Matt Gray

I am a suspected criminal.

Jan 24, 2006


Double-U Tee Eff.

This evening I had dinner at Everest again (I probably eat there too much). On the way home, I opted to take the river road due to a light snow. After a long day of work, I don’t like to deal with tense interstate driving when the road’s clotted with morons poor drivers.

The river road is quite scenic; I’ve taken a few pictures there in the past. The falling snow proved an interesting accompaniment to the uncrowded street, lit by abundant streetlamps—so I decided to stop and snap a few shots.

I pulled off the river road at Pelham, and parked shortly up the street. There are no parking regulations on this street that I’m aware of. I emerged from the car, tripod in hand, and headed towards the river.

Some time later (while snapping in view of my car) I noticed a car parked next to mine, lights on. In fact, this vehicle was creating something of a traffic jam on Pelham with my car parked on the other side of the road. I paused, and stared at this situation. I couldn’t see anyone. After a bit, I finally saw the car leave.

I put this weirdness out of my mind and took a few more shots:





When I returned to my car, I found the notice posted above. Now, I’m all for neighborhood-driven organizations designed to genuinely improve a place to live. I’m not fine with being treated like a dangerous criminal. Why was I warned, “Hey, Buddy—keep your drugs out of here!” in not so many words? My license plate may be in some database? That’s fantastic. I really trust some neighborhood watch task force not to fuck up and let my data fall into the wrong hands. Who knows what the police are giving them in terms of information?

I wouldn’t be surprised if they discovered my car’s VIN, ran an ownership search, etc, etc. Even more worrisome is the short notice before the phone numbers:

If you have witnessed or experienced an illegal act, harassment, or police misconduct, call…

Whoa. Is police misconduct so common that they need to list it on this worthless flyer, likely given out by pseudo-police?

I’m convinced I was targeted (while so many other cars around me were notice-free) because someone saw me emerge from my car and walk towards the river. When I drove around the neighborhood, there were no other cars with this notice. Is it so inconceivable that I’d want to head away from the fancy-schmancy houses and to the river? Had I parked up on Marshall or a side-street, I am positive I would have no nag-note on my car.

Thank you, St. Paul—I’m so glad you consider a law-abiding, former resident a potential criminal. I hope I start to receive random Big Brother-esque SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IS ILLEGAL IN THE PARK posters. This single note soured my entire experience. Next time, I’ll walk four blocks in the snow to preserve my privacy, which I hold very dear.

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