Off-duty: What I think about when stuck on Ga. 400

I couldn’t sleep.

I normally hit the sack around 11:30 and get up at 6- or 7-something. It wasn’t working out that way. (I think peace of mind is a rare luxury now days.) I woke up, contemplated the pros and cons of going back to sleep —all of which kept me awake and defeated the purpose — I got up around 4:30 with about five hours of sleep under my belt.

Coffee, some Corn Chex, a brief discussion with the schnauzer, shower and I’m off.

In the car, I was trying to concentrate on the NPR program this morning. It was about some country that I didn’t recognize or could pronounce. The woman reporting on the country that I had never heard of was putting me to sleep. She had the NPR clear, precise voice I wish I could have listened to five hours before. I tried to focus on whatever she was talking about but I never could figure it out.

I went through the CD case and nothing stood out that I particularly wanted to listen to. Talk radio was on the early morning recycling of stuff that you need to listen to later in the day because you don’t want to start the day with it. At least this is my interpretation of it.

I like it like that – or not

I started thinking about the things I liked and didn’t like. There are some things you like a bit and others you don’t like most of the time but occasionally like just for a change of pace. I didn’t know where they go in the category. At 5:15 in the morning there is no traffic, so your mind can at least scan a bit — not that you’re not paying attention to the road but at least you don’t have to waste your time cursing other drivers and scoffing at their horrible driving skills compared to your superior skills.

Still nothing on the radio. I yearned for satellite radio or even HD, even though I have no clue if it’s worth the 50 bucks. Thirty seconds later I had Styx on the CD. Styx is the bullpen of music for me. I can go there and get by.

So I’m driving on GA 400 now. There are few cars but, amazingly, as they often do, the slow drivers knew my route and formed a line in front of me. Today, though, I wasn’t concerned about drive time to I got in the back of the slow-lane-conga-line and off we went.

For no particular reason

And so, for no particular reason, I decided to review my likes and some dislikes:

  • I like baseball. I like just about everything about it except the pants they wear down past their feet. I like the game and I like to watch the Little Leaguers run the wrong way on the bases. It should be that fun.
  • I like stupid video games I can play without my brain. I can’t win but I still like to tune out for bit.
  • I like music. I like rock, classical, reggae, country and, like everyone, I like Zamfir, Master of the Pan Flute. I like Styx because they’re as old as me and still rock like a well-oiled machine. I like Jethro Tull because, let’s face it: You can’t get enough of the flute in rock ‘n’ roll.
  • I like my boat on the lake. I like the talent show at Sunset Cove. I like it when the boat starts up and Sunday on the lake is stress-free. I like the cove and no wakes and a good cigar.
  • I like the beach. I like the beach because Detective Sandy bonds with the beach and for a short time she’s happy. I wish I could bring it home. I like the Panama City Beach sunset at Schooners when they fire the cannon. I miss the old Treasure Island hotel where the new really orange Treasure Island now sits.
  • I like the colors in the early morning before the sun washes out the color. (Oh, God, I’ve turned into Dan Fogelberg.)
  • I like the cartoons in the New Yorker, although they never accepted any of my cartoons, which I thought were really clever. Apparently my opinion was not shared by the staff. Picture this: An airline pilot is sitting in the aisle seat in coach. He’s reading the paper as he sits among the other passengers. Suddenly he looks up and says: “Hey, wait a minute — I’m the pilot!!” HA! Really? That was funny in the ‘70s.
  • I like Quagmire in “Family Guy.” He’s sick and twisted and, most of the time, the extreme example of what we think about but not talk about.
  • I like Reed and Malloy from the old “Adam-12” TV series, though I think Malloy is, overall, a cooler cop. The coolest cop moment, however, was when Don Meredith chewed up the guy’s driver’s license on “Police Story.”
  • I don’t like buzz words. It takes two syllables to say “Reach out” and only one to say “call.”
  • I like people who question authority but not mine. They may still be right to question mine but it still makes me mad.
  • I like hair. I wish I had more.
  • I like the Fu Man Chu moustache and I believe some day it will make a comeback.
  • I like Terri Garr but she never calls.
  • I like “Monty Python” and I like uncomfortable comedy and I like Firesign Theatre because we are all Bozos on this bus and I like lava lamps and I like a lot of other things.
  • I don’t like a lot of things, including this, because I’m starting to sound like a Miss America contestant.

– By Lt. Steve Rose, View from the Cop blog

15 comments Add your comment


January 19th, 2011
3:16 pm

I like your column! :)


January 19th, 2011
7:14 pm

Gotta agree with you about Terri Garr. Fell in love with her in the original Star Trek series episode.

Big Al

January 20th, 2011
7:45 am

Have you seen a recent picture of Terri Garr? If not, don’t look.

Cop Supporter

January 20th, 2011
8:23 am

haha…sounds like the stuff I think about… :)

Dan DeMan

January 20th, 2011
8:37 am

NPR is good for the morning drive. I feel like I’m actually learning something, even though I’m still asleep.


January 20th, 2011
8:42 am

Do you know where I can get a copy of Zamfir’s greatest hits or maybe Zamfir Unplugged? Although, the unplugged thing conjures up scary images.


January 20th, 2011
10:00 am

Here’s a link to Zamfir (which is mercifully out of print):

No need to thank me. Really, don’t. No kidding.


January 20th, 2011
10:37 am

Wow! Brand new and never been opened! Wonder why?


January 20th, 2011
6:46 pm

I am unable to find internet video of Don Meredith chewing up a driver’s license on Police Story. Please help!

Great Stuff!!

January 21st, 2011
8:52 am

Okay, a brave effort. Overall, as a writing instructor, I must give this a C+. However there are flashes of brilliance.

The stream of conscience method of entertaining readers is a very powerful style of attack. This starts out so promising, but then quickly falters into the most common error all writers always make every single time: too many words and a lack of edit. You see, mr steve, the tone of the subject is emotional and tone dictates structure, which entails strict criteria in the syntactical choices.

So the rule is “less is more” during stream-of-conscience. Look at the opening paragraph: you talk about getting up between 6 and 7 and then you write, “I woke up”. Well, you’ve destroyed the power of that by forshadowing it in the previous sentence.

“Contemplated the pros and cons”. no. look at how awkward that phrase is and it just lays there and interrupts the train of thought.

Here’s your open if I were a cop:

” I couldn’t sleep.

Sleep deprivation. The North Koreans still use it on prisoners. I’d never spill because I’m used to it. This morning, I was in the shower at 4:30, had coffee and the caffeine had me talking to the schnauzer, who brought up the Geneva Convention, so I shut up.

In the car: NPR. What is that lady talking about? I thought China was our friends. What supernavy? Why does that other announcer say “dot com” with such a buzz in his voice. Doesn’t he know how annoying that sound he makes is?

I’m on Ga. 400 now. Not much traffic, but they’re all in the way. The few cars on the road have actually formed a slow line in front of me. They think they can fool a cop by doing the speed limit? They’re lucky there is a Geneva Convention. I think I should get an award for some of the feats of skill I perform when I drive. I’m an excellent driver. (yeah, excellent driver).


See? Sleep deprivation and caffeine makes you the Rainman. Use every idea as an opportunity for a gag. It makes for very compelling reading. A list of likes and dislikes should also not read, “I like” or “I don’t like”.

It’s too monotonous and in the end nobody has time.

But your open, “I couldn’t sleep” was really terrific.

Dan DeMan

January 21st, 2011
3:36 pm

Holy Crap “Great Stuff”, Switch to De-caff.

El Kabong

January 22nd, 2011
5:52 am

Great Stuff-Great Stuff!

Great sign of an active mind. Good and constructive critique.

Lt Steve-another active mind. Thanks for your writings. I think you hold the distinction of being the first blog on the AJC and still the one I look forward to reading the most.

Great Stuff!!

January 24th, 2011
7:20 am

Thank you, Thank you all. I shall never forget the little people who made all of this possible. I have changed der verlde in the exact manner as ordered by mein fuerher. Everybody wants 2b moi!!!

Heil Heetler, unt his frauline Teetler. Unt I’d like to thank Mussolini unt his frauline Pussolini. Unt alzo, Der George W Bush unt his frauline Bush.

Lindsay Rose

January 25th, 2011
11:02 am

Way Prettier Than You are

January 26th, 2011
3:03 pm

I thought all COPS liked country music……………………lol

Hey Steve…you should listen to Motley Crue…..