I was heading down the hill on one of my daily-when-it-doesn't-rain-for-72-days-in-a-row walks, the walks for which I am modestly famous in my neighborhood (if by famous you mean 'referred to regularly as The Crazy Walking Lady...but they mean it lovingly, I'm sure). I had my iPod on, and wasn't really paying attention to anything...until the police car coming up the hill suddenly crossed over onto my sidewalkless side of the street and came skidding to a halt on the gravel just a few yards in front of me. Before I even had a chance to even stop walking forward, both doors of the police car flew open and two officers emerged, striding towards me, hands resting on their holsters.
"Hi there. Where are you going?" the female officer asked me.
"Me? I, um, I'm walking, um, to the, um store?" (Yes, I'm cool under pressure. Why do you ask?)
"Do you live around here?"
I told them my address, and pointed helpfully to my block, just two streets up from where we were standing.
"OK, then. We've had some calls about a woman walking into people's backyards today. She apparently even walked into someone's house through their back door. Sorry to bother you. Can you show us some ID before you go?"
After they drove away, I pulled out my phone to call Baroy. I had only had time to dial and say, "Hey..." when another car, this one heading down the hill in the same direction as me, suddenly pulled over right next to me. "I'll call you right back," I said, and then looked into the unmarked car at the four detectives therein.
"Have you seen a woman, um, walking around here...?" the detective in the front passenger seat asked me, realizing only belatedly that he was describing, you know, me.
"Nope," I said. "I did just hear about it from the officers who checked me out a minute ago, but I haven't seen anything."
"Oh, OK then," said Front Passenger Detective. "Sorry to bother you again."
"No problem," I replied. "Guess there aren't a lot of people who walk around here, huh?"
"Guess not," he said, and the car pulled away.
The rest of my walk was uneventful, though I will admit that I walked down the center of the road when I was on the side streets, just in case the police came driving by. But, sheesh. If this is what happens when I head to the hardware store right down the hill, I can only imagine what's in store for me the next time I try legging it the five miles down to the library in the neighboring town. Helicopter surveillance? SWAT teams? Your guess is as good as mine.
EDITED TO ADD: From the initial comments, I realize I wasn't especially clear. It wasn't *actually* me that people were calling about. There really *was* a woman who had been seen in a couple of back yards, and had actually entered one house. Oh, and I should probably add that I'm somewhat being sarcastic when I say I'm the only person who walks in this neighborhood; there are plenty of dog-walking folks in the mornings and early evenings, and people who walk their kids to and from school, and I hear that the trails at the nearby wildnerness park get a good workout. But I'm definitely one of the few who actually chooses to walk down to the main shopping drag and then back up what is a pretty serious half-mile hill carrying quarts of milk and bottles of beer and pounds of chicken. And I may very well be the only one who regularly not only walks down to the main drag but then heads three or four miles in one direction or another to go to the Goodwill (don't you roll your eyes at me, Jane) or the county library. As my friend Kim once said to me when she ran into me at a store while on her lunch hour and I tried to tell her that the walk wasn't especially onerous, "But this is another town. It's another ZIP CODE! You're insane!" It was on that day that I officially became the Crazy Walking Lady. It's a name I wear with inordinate pride.