Ever since I realized how quiet Southern Palm Springs is, I’ve taken to taking long walks late at night. Half the trip is on a street that has a few beautiful little Mid-Century Modern houses on one side and the mountains on the other. And the stars, oh my Lord. It’s the one thing I really love about being in this town and the one thing I’ll dearly miss when I leave it. Maybe my family too.
It’s always weird to see other people out when I am, anywhere from two in the morning to dawn. Once a guy in a beat-up truck stopped and asked me where some street was and he seemed to be improvising, like he just wanted an excuse to talk to me (presumably because he wanted to kill me) and as I approached him ever so slightly to answer his question some unseen dogs in the back of the vehicle started barking. Weird and creepy.
Then there was the time that I was turning this one particular tight corner at the edge of the aforementioned mountain street that is totally blind coming from either direction, and if one car passes me my entire trip it is always at this corner and I have to rush to get there first when I hear it coming so it doesn’t speed around the bend and kill me. And then I have to be careful not to like, pop out and startle the driver who would then lose control and kill me. Also there’s a street light on this corner that sometimes has bats.
Anyway last night I abruptly shifted my route leaving the apartment as I heard a rustling in the bushes two feet to my left and saw a skunk, tail raised, running away from me. My left shoe, I would disover upon later sniffing, has a trace of that unmistakeable scent but otherwise I got away safely, though now I was going in a different direction and ended up on a just slightly busier, larger, somehow creepier street than any on my usual route. A few cars passed me, and one going in my same direction turned at the next corner, was idling about fifty feet down the street when I crossed it, and then backed up and went the opposite direction after I passed. So that was really weird.
Another car was a police cruiser. There seems to always be one of those patrolling the area which makes sense as the neighborhood is generally elderly and wealthy, which I imagine is a good place to rob.
The cruiser turned where I was planning to turn, and when I did I got a big ol’ spotlight in my face. I kept walking, more slowly, as the dude turned around in the street and stopped at the curb beside me. I still couldn’t see for the giant light so I squinted and asked if there was something I could help him with.
He stepped out of his vehicle and swaggered around it toward me as police are wont to do and asked me to take my hands out of my pockets. What am I doing out and do I have any identification? I couldn’t sleep so I went out for a walk and no I don’t have ID on me, just my keys to the apartment, but it’s a California ID, right? No, I’m just staying with my Mom, it’s from Ohio.
He said something into his radio and another police officer arrived, impossibly quickly. This one was a lady. The first guy searched me, asked me why I had a Starbucks gift card in my pocket but no ID (“I got that thing like two years ago and never took it out of my jacket”) and do I have any boxcutters in my gloves and can I please put my thumb on this print scanner and do I know my Driver’s License number at least.
Around this time a third police officer pulled up. “Another one?” “He probably just wants to meet you.” I had been asked to sit down on the curb and by this point I was on the verge of tears. I just wanted to fucking walk around the neighborhood before bed and not get frisked by a police officer.
The latter two started making small talk, asking me what I do and if it pays well and what kind of computer I have and the third guy’s wife only uses Apple products and aren’t they great. I kept making it clear that I wasn’t pleased about all of this and he said he understood that I keep odd hours because so do they, but something something something and he called the local residents “blue hairs” and generally had a dirty mouth.
Apparently I’m not on the record anywhere, which I like but also could have caused an arrest maybe, but the first officer asked me my height and weight and hair and eye color so I assume I’m in some database now. Eventually he just asked for my Social Security Number and I guess that did it and they let me go, so I started walking away which was weird. Later, on that beautiful street, one of them drove past me again and flashed a single light, hopefully as if to say “have a nice night, sorry for all the bullshit.”
So in conclusion, fuck pigs.