i don't think i'm a criminal but i seem to have all sorts of problems with the police this year. at this point, they've rung up my driver's license so many times by now, i've become quite a regular. i was just thinking today, first of the month, their should be less police patrols since they're not trying to fill their end of the month quota. i guess i was wrong! riding down the street to the cafe, i was behind a bunch of cars waiting for the light to change. since there was a wide opening on the right, i cut through the crowd - only to stop when i saw a motorcycle cop waiting for the light to change as well. he turned to look at me for a second behind those mirrored cop glasses but didn't say anything. i paused, but decided to keep on going since all the cars were still stuck in traffic. when i got to the end of the street, the light finally changed and i quickly made a right turn. i looked back. no police. whew. a few seconds later, i looked back again, and i see the familiar flash of blue police lights telling me to pull over. oh shit.

"license and registration," the officer requested. i pulled them out. "did you notice that truck in front of you signaling right as well?" i said yes. "well, that was an illegal turn you made." i sat on my motorcycle while he radioed my information back to the station. the worst part about getting pulled over is the humiliation as every single car that passed had to slow down to gawk a bit. i ignored them all. "officer, can i ask you a question?" i said. "i thought that was a legal turn. you're telling me i can't make a right on that street?" "not when it's a single lane like that, no," he informed me, "you have to wait, just like all the other vehicles. how long you've been riding? and you don't know this?" i said: "officer, i do it all the time, and i see other people do it as well. where can i go to get all these motorcycle laws? because nobody's ever told me before." "same rules as a car," he informed me. he then asked if i ever split the lane. i never heard that terminology before, but i sort of knew what he was asking. "what's that? like when you go in-between two lanes of traffic? i don't want to incriminate myself, but i see a lot of other people do it," i told him. "well, the only vehicle that can do it is that," he said, pointing to his own motorcycle, "with those lights."

i sat there and nodded, thinking to myself how much this ticket was going to cost me and whether my insurance would go up. he walked towards me and returned my license and registration. then he handed me what appeared to be a moving violation ticket. "i'm going to give you just a warning this time," he said. "thanks, officer," i replied, surprised and relieved. not sure how i escaped that one. i don't think my arguments were especially convincing, but maybe the cop was just being nice. he was asian, and you don't see many asian bikers, so perhaps he was doing me a favor. i restarted my motorcycle and sped off, making sure i followed the rules of traffic until the cop was gone. later, when i examined the warning, i saw that the violation (ironically enough) was "making right turn."

when i finally returned home, the first thing i did was to go online and dig up info about massachusetts motorcycle laws. i came across a pdf booklet published by the DMV expressly for motorcycle owners (i never received one). searching through the pages, i couldn't find any mention of the infraction i was given a warning about earlier, nor anything about lane splitting. however, i did find this interesting tidbit about motorcycles and animals:

did you catch that? although it doesn't say it explicitly, it's saying that given the choice, it's better to run over an animal than swerve and try to avoid it. and the paragraph about dogs, there's a sentence about not kicking the dog, but the reason isn't about animal cruelty prevention, but more about you could lose control of the motorcycle and fall off. so while the department of motor vehicles frowns on my right turns, it thinks it's perfectly okay to run over a cat or a dog.

the rest of the day i spent working on a project for client N. i went to the dollar store briefly to get some kleenex and soap. all day long i was noticing something wrong with my right eye: i keep on noticing an after image burned into my retina, like i accidently stared into the sun for too long. my personal theory is the glare from the halogen table lamp in my bedroom reflected off of the tv screen and inadvertently did something funky to my eye. why my left eye wasn't affected i don't know, but i hope it clears up soon.