On my way home from another editing session with Shi-Eun, I got off the 80 and walked into the Shoppers Drug Mart to take my coat's shell out of my backpack and put it on over the liner, because it was very chilly. Then, I walked out of the parking lot and up onto the Hammonds Plains Road. At the end of the Hammond Centre driveway, on the HPR, I saw a cop car with its light flashing, pulled over behind a Corolla with three people in it. The officer was going back and forth between the cars. As I approached, the emergency lights went out and both cars pulled away towards the freeway entrance further up the road (the way I was headed, though I would be going past the freeway).
As I was about to walk underneath the freeway, I noticed a paddy wagon, followed by a regular cop car, drive down off the freeway, having come from the Halifax direction, and headed in the direction of the Bedford outskirts, again the way I was headed. I started to wonder if something might be up.
As I walked up the long low incline following the freeway (between Smiths Road and Killarney Drive), a cop car came towards me, and as I was walking on the left (there is no sidewalk past the freeway), it was easy for them to turn on their blinker and pull over to talk to me. At first I thought they were going to offer me a drive home. But they got serious quick: they asked me where I was headed. "Oh, I'm just going home." What's your name? Where do you live? I was asked when I got off the bus. I told them I had gotten off the bus about 20 minutes ago. My heart was starting to race.
"Why did it take you so long to get up here?"
After a second, I realized she thought I meant I started from the freeway, not from the corner back in Bedford. So obviously she was a cop because she flunked out of bus driver school. =) But that wasn't my thought then, which was more like, "Oh, shit." Many unpleasant memories from high school came rushing back, which I'll touch on later. But I explained that it was the corner back in Bedford, which seemed to appease them.
More detail was probably unnecessary, but to avoid possible further entanglement into whatever was going on, I mentioned the police car I saw back by the drug store. I thought if they knew I saw that car there at that time, that would be an easy confirmation that I was telling the truth. I even told them about my coats, as to why I stalled after getting off the bus. In any case, they thanked me and drove off.
I arrived home and considered putting this story into my LiveJournal. I thought up a few theories as to what might be going on. I would have said how scared I was walking up my driveway, afraid that some homicidal maniac might be hiding. Actually, I wasn't afraid that he or she would find me, but that, a'la the non-John in Monster, I would be unfortunate enough to find them, and not be trusted to keep my mouth shut. (This was another movie I saw with Katie; afterwards I told her that, given that our other movies, Gothika and Sylvia, were kind of scary too, our next film should be The Happy Little Elves Save Christmas.) I even thought of things I would plead, like, "I'm still a virgin!" Actually, that would probably get me shot right away, probably to put me out of my misery. I thought of what other people would say about me, probably coming to the conclusion that I was an unfortunate case who met his end too soon. And then they would forget about me and move on.
It hardly needs mentioning that my flights of terrorized fancy were quite unnecessary, except to provide you with some entertainment on this, the following evening.
I told you that story to tell you this one.
Okay, it's time for afterglow and a bowl of Chef Boyardee. Maybe it will be a working combination. On another note, the matching red slashes on the left and right-most knuckles of my right hand from two nights ago have taught me that the remaining contents of a can ought to be excavated with a spoon, no matter how much I leave behind.
It's not like what I hear pot and sigur rós is, but it works well enough for me to continue typing.
Tonight, I got to leave class early because the lecture, at the National Film Board, wrapped up early. I ran out of the building and down the street as fast as I could, to catch the 80 which was already going up the next block. I made it to the 80, getting on in front of the crack den Subway by the (non-crack den) Lord Nelson Hotel, having been taunted a few times along the way, but thinking nothing of it.
A person a few seats to the left of me discarded the Sports section of a discarded Daily News he was reading. I asked if I could glance at it, and he said yes. I saw Kendra Berg*** get on the bus and we exchanged brief hellos. The bus moved on, I continued to read columns about the surging Oilers and the sinking Canucks even though reading on the bus makes me motion sick.
We turned onto Young street and stopped, for longer than the required by the following light. I noticed what looked like flashing blue lights from somewhere behind the bus, seen only indirectly as there was no rear window. I wondered... and then I heard a whoop from the siren.
A police woman strode up along the driver's side, my side, of the bus. She didn't look at me. She came to the front doors and said, "We're looking for someone on this bus."
I don't even need to tell you how I was feeling at the moment.
The cops came onto the bus a few times, looking, checking back with whoever or whatever they check back with when doing this stuff, and looking again. During a brief moment when they weren't present, I panicked and explained to my fellow passengers what happened the night before. The person to my left asked if I wanted to borrow the whole paper. =)
But, I wasn't taken away. They didn't even make eye contact with me. We got underway again. I exhaled loudly and repeatedly. I told everyone how I was so petrified that I'd be taken, not only because of what happened, but because of what people said about me from high school - I said that there was a time I almost got arrested for real, and the fact that I had a psychiatric appointment the following day and missed school meant everyone thought I was really arrested for real. Then that guy with the newspaper said he remembered me from CPA. Joy. An older woman across from me remarked about the guilt on my face and about how Halifax was too small.
The rest of the trip was without incident, except that a girl to my left said hello and asked me how I was. A conversation didn't really ensue; I should have asked for her name. I only managed to ask her if she had been on the bus earlier (yes). People like to be asked questions about themselves, and I try to do that whenever I think of it.
I got off the bus and approached Kendra. "Well, that was Epic," I said. She said that it was kind of scary that whoever they were looking for could still be on that bus. Kendra was recognized by an older woman, and they talked for a bit. I was walking in the same direction. I wanted to talk to Kendra - for good reasons, though... how should I put it? I have history with her somewhat like the history between "Sarah" and "Joe," but the F. kind and not the McW. kind, if you know Joe and gather what I'm saying. (I don't like Journals that fill up with private references, but sometimes they're the most meaningful kind among one's core audience.) And that would be a weak comparision, because my, let's say "non-history," with Kendra was very high profile (the poor girl!).
The other woman noticed the moon, giving me opportunity to jump in and explain the horizon illusion (At first she didn't believe me, and I had to reason with her that since our horizon moon is someone else's high moon, and that the moon is always "small" high in the sky, therefore the exaggerated size at the horizion must be an illusion. You can prove this by either taking a photograph or bending over to look at the moon through the gap between your legs.) and mention the awesome Earthshine I saw last night. I knew I was being talky, but I had to be. I needed more than ever to come across as someone competent, normal. A person. I slipped back and asked Kendra how long she had been living in this new-to-her area. She replied, and asked me if I was still living where I was, even knowing the name of the street. Yes...
"You walk all that way?!"
"Yes, every day." [Ah, not quite. Just when I have to go into town.]
"Are you crazy?!"
"Well, some people think so, but... Well, it only takes about 20 minutes [if I run like hell - it's more like 25-30] to get home. I usually walk a lot faster than this, but I wanted to talk to you since it's been awhile, even though I'm worried about looking crazy..."
And she laughed. Healthily. It was perhaps the most meaningful gesture she's ever given me, right up there with, "You can talk to me, you know. My friends might make fun of you, but I won't," of two years ago. Right there I knew I was an okay person, albeit hampered by an unfortunate reputation. Of course, I know that most of the time, and usually don't consider my "reputation" when I deal with people - I just do what I think is right. Kendra told me that a woman next to her on the bus said I gave too much information. Well, I don't care - I did what I thought was the right thing to do! And truth never harms a cause that is just, for Kendra laughed.
Back in my Geographic Information Systems lab this afternoon, I stepped to the window and noticed, "OH! It says 5950 Inglis right there! I was thinking we'd have to walk outside and around..." The professor and a female student were behind me. The student muttered, "scary," but then the professor said, "You're priceless, Will. Priceless." I am loathed by my peers in the lectures, but the professor and I are now getting along famously, and he was impressed with my preformance in Murder for One. And that's the sort of stuff that matters. I've got hundreds of yearbook signatures, many saying stuff along the lines of, "You turned out to be a good guy after all; I'm glad I got to know you." And I think I have a few friends and acquaintances who stick up for me when they hear stuff about me that isn't true. Not everyone says that they don't talk to or greet me as a matter of course. Even so, let's hope that I never become aware of the true magnitude of my infamy. It doesn't help my confidence that I am the last one to know anything about it, and then only of the most obvious manifestations of it.
So, did I write this entry just to toot my own horn? I'm not sure what the purpose of it is anymore. It hasn't been what I thought it would be. And, part of me is wondering if this story is even over yet. Another cop car and another paddy wagon drove past me (in different directions, I think) on my way up the HPR. But, as I hope they learned when they almost arrested me over a whisper and a rumour, I'm no trouble - and they have left me quite to myself since. I'm here now. I'm happy and healthy. I know now that I'll have to leave Halifax before my life can really begin, and I'll also have to hope that the internet doesn't make the world too small for moving to make a difference.