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July 13, 2005

Suspicious Behavior


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In the aftermath of the London subway bombings, the commissioner of public transport in our fair city has issued some suggestions to citizens with regard to reporting of suspicious behavior.

Two things that worried me were instructions to look for individuals who were perspiring, and those taking pictures of things that ordinary people would never think to photograph. I, being Princess of the Latter, (and not a bad perspirer either), am concerned. I might imagine that I am safe from suspicion since I recently became a blonde, and am well past the usual age of rabble rousing.

However, glamourous dignified women of a certain age are not exempt from scrutiny. My dear college roommate, who lives in Manhattan, and suffered for many years with multiple chemical sensitivity has had two such experiences.

The chemical fumes in cars really used to make her ill. Rather than stapling herself to her couch, she purchased a small, attractive, gas mask to wear in the car.

One day, on her way to Vermont, she stopped to refresh herself at a gas station. Upon leaving the ladies, she was astonished to find a small swat team, guns drawn, squatting in front of the bathroom door.

She had been reported for suspicious behavior. The gas mask did it. She had noticed that a car was following her rather closely for several miles prior to her rest stop. That driver evidently had notified the police of her suspicious appearance. She was able to convince the police that she was not a terrorist, just off for a weekend of antiquing, and was released.

After that incident she carried a note from her doctor verifying her medical need for a gas mask. We thought she should put a little sign on its nose that said "Hi, I'm allergic"-- maybe a little smiley face too --something to make her seem a little less threatening.

Last New Year's Eve she was visited by New York City's finest at home. She had driven to New Jersey in a rental car that day and was spotted "driving erratically" (groping for the toll) on the George Washington Bridge. The police had traced her rental car and found her address. It did take them much of the day. She dutifully produced the gas mask for their perusal, as well as her doctor's note. It's a comfort that our citizenry is vigilant.

And so I will try to confine bizarre shooting to my backyard, at least for awhile. This is the wire brush I use to clean the BBQ, casting an interesting shadow in the late afternoon. I like the triangles.

Posted by Dakota at July 13, 2005 06:16 PM