15 Feb 2018
In my current abode I help take care of a dog with regular walks. When My Lady and I set out on this day, there happened to a police car that was driving through the neighborhood. I tensed up once I noticed them, which caused My Lady to look around as I am rarely not relaxed. She told me not to worry to which I growled a bit, but let it roll away. The path through this neighborhood has a loop which we walk. As we rounded the loop, I noticed that the police car had stopped. I tensed up again, now because I was trying to figure out why the officer had stopped. My Lady noticed this too. She expressed “That’s… weird…” while looking between myself and the police car. As we passed, the officer had their face covered and did not seem particularly attentive to the surroundings. However, as we rounded the bend the officer halted at one of the junctions and remained there until we began going inside.
I end where I began: With Context and Ambiguity.
This was the day after the Parkland, Florida massacre. It did not surprise me to see a police car driving through neighborhoods. The visibility can make some feel safer. Maybe that wasn’t the reason at all. They could have gotten a message and simply needed someplace to respond to it. How do I know, after all? Besides, they were already in the neighborhood when I stepped out so it wasn’t about me in any way, shape, or form. The circumstances to the officers’ presence was, to me, ambiguous.
You can now share my context. Congratulations! I was walking and wearing dark clothes with a hood. Is this going to be a problem? I thought ‘Surely, since I just stepped out of a house with a dog it is fairly apparent that if I do not live here, I am at least welcome.’ However, seeing the car stopped caused me concern. It was before noon, and everyone was at work. The street and driveways were devoid of vehicles per the norm. No one was likely in any of the homes the officer was near. Their making no eye contact was suspicious to me, as normally I’d expect a friendly wave in a neighborhood like this.
I told myself I was letting paranoia get the better of me, steeping myself too much in my past experiences. Plus, since I was writing on them my sense in that regard was heightened.
But then the officer waited, maintaining a line of sight to me and mine until we stepped back in the house.
Even in direct interactions, I cannot know everything. It is why I aim for understanding.