Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A Walk Before Bedtime

Out walking, as is my custom, in front of my apartment block tonight around 11:30 pm. My back was killing me after trying some heavy lifting last thursday and I realized I needed to walk if it was going to heal up. I was half way through my second circuit when a white unmarked car with a rack of white lights at the back rolled up beside me. The driver was silently giving me the once over - not to say the twice and thrice over. I made a hands out gesture of "well?" and he motored away to the cull de sac, turned around and sat there in the street. Still eyeing me as I came nearer, the shadowy driver said nothing. So I said: "Well, can I help you? What's the problem? I walk hear all the time." He rolled his window down and asked me what was wrong. "You're obviously looking me over for some reason, " I said. "I'm walking out here. I come out here all the time." He explained that he was investigating a crime that had been committed in the vicinity. He sounded a little offended that I wasn't happy to be a possible suspect, so I simply said, "OK, I'm sorry," and walked on. I'm apologizing to him! Far be it from me to impede an RCMP investigation. I walked around his vehicle keeping to the looping sidewalk and continued back down the street going toward my apartment. He drove off going east at the T that connects my street to the main drag. I walked to the south loop and turned back northward, now on the original side of my street, starting loop number three. (Each loop, as I had discovered by pacing it out one night, equalled one half kilometre.)  Before I had reached the intersection of that T again, white car was back, turning north once again and driving all the way into the far apartment parking area before coming out to resume his former position in the middle of the road. Once again I was under observation. This time the driver exits the car, reiterates the story about a break-in somewhere on the other side of the park area to the immediate west and asks me to identify myself.  I am not carrying any documentation, just my keys and a flashlight, the latter article being my only defense against the bears that roam the area at night. My name, address and date of birth I freely give him. He asks me If I had ever had any "contact with the police." I wasn't quite sure what he meant by this and so I tell him "not that I can remember." I did once call the police in 1995, about some vandals in my apartment in North Vancouver, but I don't think that's what he had in mind. Once again I start walking away. I make the loop again and am coming back toward the car when he confronts me yet again. He advises me that a police dog will soon be in the area trying to hunt down the felon and if I'm out here walking around my scent might... He doesn't finish telling me exactly what "my scent" will do to his investigation. He suddenly asks  if I drive, have a license. Yes, I tell him. He's waiting for the woman at the base to verify I am who I say I am but somehow she's not able to do it. He asks me three times for my name and address. Another car, this one black, rolls up. The driver also gets out and approaches us. My back is really starting to pain me now, standing there in the night air. How many times do I have to tell them my address? I ask. The first policeman begins to admonish me, telling me that I wasn't really being very cooperative when he first approached me. I could hardly refrain from laughing at this. I could have asked the guy to distinguish, if he could, between cooperation and submission or between investigation and intimidation. Somehow these people are programmed to go over the line. Somehow we're wired to oppose them. What is it? My face or my fate that predisposes me to mistrust them?
        Finally the woman's voice is heard verifying my address match with DL records. Seems she misspelled my name. Oh well, that's all right then. Ha, ha, well well... Then Black Car informs me that their suspect was wearing a hoodie just like mine, so you see..." Certainly, I see that wearing one of the most common articles of attire entails an extended impostion on my time and patience. Quite honestly, had I in fact been their "man," would I have been out casually walking about the area after my crime? And suppose I, thief and liar, and had indeed put up a feigned casualness at the first contact with White Car, why would I still have been there, still walking, when he returned some five minutes later? Give me a break!
       White Car then advised me to get inside in case the search dog bit me or his handler arrested me.(!) "Hope your back is OK." Away I go at last, no longer under the cloud of doubt and suspicion... my back starting to feel better... but as I enter my apartment block, Black Car comes racing past, its driver staring up at me, still observing, still distrusting, still hunting. The investigation continues... 

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