It was last Thursday evening when I was walking back to my lodgings from a fruitful Target run. I was on the phone with a friend and was walking slowly, as you do when you are in the throes of juicy gossip. The walk took longer than normal because of the aforementioned chat and about a half block from the house, I stood on the corner and switched my bag from one shoulder to another, pausing on the corner to get every last detail of the gossip.
I was probably standing there for all of two minutes when I decided to continue on with my walk.
About two houses down, over the voice of my friend on the phone, I can hear a car roll up and some saying, “Excuse me. Excuse me.” Being a woman in Mexico, where I used to live, I have more often than not had men roll up in their cars to try and “give me a ride” somewhere. This, along with the fact that the house I was precisely passing by in that moment was where a 50+ year old man, about two weeks prior, had introduced himself to me on one of my many walks up and down the street and punctuated the introduction with, “So beautiful.” He then got in his car and followed me up the block to “give me a ride” somewhere.
I ignored the person, half thinking it was the creepy 50 year-old when all of a sudden, there was a loud, “Hey what are you doing there?”
I turned to have a blinding light in my face. I could vaguely make out the outline and the color of the car. But vaguely. I saw the black and the white of the paint job from the bottom edge of the car but for all I knew, it could have been some idiot up the street, playing a prank.
Through the white light, I saw red.
“Where are you going?” asked the male voice from behind the light.
“Up here,” I gestured and with a boldness in a voice that may have not been too intelligent. Very little gets my blood boiling but being treated like a pick-up by an authority figure can get me there right quick.
“Where do you live?” the voice asked, still shining the light in my face.
“Right there!” gesturing a little more vigorously. I was not about to back down.
The light was still in my face. And I still was not certain this really was the police.
“Just checking to see that people are safe.” And with that statement, the car drove off.
“Good night, officer!” I shouted back at him. I did not truly wish him a good night, realizing all the while that he never announced himself of being in any capacity, part of the law enforcement.
And as I walked back to the house, I fumed. I was itching for a fight and it also dawned upon me how quickly things could have escalated had I looked differently, were younger or male.
The police are not arbitrators of the public that are independent of a higher law; they are peer mediators, knowledgeable of the law and work for the greater good. They were chosen to be the conduit between a governing body and the general public to enforce laws that ensure the safety and well being among the general populace.
With regards to this event, I did not feel that they mediated for my peace of mind and had little, if any, sympathy for what I could have felt or was subjected to.
Change is the only constant in life and where before, I would have trusted the judgement of the police, I am now categorizing them in the group called “Creepy Neighbors.”
May these Creepy Neighbors learn how to be less creepy.