We went to the beach this morning (yeah, yeah, it went great, usual mini-meltdowns (I like to call them hurricane warnings) about not wanting to go, but once The Don got settled, he had a blast!) Then on the way back we got pulled over by a cop car.
My mother had forgotten her license at her place (not a good start), and when the cop checked the registration for our (rented) car, he also found problems. Apparently the photocopy we had was not valid, because it somehow got stained with something and was also not "officially stamped".
My mother had also done nothing wrong, she had no tail lights busted, she hadn't run a red light or anything. The reason the cop gave was that "she hadn't driven with enough precaution" at a section of the road.
My mother was pretty tetchy to begin with, because she's used to this type of trouble. The plates on the rental car are always from out of town, and cops here tend to pick on out-of-towners. When the cop signaled at her to pull over, she said to me "there's no way I'm paying a "mordida" [bribe], he can give me a ticket."
Anyhow, so the cop comes at us and 'gasps' at her lack of license. We were literally 250 meters away from her place and she said a little impatiently, "oh come on, we can drive up a couple of blocks and I can show you mi license". I couldn't really hear everything he was saying, but he was being a real a-hole about the whole situation. Then when he asked to see the registration and how "wrong" it was, my mother just said to him "fine, give me a ticket and I'll pay it".
That's not "the way" to do things here. Here you're supposed to bribe the cops to let you go cause it's easier than going through the whole rigmarole we were going through. But kudos to my mom, corruption is a huge part of the problem in this country and she was taking no part in it. So the cop went back to his car all angry and ready to be as difficult as possible.
When he came back to us he said that since she didn't have a license, that he'd have to call for a tow truck to take us back to the center of town (miles away) so we could hang out at the police station. He said he "didn't have to follow us anywhere to get anything", that that was not his job and there was no changing his mind.
At this point I was just gob-smacked at how things had gone down. Betty was asleep in the car and my mom was calling a taxi to take us back to her place while she went with the car to get towed and deal with everything alone at the police station.
The cop's partner had also gotten out of the car and was pretty annoyed trying to get my mother to pull over more into the exact position he wanted us in. All in all they were being really petty and angry because we wouldn't pay the stupid "mordida". When I realized just how bad the situation had gotten, I got out of the car and tried to reason with cop #2.
I told him that my daughter was asleep, that we were literally two minutes away from our destination, that I had my license and I normally drive, but that I had been putting Betty down for her nap. I even pulled out the "disabled" card (no one here knows about autism, apparently, I did try to explain it a lot when we went to the Feria de Chapultepec, but all we got were blank stares. I think people thought I was trying to tell them my son was artistic and were wondering what the hell that had to do with anything.) I treated him with the respect he felt he deserved and basically brown-nosed my way out of the situation. The guy smiled at me and said that since I'd been "very sincere and honest", that he would let us go.
So I got back in the car, waved and said thank you to them and told my mother we could go. All this happened in Spanish, which The Bubs doesn't speak. So as the cops were walking away, he gives me this puzzled look and says
"Hang on.. Did I understand this correctly? Did you just save the day??"
I turned to him and replied
"Bubbi, I have quite a lot of experience dealing with Mexican cops" [I'll admit it freely, I have a somewhat checkered past to say the least.]
So he goes
"That's great, but it's also quite worrying on another level"....