Jaywalking: The Ballad Of A Criminal

Chicken crossing the road2The other day, for the first time in my life, I was issued a fine by the Police. I’ve never been (caught) speeding, I’ve never been charged with anything. Sure I’ve had a parking ticket or two in the past but I pay them duly if not reluctantly.

So what was my offence? Public littering? Driving violation? Spitting? Public nudity? No. It was fucking jaywalking. Crossing the road when the traffic light was red (even though it was ridiculously safe to do so). 

I was so enraged at the time that I needed some way to channel it. I wrote a skit, which will maybe get filmed one day. I wanted to convert a blog post I did years ago about my run of experiences with the Police into a post for this site, but it’s too long and poorly written. Maybe I’ll revise it one day.

How did I end up at a poem? Well, I thought the Stingray one went so well I might as well give it another shot. I wanted to mix it up a little bit but my original haiku was disappointing

Just the other day
I got fined for jaywalking
It was pretty fucked

It just lacks that certain… something.. you know? So I sat down and gave it another shot – and here we have it.

Come women, come men
Come children of all ages
And let me tell you all a tale
Of a crime so heinous
That I should be writing this
Next to Rolf Harris in jail

I was walking along
In Old Sydney Town
Heading to get the train home
I got to the last crossing
No cars either way
Just me and one other guy, alone

The traffic light was red
But we both started crossing
Not knowing what lay ahead
We both got halfway
And stopped to check again
We should have just stopped instead

But we both soldiered on
No traffic in sight
And what was waiting in store?
Two burly coppers
Emerged from nowhere
Oh wait, there was also one more.

They stopped me and old mate
And then walked a bit
I thought I was supposed to come too
One turned and yelled ‘STOP!’
I said “no worries, calm down mate”
Though I admit I was thinking “fuck you”

Turns out it’s illegal
To cross the road
If the pedestrian light is red
Even if there’s no
Fucking traffic in sight
Behind, left or right, or ahead

I would’ve been outraged
When they pulled out the pad
But I already knew what I’d done
My mate Dean had been busted
A few months before
So I just asked him the sum

Turns out the other bloke
Was a British backpacker
Who pretended he had no ID
He asked if they had
Nothing better to do
And I smiled, because I agreed

Then he said ‘fuck’
And they finally responded
Threatening 500 bucks more
We both stood there in silence
Awaiting the fines
Seventy bucks was the score

I got back my license
With a big slimy grin
The officer thought I’d submitted
I gave him a grin back
“Thanks for all your hard work”
Between smiling teeth my rage gritted

But I’ve learned it’s not worth it
When dealing with cops
Because logic just doesn’t apply
No amount of debating
Will help you in the end
So just nod and smile and comply

I will quite happily
Pay the fine
I’ve got no other choice
But I’ve got a blog
That few people read
Maybe someone will hear my voice

The moral of the story is
Police quotas are fucked
And if there’s one thing I’ve been learnin’
It’s that next time this happens
And I’m stopped by Police
Fuck it, I’m pretending I’m German.

The fine has already arrived, so they’re processing them quick. Jaywalking can get you a much bigger fine and even jail time in certain other countries, particularly in SE Asia – but (and not to sound like a nationalist drone) this is Australia! I’ve been crossing the road ‘illegally’ my whole life. Every day I see hundreds if not thousands of people crossing the road ‘illegally’.

It’s blatantly misguided revenue raising at its finest, and it sickens me. Enjoy my $70 you assholes.

I must say though, I’m lucky they were so busy writing the fine that they didn’t notice the 12kgs of heroin I had stuffed down my pants.


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