Um … do they have their guns out?”
“Yeah … I’m not sure what’s going on.”
At this point it starts to dawn on everyone in the Starbucks this this is Not a Normal Traffic Stop. Laptops are closed. Everyone starts moving away from the big plate glass windows. I’m thinking about possible sources of cover if shooting starts. A lot more cops show up and pull their guns out too. They all look very, very serious.
And then, abruptly, it’s over. The driver, an older white guy, surrenders peacefully and gets cuffed and stuffed in the back of a patrol car. The passenger, an older white woman, goes off with the police … she’s clearly the victim somehow, not a suspect. All of us in the Starbucks start speculating about what was going on … was it a carjacking, an attempted kidnapping, a domestic dispute? No one knows.
It’s weird. I’ve seen cops pull their guns a thousand times in movies and TV shows, but I realized I’ve never actually seen them do it in real life, until now. Guess I’m pretty lucky. I’m certainly a lot luckier than than the driver of the SUV who will probably get to spend Christmas (and maybe much longer) in jail.