August 26, 2011
Today I had my first experience with a random vehicle inspection on post. Yes, two years (almost) in the army and this is my first vehicle inspection. I know, I'm lucky.
I drive onto post in the middle of the afternoon, when there is very little traffic. So I was surprised to see them direct me into a side lane. At first, I thought they were opening up another check point. I'm a little slow on gym days.
I parked in front of three guards. One came over to the side and asked me to open all my car doors and pop the hood and trunk. That's when I got nervous. I'm not used to driving the blue car much (new car pics to come soon, btw), so I wasn't really sure where those levers were. Sure, in the same general area as all other cars...but I still had to use my key fob to open the trunk. Or, I thought I did. After the fact I remembered our keyless entry meant I only had to push a button on the trunk. Oh well.
I get out of the car and one of the guards tells me to come stand behind the line with him, "So you can't make any sudden moves, har har." I laughed too.
"This is the first time I've had to do one of these," I said.
"Really?" He looked surprised. "Every time we pull someone over, they always say, 'Oh, this is the fourth time I've had to do this this week.'"
"Ha, I'll bet they do," I said.
"You know, it's not like that." He stopped smiling. "It's totally random. We have to pick random people to search, it's required."
"Yeah, I know."
"We don't remember who we've pulled over." He waves at the incoming traffic. "I just try to pull a car that's on its own, so it doesn't stop traffic."
"Sure, of course."
"We have to do this, you know."
"I know," I'm nodding. "I understand."
"People get upset, but we have to do this."
"Sure. Of course," I said, "I don't mind, because I'm not in a hurry. I'm sure if you're trying to make an appointment, it is pretty annoying." I smiled.
"Oh sure, everyone we pull over is trying to make an appointment, but we don't know that. We can't tell who is running late and who isn't." There's a definite I'm sorry in his voice.
"Of course. I'm just going to a friend's house, so ten minutes won't make a difference to me. But I'm sure for a lot of people, it's frustrating."
"Yeah." He nods.
The other guard comes over and says I'm clear. They say thank you and let me leave. But I'm pretty sure they wanted to say 'I'm sorry.'