The night prior to writing about the “knock knock” jokes, there was a ‘tick-tacker’ at our door. That’s right, someone rang our doorbell between the hours of 12:30 and 5am and ran away. I was so tired that morning that I looked on the porch for a package, as if some PTA mom had decided to drop off brownies that night. Ha! I decided it was probably some stupid slumber-party dare. This is the suburbs.
Wednesday night was far more difficult to ignore. I was out babysitting for a friend (cool parents go to rock concerts) until midnight. I had dozed off and on, so I was a little foggy when I left their house. I passed some apartments on the main road and saw three or four police vehicles with their lights on. Wow, I thought. That looks like a pretty big deal.
Then a police vehicle turned on his lights right behind me.
I slowed down, practically swerved, looked at my speed, my heart raced. Then his lights turned off again. Okay, wasn’t for me. Anyway, I was barely doing 30 in a 35 zone.
I was awake now.
I noticed five more police cars on the other side of the intersection with their lights on. It looked a lot like that rock concert I had missed. On the other side of the street, there were four or five more cars parked with their lights off. People were milling around.
As I drove between the stopped cars, it became clear that the vehicles on both sides of the street were ALL police vehicles. There were probably 8 or 10. Officers were walking along the road with their nightsticks looking for something. There was no accident. There was no ambulance. There was just an incredible amount of interest in the side of the road.
After I drove through, two police officers whizzed by me. I was driving nice and carefully now, fully alert. Someone was tailgating. It was an SUV with its running lights on. I thought it was very odd that someone was tailgating right after a crime scene. I mean, doesn’t everyone act like a Nobel Peace Prize recipient right after passing a police car? Mother Teresa wouldn’t drive better than I do after such an event.
He was . . . right . . . on . . . my . . . tail.
I took the left towards my neighborhood. He followed.
I took the right into my neighborhood. He followed.
I took the left onto my street. Oh, my, he’s still back there! So, by now I had decided that I would just drive right by my house and, if he continued to follow me, drive right to the police station. I’m not getting out of my car, especially not anywhere near my kids.
(I used to walk home through the city after midnight by myself in my 20’s. It’s amazing what kids do to us).
Just then, the SUV pulled into my neighbor’s house. It didn’t look like my neighbor’s car, but they have a teenage son. He’s the right age to both drive and be a little foolish.
I pulled into my driveway and went to my front door to unlock it.
I never saw anyone get out of the SUV. And, as fast as he stopped at the neighbor’s house, he pulled away and was gone. It still felt like he had followed me.
I was up until 2:30am, comforting my daughter who was having leg cramps. I probably would have been up anyway.
What about the tailgater? Oh, probably just another teenager quickly dropping off the teenage boy down the street. It was just me, just being paranoid about my kids.
Just doing my job.