Photo Cred: Sea Isle Police Department (Not pictured : me, a half eaten box of pizza, and a bunch of empty, open, and full beer cans directly behind Jimmy)
One night down the shore, our crew had gotten back from the bar, but Jimmy and I were still raring to go. We decided it would be a perfect night for the beach. We grabbed a couple of beers, headed back out, and were waiting for pizza when Jimmy struck up a conversation with a female passerby. After a couple of flirty minutes, he extended an invite for her to join us to our trip to the beach. To my surprise, she accepted with excitement.
We parked Jimmy’s chair on the promenade, and I carried him to the lifeguard stand, where there three of us sat. We were enjoying the beautiful night, good food, cheap drinks, and a solid conversation. Knowing we weren’t supposed to be there, my head was on a swivel, and eventually I spotted a police officer approaching from the promenade. I quickly hid the beer cans behind Jimmy—I figured he wasn’t going anywhere.
Less than one week prior, I was in the exact same situation with some other friends. We had gone to the beach, and had met some strangers with a similar idea. We were standing around the lifeguard stand when officers approached us. They had their flashlights out, told us not to move and interrogated us as if they finally had cracked their career case. One man in the other group had a joint, and since marijuana laws are strict in New Jersey, the officers focused on him so much that my friends and I were able to simply walk away. If it wasn’t for that stranger with weed, we would probably, at best, have gotten some sort of fine for drinking on the beach after dark, and at worst, spend a night in jail.
With Jimmy on the stand, I knew we weren’t going to be able to just walk away. As the officer approached and asked, “What’s going on here?” I played dumb and told him we were just hanging out.
“I’m sorry, Officer, are we not supposed to be on the beach after dark?”
He looked right at Jimmy, who was cuddled up against his new girlfriend on the lifeguard stand, strategically blocking the beer cans.
“Oh, no, it’s totally fine. I just saw an empty wheelchair up on the promenade and wanted to make sure everything was ok.”
He turned and started walking back, and Jimmy and I just looked at each other dumbfounded. Then Jimmy opened his mouth.
“Excuse me, Officer?” Jimmy asked, always wanting to push the limits. “Do you mind taking a picture?”
“Sure thing,” the officer obliged. A week after I dodged a bullet for the exact same situation, here I am again with Jimmy, who is not only given permission to do it, but has an officer of the law playing photographer while doing so.
If that isn’t blatant discrimination, I don’t know what is.
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