Photos courtesy of Audi
In Washington, D.C., a stoplight on Independence Avenue is more than just a traffic control device. It’s a choke point–a security checkpoint–but normally, you don’t get asked for your papers. Normally.
This has occurred to me before, but wasn’t on my mind as I sat at the traffic light at Independence and 2nd Street Northeast in Capitol Hill. In fact, despite the presence of a D.C. metro cop in my rear-view mirror, it wasn’t anywhere on my list of concerns. The police presence in D.C. is so ubiquitous these days that I rarely give the various law enforcement and paramilitary organizations a second thought. I’ve only been working downtown for five years, but it’s long enough to become used to seeing M16-equipped officers standing on the sidewalk.
So as I eased away from the stoplight and my mirrors lit up with red and blue, my first instinct was to simply move out of the way. I slipped into the right lane and slowed to allow the officer to pass, but when I glanced in the side-view to monitor his progress, I was greeted by the glare of a mirror-mounted spotlight. Hmmm. I know how this story ends.