So there I was, looking like some sort of wild bag lady out in the storm, walking my way around Nahant's neighborhoods. Nahant is an island on the north side of Boston. It has one causeway that links it to the mainland. It has maybe ten businesses, churches, a public library, a town hall, police. The rest is all residential, varying incomes, some cramped lots, some large, stately Victorians. For Boston and many locales these days, it is a very safe place.
A car passed me as I walked between the public library and the town hall. An American-made sedan, possibly a Lincoln, gray, with just a driver, male. It was going the other way. I thought nothing of it. I turned left onto the main drag and headed out towards East Point Park, a wild place with bunkers from WWII coastal defense. It's a great place to feel the storm and listen to the surf. The same car went past me going in the same direction, turned into a driveway just a house ahead and reversed its direction on the main drag. Odd behavior on the island. People pretty much know where they're going and go. They don't change their minds.
In spite of the buttery interior, the car screams unmarked police car or some sort of governmental vehicle with its numeric, low-numbered plate, about 4 digits and its non-descript color/style. I spend a lot of time driving and I identify unmarked police cars for my personal amusement. I'm pretty good at it. So while my radar is fully extended, I'm not freaked. Not yet.
The car passes me a third time as I go up and around. On my left it's all ocean until you reach the park. On the right are large Victorian mansions. As I come around the bend and can see the entrance to the park, I see the car again. He has parked in the lot before the gates. It is the only car in the small lot. He is just sitting there, idling. Waiting.
I change my plan to walk the park. Entering a park with a suspicious car as the only other human in hearing distance would not be a wise decision, even in such a safe place. I am paranoid and cautious, years of city living, a few rough encounters. Which is why I like the country. Fewer events for my radar to ping on and they are mostly animal-related. And of course, my imagination loves to create drama out of the ordinary.
I continue to walk past the entrance and down the residential streets to the other side of the island, a way I haven't been before, taking the less likely route for a walk, actively trying to throw him off where a walker would go, randomly selecting a street when the choice of left or right is offered. I lost him as I walked down by the wharf area and watched the waves crash on the seawall down there, crossing the street to get closer.
It is still my universe and his. By now I'm soaked to the skin and my feet are squishy. My hair is all over the place and I'm sure I look like the wild animal I was describing and feeling. I don't look like a resident, I'm not walking a dog. I'm walking alone on a day when no one else is out, when everyone is busy cooking.
He found me down there on that street. Passed me going at moderate speed and went on down the way. I turned up and over the spine of the island, following a familiar street name, finding my way back to familiar neighborhoods. He didn't find me again.
In the last block of my walk, I did pass someone walking a dog. The only other walker I saw that morning.
I laid out this tale to J on the long drive home. He believes I was being watched by a security detail, that a Person of Importance was on the island for Thanksgiving and their security detail was patrolling the streets and as I was the only person out on foot and didn't fit a reasonable behavior pattern, I was followed. I like this conclusion.
I would much rather be seen as a 'potential threat' than a 'potential victim.'
And frankly, the way I dress and move and look, I'm hardly victim material.