Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cops

I just got back from a midday walk with Buddy and Nightingale and this walk was a little bit more interesting than usual.  Today, we were questioned by the police!

The streets were quiet today on our little stroll and we didn't pass by any other walkers.  We did encounter two women, one pushing a baby stroller, who walked by us on a cross street but not closely enough to wave or speak.  There is usually very little vehicular traffic on most of the streets we walk on, no matter the time of day.  One street that dissects the neighborhood has a fair amount of traffic and cars move swiftly around the curve where the curb and gutter stops and the street narrows.  Two men were cutting grass in a yard on the that narrow section of road as we walked by, on the other side, 
quickly before any traffic forced us into someone's yard.

Right after we turned onto one of the quiet streets, 3 blocks and one turn from home, a little car turned onto the road facing us.  Around
 here they will usually give you a wide berth but as this car approached it came closer to us and stopped. About the same color and size of my car, this was a little older vehicle and as it pulled up to me I saw the man sitting in the passenger seat had on a tie.

My first thought was that it was someone wanting directions but when I saw the young, clean cut white man in a tie I thought it was someone hawking religious material.  He immediately identified himself as Rocky Mount Police and when the car stopped, he got out.  He did have some kind of badge and, I think, a gun so I didn't question whether or not they were really police.

The man that got out was fairly nice and told me they were investigating some break ins in the area.  This is no surprise to me because Rocky Mount has become a city know for its high crime rate.  There was a string of break ins on my street when we first moved here 6 years ago and I think we have another rash of them going on now.  Recent statistics show our cities' crime safety index as 3, with 100 being the safest.  Another recent study paces us fourth among America's 10 most dangerous small cities.

So anyway, there was nothing surprising or unusual to me about undercover cops asking some questions about break ins in the area.  I've never been a criminal as far as stealing things and now that my drug use is well behind me, I'm not nervous when I see cops like I was in the past.  What did happen today was that I felt uncomfortable for a couple of reasons.

The car had pulled to a stop slightly ahead of where I stood holding the dogs, so the driver had to turn his head a bit to talk to me as the two of them proceeded to ask me a series of questions.   H
ad I seen anyone walking today?  Did I ever see anyone walking in the neighborhood?  What time time did they walk by?  What kind of people are they? etc. etc. The thing is they seemed to be pulling sort of a good cop-bad cop routine on me.  The man standing outside the car was nice and cordial.  He would ask me a question and the cop sitting behind the wheel would look back at me and ask another question.  The driver seemed more curt and asked questions beyond the scope of what a resident of the neighborhood would be expected to answer.  He even asked me why I thought people would be walking through down this street.  ?

What I thought was just a routine, ask a local citizen for information, had almost turned into an interrogation in my opinion.  The cop sitting in the car asked me if I knew who was doing the break ins, and in another question he asked me why I thought people were breaking into these homes.  I should have given him a philosophical diatribe about the ravaged local economy, heroin epidemic etc., but I just kept my composure and answered the questions as succinctly as I could .

I did tell them where I lived in the beginning at at the end they asked if they could take my name to show they had talked to me.  I gave them my real name and they seemed to have to look for a pad to write it down.  
At the end they asked me to call the police anytime I saw anyone walking through the neighborhood.  I told them I would be on the phone all the time in that case, then they finally pulled away and we walked home.  just got the feeling that these guys were not very friendly or not treating me with the courtesy I deserve as a citizen, but it was not quite out of line.   

The other thing that bothered me was that talking to these men brought out my dsyphoria in a way that I haven't felt in public lately.  Here I am out for a walk with my dogs close to home, had not showered yet, so I was not as well put together as I usually am in while out.  This isn't usually a concern.  I see people walking by me on the streets, I say hey and we keep going.  I was dressed for exercise after all and not trying to impress anybody.

Because they are police officers and they were in an "investigation" mode, I had the feeling they were really looking at me hard, and I know that they were.  I didn't have on any makeup and have not shaved in a few days, which is normal as I just had electrolysis last week and there is little or nothing to shave.  So I am worried if they see a stray hair on my face.  I am wearing athletic pants instead of jeans so I am worried if they see anything there that they shouldn't.  I am concerned if my voice is ok.  etc.  

All these little things combined, and being interrogated for a minute or two, made me wonder if they clocked me as being trans.  I am not a criminal, so I have nothing to hide there, but an incident like this reminds me that I am always hiding something.  Will that ever get better?  I don't know but I think it will.  After all, it seems like I have been living as me forever but it really has not been that long. And I am still pre op, so before long some of my concern should be relieved.

I know that being me, out in the world, has gotten easier and easier but today I got a reminder that I still have a ways to go to be completely comfortable.  I know I can never be totally stealth (no one ever knows you are trans) in this town, but unless someone already knows or has to know I prefer that they not know.  I don't know if I could ever pull off being 100% stealth but I think if I did that would just create another closet.  I would always be hiding something.  But the truth is that I am me, simply me, and anything beyond that is nobody's business.

These cops never said a thing today or gave any indication they knew anything different about me, whether they did or not.  Someone should give them a lesson in courtesy while interviewing neighbors but I guess they are just doing their jobs.  I do hope that they catch the person or persons that are breaking into these homes and I learned a learned a lesson today to keep my doors locked while I am out walking.  I also relearned a lesson to just relax and not worry so much about how people perceive me.
  

Don't worry be happy