I am not a threatening guy. I mean it. I am between 5'8 and 5'10 depending on what convenience store I am leaving. I weigh 150 pounds and rarely wear hockey masks. "Why am I telling you this?", you wonder?
It was a long and stressful week what with preparing an application for launch and my consulting work in the evenings. Way too much time on the keyboard, know what I mean? The weather up here turned warm, so I went out for an evening stroll.
After about 2 miles of walking, I returned home to pick up a bottle of water and a jacket. Approaching my driveway I was approached by 2 people with dogs who questioned me. I pointed to my house, explained I was out for a walk. Having lived in this neighborhood for 6 months I was a little annoyed but stayed friendly.
I went into the house, grabbed my coat, the bottle of water and set off again. About an hour later, a police car pulls up and starts questioning me. He asked my name and my address, which I promptly told him. Then I asked him if "Everything was all right?" He said "Yes." Then drove off.
At this time, I am starting to wonder if I should be out walking. Something seems strange. Is it normal to question the health inclined for just being out walking?
I was still thinking about this encounter with the police when I turned from the main road into the neighborhood. 50 yards up the street a man walked with a flash light. After 20 or so steps, the man turned around, pointed the flashlight in my face and approached. I started getting annoyed when he KEPT the flashlight pointed in my face, so I yelled out "Hello?!?!?!".
Suprisingly and not suprisingly, it was another police officer. He asked my name, address and some other details. I began to wonder if I was on some New Jersey game show. Next, he asked for my identification. I told him I had been out for a walk, not shopping but if he would like to accompany me to the house, I would retrieve my documents for him.
He seemed amused and satisfied and told me not to worry about that.
For the record, I live in a country suburb in New Jersey. The kind of place where the neighbors all know one another. The kind of place where garages and doors are left unlocked. A nice friendly place. I felt like I had wandered from the Garden State to a Police State.
5 minutes later, two officers come running up the street yelling for me to stop. I stop and wait for them to catch up. At this point, I am getting beyond "Friendly, Helpful Citizen" and to "Annoyed, I Live Here, Leave Me Alone"
The two officers say they are going to need me to produce my ID. "Fine, lets go get it", I say. So off we go walking up a hill towards my house. The whole time I am thinking, "My roommates are going freak out when I show up at the door with two armed policemen..."
Moments later, several cop cars arrive. Now surrounded by 7 officers, I am told to unzip my jacket, produce my cell phone and then answer a bunch of questions.
- "What is your name?"
- "Where do you live?"
- "What is the zip code here?"
- "What is the area code here?" ( I actually got this one wrong? Ha Ha. )
Next thing I know, an officer takes my cell phone and drives off with it. I am still fully surrounded and getting nervous. I have no idea what is going on.
After 10 more minutes of Q&A with the police, the car comes back, announces "It's not him", hands my cellphone back and leaves. I am left walking back to my house shaking my head.
So how was YOUR Friday night?