My Floridian friends think I am somewhat “paranoid” when I tell this story but paranoia can be a cultural artifact. Unless your personality leaves you unable to go out and shop for groceries it’s too strong a word. I think some people are more relaxed and less neurotic than others. Some of us, after all, are new to the suburban splendor.
Here goes: one day recently, driving home from work I was waiting in a slot in the center of the main boulevard. If I can cross the three lanes of Southbound traffic there I don’t have to wait for the light a block farther, which is actually the street my small house is on. Once I am across I just make up the block on any residential street in the neighborhood.
While I waited to make the jump across Southbound traffic I noted the car waiting in the slot behind me is, coincidentally, the same one that has been behind me in traffic for a long time, ten miles at least.
After crossing into my neighborhood I let a few streets go by, pick one and turn right. Any of these small residential streets will take me to the road I live on. Now my attention is in my mirror again because that same car has turned with me and is still on my tail. It is a 1990’s green domestic 2-door with one male occupant.
I can understand that a more relaxed person would not be bothered in this situation but when I get to my street I decide to head away from home and turn right. My tail turns with me.
We have turned completely around now. It occurred to me that if this were a surveillance it is being done badly. Too close and too conspicuous: this is no kind of cop. Briefly, I thought of driving to a police station but there is none.
After thinking for half a block I take the first left into another small residential street and the car turns with me.
I take the first right into another minor street, stop in front of a house with a realtor’s sign and wait, trying to come up with a plan. I have no weapons.
The car does not appear. I reverse to the last turn and look down the block in time to see the green car parked in a drive, the man keying his way into a house there.
How could that be your route home? Half a block past your house and four turns to get there. Look what could have happened to you. I drove around for a while and went home