As I reach my car, a police cruiser drives by. He sees what might be a stumbling drunk walking with a box full of beer cans giving him the finger. He pulls over very suddenly, and launches himself out of the car, hand on gun. I am startled to say the least, and since this is the city that invented modern police brutality, a little concerned.
"What are you doing, where are you going?" he asks, with just the edges of the usually business-like tones I get from cops. I'm middle class and white, I'm not usually on their radar as Trouble, but tonight I guess I seem more hobolike. I'm annoyed at getting questioned just walking down the street. But he's got a gun, is the short-hand for all the complicated analyses of power that are running through my head. I don't.
"I'm just coming from work, and headed home."
"With a twelver of beer? Have you been drinking sir?"
"No. Well, yes, I had one. See, I got beer for my employees we're working late moving into a new office. I cut myself. No one really wanted the beer, so now I just have it extra. I'm not homeless, drunk and giving you the finger; I'm tired, bleeding and sober." I hold up my finger for emphasis.
He just gets back in his car and leaves. I have a winning way with cops.