Yesterday I was out for a walk when I came upon a fire truck parked by the curb. There was clearly no emergency; the truck wasn’t running and there were no flashing lights. So naturally I watched for firemen as I got closer. After all, what red-blooded woman wouldn’t take advantage of a gratuitous gawk?
Just as I came abreast of the truck, the firemen returned from a nearby shop: Four tall handsome guys in crisp navy-blue uniforms. They smiled at me. One even said hi.
My heart should have gone ‘pit-a-pat’, right?
My heart went ‘thud’, my gaze skittered guiltily to the ground, and I couldn’t even choke out a ‘hi’ in return before I rushed away, hoping my brisk stride telegraphed ‘I’m in a hurry to take care of some very important business’ and not ‘I just committed a crime and I’m fleeing the scene’.
It was the damn uniforms that got me. If they’d been in their fire-fighting gear, my biggest worry would have been hiding the drool on my chin. But I have such severe issues with uniformed authority figures that even Customs border guards and rent-a-cops give me the willies.
The mere sight of a police car makes my palms sweat and my pulse pound. Uniformed officers by the side of the road? Massive adrenaline spike. And I absolutely hate it when a police car follows me in traffic. I’m ten times more likely to commit a traffic infraction just out of sheer nervousness. I was driving home one night when I spotted two guys in reflective vests beside the road, and I nearly stroked out before I realized they were just city workers dealing with a blocked storm drain.
It’s a silly reaction, and I know better. I have friends who are police officers. They’re nice guys. They don’t loom over me waiting for me to break the law.
I have no idea why police uniforms freak me out. I’m the most law-abiding person I know. I drive as close to the speed limit as humanly possible (which, in Calgary, makes me the slowest thing on the road). If I get incorrect change or find an extra deposit in my bank account, I return the money immediately. Hell, once I found a $20 bill blowing around a mall parking lot, and I dropped it off at the Lost and Found. What a chump!
But apparently I have a massive guilt complex.
Maybe the roots lie in the sponge toffee trauma I suffered in childhood, or maybe it’s because I spend quite a bit of my time planning crimes for my novels so I have a knee-jerk ‘uh-oh’ reaction to police. Heaven help me if anybody ever develops a machine that can sense a person’s feelings of guilt. I’ll end up in jail for crimes I didn’t even know existed.
Still, I feel badly about snubbing those nice firemen. Maybe I should bake some cookies and drop them off at the local firehall to apologize.
But they might have a uniformed guy at the front desk…
Do you think they’d find it odd if I left a bag of cookies outside the door and called it in from an untraceable phone?
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P.S. My best friend from university days is visiting me this week, so I’ll be slower to respond to comments than usual. Your comments mean a lot to me, though, and I’ll look forward to ‘talking’ to you as soon as I get a chance. :-)
P.P.S. Another new cover is ready! Here’s Book 7: