Possessing Teff in NE Ohio

Did you know that possessing teff might get you in trouble?

I guess I need to start at the beginning… for instance, what is teff?

Teff is a grain that is native to the Horn of Africa. It is used as food, fodder for livestock, and as a building material (probably as a binding agent in cob or mud walls). Most people know it as a gluten-free grain or perhaps they’ve had the sour injera bread that is made from teff flour at Ethiopian restaurants.

It turns out that goats can eat teff hay. It’s a complete food that can be baled and stored for winter. It has a fairly complete spectrum of the nutrients that goats need. And it was cheap. We had hungry goats so we went and got some.

Why is someone growing teff in NE Ohio? I think he said it was a crop to help transition the fields out of the corn/soy trap… but don’t quote me on that.

By the way, the goats will eat teff hay… but they don’t really want to.

On the way home, Charles (who once told me he isn’t a bad driver, merely inattentive) who may or may not have driven outside of his lane, got pulled over. The officer comes to the window and has a short conversation with Charles and then takes license and registration and returns to his car. It’s taking a curiously long time to process the paperwork… so I lean and see a second set of headlights in the driver’s side mirror. I don’t realize that Charles doesn’t see this. The car is so stuffed with teff that the rearview mirror is useless and the angle through which I see the second car is not visible to Charles.

<Back up?> I think. <This oughta be good.>

The second officer comes to the window. Charles says, “Wait a minute, you aren’t the guy that was here before…” and proceeds to act disoriented and intoxicated.

<This isn’t helping, Charles.>

“Please step out of the car, sir.”

<Uh oh.>

“Don’t worry, he probably thinks I’ve been drinking.” <You’re kind of acting like it.>

Charles and the new officer disappear from view. Waiting… waiting… waiting…

And then, my car door opens. “Miss, please step out of the car.”

<What is going on???>

I get out and go stand next to Charles, who is still making jokes!!!

“Please empty your pockets.” I empty my pockets. This is what is in my pockets.

“Do you have any other weapons?”

This is where I finally break my silence, which I’d held, hoping that my silence would somehow make up for the babbling Charles has unleashed.

And, worse, instead of using my words, I giggle.

“We’d like to search your car.”

<For what!?!>

“We smell marijuana.”

This isn’t even remotely a possibility. So of course, to make things better, I laugh again. And turn to Charles and say, “it’s your weird hay.”

The officers take a long look at each of us, and then one begins the search. Luckily, he did not decide to search the hay itself. I certainly had visions of teff hay strewn across the side of the highway.

While the searching occurs, Charles and I have what is probably a pretty strange, from the officer’s perspective, conversation about teff, protein content, and goats. But utterly meaningless given their assumptions about what they think is happening.

“Well, I didn’t find anything in the car. Did either of you smoke marijuana before getting in the car? Did someone smoke marijuana in the car before you left… ” and so on. “No, no, um, no, no and no.”

We are free to go. So I gather my wallet, lip balm, and my weapon off the hood of the police car.

When I get to the car I hesitate and exhale before I open the door, I take a big whiff. Nothing. Just a smell reminiscent of oats. We get in the car and start cracking up. Charles says, “it was the wasabi peas…”