July 21, 2009

Day 6 Communicate- Needs

I woke up this morning to a Oregon State Trooper pulling up behind our parked vehicle. We spent the night sleeping at a rest stop, we do this often when on the road, my kids probably think rest stops are campgrounds. We were parked in an area where we were not suppose to, we did this because there was less light and noise over in this tucked away corner. I was wearing very little, we are driving through the desert, the nights have been hot and due to mosquitos we can’t crack the windows, by morning we are sleeping in a sauna! Despite having spent a lot of time around Police, there is still an element of fear that comes right to the surface when I am approached by an officer. I became instantly aware of how much skin I had showing, grabbed something that would cover more of me, and threw it on, then got out of the truck.

Officer McCool, said “Good morning” as I, still groggy from sleep, pulled nervously at my clothing. He then got straight to the point:

“Can I ask why you are parked over here and not over in the rest stop area?“

”It was just so noisy over there last night, with all those trucks running, so we moved over here.“

”Oh it was really noisy? Ok that makes sense. This is area where you are is not a good place to park, it prevents the trucks from being able to get out, this is the reason for the no parking signs.“

”Oh ok, I understand, we are going to leave right away.“

”OK, great, Thank you, Have a good day.“

”Thank you officer, you too.“

That was it. Smooth, trouble free, easy. Just two people working out an issue. I thought back over the conversation, and all the things that made it go this way. First, Officer McCool, said ”Good morning“ before proceeding to ASK why I had made the choice I had. He gave me an opportunity to explain, before launching into the rules and regulations. Then he acknowledged the validity of the reasons for my choice. Then it was my turn to be accommodating. Officer McCool has a job to do, if I can facilitate making this job easier without giving up something important to me, then there is nothing lost, and for us both some ease gained. The truth is the trucks were having no problem getting past us, I could have brought this up. It was likely one of the truckers who called our infraction in, someone else upset at the breaking of a rule which they felt was effecting them. It is officer McCools’s job to honour that someone else is taking issue with our choice to ignore this rule. Rather than begin an argument about whether or not the trucks could get through, I just accepted that this officer had a need to uphold the rules, I came up with a solution that worked for us both. This doesn’t mean I said ”I have done something terrible and should be punished.“ or on the flip side, ”That is bullshit the trucks can easily get through!“, all I had to acknowledge was that I understood where he was coming from, we were about to leave anyway, our day was not effected. The conversation ended with mutual good wishings, and was done.

I was originally afraid and understand my reaction. The police have a long history, much of which is scrutinized when they are perceived to have done the wrong thing. I do acknowledge that there is a power imbalance and therefore a fear reaction is somewhat warranted. But I wasn’t dealing with just the ”Police“ I was dealing with a man. Likely one with a family, who loves and desires many of the same things I do. He more than likely had no desire to power trip on me. He more than likely desires ease and harmony most of the time. We are just two human both with needs. He communicated well with me, I communicated well with him, an we both got our needs met. Imagine that.

”What are the common threads that unite us all as humans?“ is the question in 12 days journal #99

1 comment:

  1. The need to be loved. The need to be respected and feel heard and understood. The need to express one's truth.