Saturday, November 22, 2008

Reasons I love Greenpoint- Part 1: Officer Smith*

How do I love Greenpoint? Let me count the ways. There are so many! For starters, I just ran into one of my favorite Greenpoint characters- Officer Smith.

I met Officer Smith over the summer, as a result of my stint on the front page of the Brooklyn Paper...

One summer evening on my walk home from the G Train, as I was standing on the corner, a police car was turning to go back to the NYPD Precinct. The officer in the passenger seat noticed me and yelled from his window "Hey! You were on the cover of the Brooklyn Paper!" And I replied "Yes, Officer, that was me!"

About a month later, when I was riding my bike home from my Weight Watchers meeting, the officer spotted me. He pulled over and I also stopped to speak to him. This was when I actually met him, Officer Smith. He told his partner that I had been on the front of the paper, and as luck would have it, I had a copy of the paper with me (Note: No, I don't carry it around all the time- I had brought it my WW meeting because some of the ladies had asked to see it), so I showed it to his partner.

Then Officer Smith asked if we could get some photos together. Turns out he's a photo enthusiast too, and carries around his own camera. I'm a ham, so sure, why not! He made his partner take a few with his camera, then of course I made his partner take a few with my camera.

Officer Ferguson and me

Officer Ferguson and me

About a month later, I was walking towards the YMCA. I hear something from a police car and thought they were pulling over the bikers for some reason. Then I hear "Sheryl!" Sure enough, it was my pal, Officer Smith. He parked by the precinct and I went to talk to him. That day, he gave me an amazing gift: a PBA card. It's not quite a "get out of jail free" card, but if I ever got into trouble with the law, I would produce it to show that I know someone on the job and maybe they would be nice to me? I don't know. Hopefully I will never have to use it, but it's certainly a nice thing to have. He also gave me his number in case I ever get into trouble.

I hadn't seen him for a while after that, but when that creepy Hasidic Jew followed me, I considered calling him. Instead, I went to the precinct one night and told whomever was on duty. Fortunately I have not seen the creepy guy since, so I never called Officer Smith.

Then today, I was running (literally- it is freezing!) down Lorimer to my friend Joe's house and a police car pulled over. Officer Smith got out and said "Sheryl?" So I stopped to talk to him for a while. I told him how I had almost called him because of the creepy incident - and he told me he knew about it - the guys at the precinct had told him "Some Hasidic Jew is following Sheryl!". I didn't realize any of the other officers knew me, but apparently they do. He reminded me to be careful. I said "Thank you, Officer Smith". He told me to call him Bobby and he got back in his car.

I visited Joe, then headed back up to Manhattan Ave to do my errands. Who did I see up there but - you guessed it - Bobby. He asked what I was doing and I told him I was headed up to the Garden to pick up some groceries. He offered me a lift. In his police car! I couldn't possibly say no. It was too funny.

So I rode up there, in the back of the police car (which is very cramped, by the way- I have short legs and just barely had enough leg room!). I was really hoping someone I knew would see me back there, but I'm not sure anyone did. We talked about Thanksgiving and I oohed and aahed over their onboard laptops. Then he told me I could sign up for a thing where they take ordinary citizens on patrol with them for a few hours. (That sounds like fun! I think I should!) And before I knew it, we were at Kent St where I would buy my organic produce. Needless to say, the door handles in the back of a police car do not operate from the inside, so he had to get out of the car in order to open my door to let me out. The whole thing was pretty bizarre and fun and I won't forget it anytime soon.

Thanks again, Officer Smith. Or "Bobby". I always enjoy running into you!

*Name changed to protect his identity!