In a country as diverse as America you may randomly get asked this question. I suppose that is to be expected, however, there are a few instances where I find it ridiculous. The main instance is when you and I have already had a conversation and THEN you ask me if I can speak English. “No Sir I can’t, I was really just nodding my head to the rhythm of your words…
It was a Saturday night and the wife and I had decided to go to Blackhawk, CO to play at the Indian casinos. We had an amazing time, namely because my wife was extremely lucky that day and hit two large jackpots on slot machines. We of course had a shot of patron for each win, but because I was driving I withheld the urge to have more beverages to celebrate. We stayed a few hours at the casino, more than enough time for me to process twice as much alcohol as I had, but we still made our way carefully down the mountain back towards Denver. The road can be remarkably dangerous and I knew this first hand having hit a deer in my brand new Eclipse a couple years earlier. Apparently deer have no regard for their own personal safety or the image of my baby car which I still mourn to this day.
As we made our way towards the one gas station located a few miles outside of Blackhawk I began to see red and blue lights ahead. I immediately thought it was either an accident or a DUI checkpoint, and sure enough the police were standing in the middle of the road conducting DUI “interviews” on passing cars. I say “interviews” here because the cops were actively talking to each driver and sending the ones they “suspected” of being under the influence to the dirt parking lot nearby. It was my lucky night.
“Sir have you had anything to drink tonight?” the cop asked me.
“I had a couple drinks three hours ago,” I answered honestly. I could actually feel the nervousness from my wife.
A second cop approached from the passenger side and shined his flashlight at me. The first officer placed his hand on his gun and said “I am going to need you to pull over so we can do a quick sobriety test.” He made it apparent this was not a request. “Please pull over slowly to the right and don’t allow your car to break contact from my hand” he said with what I imagine he thought was a stern demeanor.
I pulled slowly over, very slowly, and ensured his grip of authority never lost contact with my vehicle. I was a little nervous, not because of the possibility of blowing over the limit, but because both the cops were white and I have a large suspicion about law enforcement in general. Namely that I think police are worthless for the most part, at least in many of the cities I have lived in, and they seem more gauged at causing trouble for the law abiding citizens than the criminals. Once I had parked my car the cops motioned for me to get out of the vehicle.
The police explained to me that they had pulled me out because they smelled alcohol on my breath. I thought “bullshit” because I had only had two shots and after those I had eaten and drank non-alcoholic drinks. There is absolutely no way he smelled anything but my Febreze air freshener. I was very confident because I knew I was fine to drive and that these cops were just looking for a criminal if they could find one. We spoke for a few minutes in which I explained why we were in the mountains, because apparently Asians don’t travel into the mountains at night because they melt from the high altitude, and then he dropped the question on me.
“Before we begin I need to ask if you speak good enough English to talk to me. Do you need a personal translator?”
I had a hard time biting back my retort which would have thrown me in jail. The deciding factor was his partner who still had not taken his hand off his gun. Overaggressive policemen are not hard to find and they frequent Youtube these days on viral video after video. I wasn’t about to be the next “when police attack video” that got a million hits, it wasn’t worth sacrificing the beauty of my face just for a viral video. But seriously where does a guy get off asking me if I speak fucking English when we just spoke for several minutes and my vocabulary obviously exceeds your own?
We began the test and let me point out that giving ANYONE a DUI test on a gravel parking lot is complete bullshit. I have trouble enough walking a straight line in the street, add some rocks and I definitely wasn’t looking very coordinated. I am a part-time ninja, but I can’t do shit without my ninja outfit. The issue arose when we began the ABC test which consisted of me saying the alphabet backwards. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, maybe I am just a dumbass, but I have never practiced saying the ABCs backwards. Why would anyone learn to do that? I was about two vowels away from getting tackled before I made it through finally. It wasn’t pretty, but I suppose I could have simply said “I guess I really don’t know English…”
So what ends up happening? After all five tests, YES FIVE TESTS, were done the idiot ends up giving me a Breathalyzer test and guess what this non-English speaking Korean blew? 0.00, that is what. I refrained from giving the cops any sign language as we drove off and I am surprised they didn’t chase after me for “accelerating too fast.” What can I say? Cops love me.