How not to react at a roadblock.          - 3/3/2015      <--Prev : Next-->

HeeHoo and I must have driven through ten thousand roadblocks in our time in Zimbabwe. We travel a lot within the country and each 400km road trip must involve ten or twelve police roadblocks.

Generally when they see HeeHoo's glorious crop of silver hair, and a road worthy vehicle they wave us through but we have been stopped on numerous occasions.

There are certain protocols to be observed however at all police roadblocks. First of all be civil but not obsequious, if they see you are slightly patronizing, they will be quick to pick up on that. Secondly do not under any circumstance show anger, however unfairly you have been treated, they will make your life a misery thereafter.

Never ever mutter things like 'this is ridiculous' or 'this is nonsense', if you do, you are dead!! Take it like a man on the chin!!

I was caught by the cops yesterday for 'not stopping at a stop sign' Well If I had not stopped, I would have crashed into a car crossing in front of me, but no amount of remonstrating worked. Worse than that, I had not a cent on me, no driver's license, no cell phone and so I was persecuted beyond belief.

'I must find, the twenty dollar fine' they told me, I must walk to my house and collect it (only a five km distance!) I must phone a friend to bring me the twenty dollars'. I was not permitted to be served with an admission of guilt form and be allowed to pay later under any circumstances. A Spot Fine is after all a Fine on the Spot!!

I mentioned that I knew it was perfectly 'legal' to sign a 'confession' and pay later but that galvanized them into a burst of vitriol that spewed forth and took me completely by surprise.

'Are you saying we are not legal Are you saying the Force is not legal Are you saying the PRESIDENT is not legal
' raged the rotund 'Police' lady with the longest painted nails I have ever seen, all the while chewing gum visibly between her front teeth.

Taken aback I let down my guard completely and this offensive official actually reached into the car and deftly removed my keys from the ignition!! Accusing me of slandering the President she sauntered off with my car keys swinging from her long garish nails!!

A friend later said I should have shrieked 'Thief Thief!! Call the Police' but sadly I am not quick witted enough, so I stalked over and asked her exactly what she was doing. 'You will get your keys back when you find twenty dollars' she said coolly, even offering me her phone to call HeeHoo to bring the cash!!

By now her bright purple mobile phone was nestling in her hand, and I realised she was going to lend it to me to summon someone to bring me the all important twenty dollars, but instead she stated 'I have a recording of you saying that the President is not legal!'

Here I am, the self appointed mayoress of my suburb, the most law abiding person in the whole country, doyen of the coffee circuit, and I have been so cleverly tied up in verbal knots, and being accused of insulting the highest person in the land!!

I am seldom at a loss for words but by now I have been cleverly reduced to a quivering, slobbering mass of indignation, quite fearing for my life....

Wild horses would not allow me to 'find' twenty dollars at this stage so I slunk off to the car to lick my wounds and regroup. I asked her to call her superior and she sniggered that he was 'dead!!'

Twenty minutes ensued, whilst they coterie of cops sniggered at me, but after a while they got bored with baiting me and they sauntered over to the car and gave me my keys, saying I must never slander the President again!! Talk about putting words in one's mouth....

I was free to go at last (they were knocking off from their offensive traffic duty and did not need me hanging around any more!!)

So now you know how NOT to react at a police roadblock!! Be totally impassive. Take it on the chin! Do not react under any circumstances in any way. If you have the time, sit it out and let them have their moment of power.

Today I drove down the exact road, stopped at the exact stop sign, and as I went around the corner there she was. She flagged me down, my legs turned to jelly, my bowels turned to water. I opened my window slowly, my heart palpitating in fright. Long bright red nails wagging, the memory of my keys still waving at the end of her accusing, confiscating finger!

The confiscated cars were lined up in rows, despair and defeat emanating from every window. I braced myself, girded my loins, squared my shoulders and sharpened my tongue!!!

Do you have change for fifty dollars she said brightly