“I am very happy that we moved out of that single bed room studio in Cincinnati!”
“Me too! At least for the next two years we will be here in the Detroit area. The company has allowed me to use the leased Camry for another month until we find a suitable apartment and buy our own car.”
“Okay then. Your friends had already mentioned a few apartments that we can check out. Let us go around town this evening and scout the places. The leasing offices are going to be closed since it is already evening, but we can at least create a shortlist.”
Jamuna and I decided that we will leave in half an hour on our apartment search.
* * *
It was just starting to get dark. I pulled out from the parking lot of the Hampton Inn. I got on to Stephenson Hwy. Just as I crossed the traffic light on 14 Mile Rd, I heard the sound of a police siren and a squad car followed me with its lights on.
I pulled over to the left near a Michigan U-turn, stopped the Camry and rolled the window.
“Driver’s license and registration, please?”
I handed out the documents to the officer.
“Please wait here for a moment…”, said the officer. He walked to his cruiser and checked my license in his computer and returned back.
“You guys seem to be new in town. Did you just pull out of a parking lot or something?”
“Yes sir, we are staying at the Hampton Inn!”
“Well, your car’s lights were not on. Please turn them on and have a safe trip.”
He returned the documents to me and went back to his car.
* * *
Two weeks later, I received an e-mail from a friend in New Jersey. I read it along with Jamuna:
Subject: Driving safety tip
If you are driving in the night and you see a car coming towards you without its headlights on, be careful. Be very very careful…
It is natural to flash your lights at them to indicate that they have their lights off. BUT DON’T DO IT!
The reason is this—In some parts of the country, gangs use a macabre initiation ritual that consists of the newest member who intends to join the gang going around town during the night in a car with its headlights off. The first car that comes in the opposite direction that flashes their headlights at them is the mark and they are supposed to turn around, pursue them and shoot the driver. That is their rite of passage to get into the gangs. So, please don’t flash your headlights!