In and around the NYC area, we have been experiencing treacherous thunderstorms on and off for about a week now; I know people who have had trees fall on their property, and a friend of mine found some serious hail on her lawn right after a storm breezed through her town. There's been downed wires and power outages, and some towns have experienced flash floods. To sum it up: it's been a little nuts.
That said, I was out walking the dog the other day when a local police cruiser startled me; I must have been in another world when he pulled up along side me and asked for my attention. After he apologized for scaring me, the Officer then started asking me if I was experiencing power outages in my neighborhood.
"Not this time." I shook my head and then asked him if I could help him. He informed me that the neighborhood adjacent to mine was experiencing widespread outages, and he was driving around to see if it extended to our neighborhood too...we started shooting the breeze about Hurricane Irene last year and these strange storms we had been experiencing.
The whole exchange lasted no more than five minutes, but as he pulled away I told him to have a nice day, and this is what struck me: could it really be that not so far from where I lived that these type of exchanges with the police were not a commonplace event? I knew it to be true; my husband has been cursed at, spit at, called names...the works. What if I lived in the neighborhood where my husband worked, and the same cop rolled up on me, and startled me while I was out walking my dog? Would I be paranoid or rude? This cop was just looking to help; would I accept that at face value, or would I shy away from his squad car and choose to believe instead that he was just out to harass me? How different would that interaction have been if I was immediately suspicious and on guard? Is it all about geography? Or outlook?