Just a small taste…some food for thought…
I walked into town this morning. Not unusual for a Saturday.
I was wearing baggy jeans and a hoodie sweatshirt. Not unusual for a Saturday.
I had my hands in the pockets of the hoodie because it was a bit cool this morning. Not an unusual thing to do.
There was a guy about 30 yards ahead of me most of the way into town. Not impossible, because from where I live there is only one street to take that will cross the canal into downtown. A part of me wanted to call out to him “I’m not following you! Just heading into town!” but I didn’t because that’s not me. …unlike my friend Aphrodite, who would probably do exactly that and then end up walking the rest of the way into town with a new friend. I wish I had that knack.
Anyone who’s lived in a major city knows that, even if there’s no conceivable reason for someone to be following you – or perhaps especially if there’s no reason – when a stranger is taking the same path you are, your radar perks up. We just stay alert because in the big city that’s what you do, for your own protection. I do not live in a big city, but could tell this guy’s radar was perked up. (This particular hoodie is several sizes too big for me, so not exactly figure flattering, and with my hands in my pockets and my short hair, it’s not inconceivable that from a distance I looked like some hoodlum up to no good.)
I knew I wasn’t doing anything suspicious, and assumed the guy ahead of me wasn’t, either.
A family going the opposite direction rode by on bikes on the far side of the road. I could see them look at the guy as they passed. I could see them look at me as they passed. Something about the – to my eyes – puzzled look on the father’s face made me wonder:
If it was night-time, and I suddenly put my hood up, would I have been shot?
(Those of you who can’t imagine why this thought would cross my mind…look up “Trayvon Martin”. Very big case in America these days.)