The officer stepped out of his car and said he didn’t want to scare me.
(I think I was the one causing fear???)
He asked me if I was OK?
I cautiously told him I was, as I tried to get some hint of why this was happening.
He asked me what I was doing.
I told him I was getting ready to hike in Spain.
His expression evidenced a deepening concern. He asked me where I had started out from today. I think he was expecting me to say Brazil or Australia. It must have been a disappointment for him when I gave my home address from about 3 miles away.
Now it was my turn for a question. Why are you wondering if I am OK?
He said one of the neighbors had called the police and told them they saw a woman walking in their neighborhood and they were concerned that she was lost.
My mind searched for reasons that someone would notify the police that I was walking in their neighborhood. What would cause this concern? Was it the hiking boots on a hot day? Did the backpack stir questions? Is it possible that I appeared old and feeble? Is this the first of many times I will be stopped and questioned?
As I answered the officer’s questions coherently he began to relax and even take some interest in where in Spain I would be hiking, when and for how long. Seemingly satisfied, he asked for my name so he could acknowledge that he had made the requested inquiry.
I gave him my driver’s license. He instructed me to wait while he went into his squad car to submit his report. Or was he checking further to see if I had a record?
A second squad pulled up behind the first one. I wondered if the first officer was calling for backup? I found myself laughing and knew that this was not the time or place to think of this as funny. The second squad left quickly so assurance must have been given that I was not assessed as dangerous.
After what seemed like a long time the officer came back with my driver’s license and said he hoped I had fun in Spain. I thanked him for caring about my well being.
As I continued my walk I continued to wonder if this is what happens to old people. Hopefully one of the neighbors didn’t have enough to do that day.
I think I will let myself think of it as funny now. I will remind myself that as we age we take God more seriously and ourselves less seriously. I will walk again tomorrow with the recommended gear. I will choose to tell this story and let people laugh with me.