Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Be careful with that camera!

In which the poor hare pictured above almost lands me in it.

On my way to work, I saw a bunny behind the fence nibbling on grass and looking pretty adorable. I stopped my bike and took a photo. I did notice that there was a police officer in an unmarked SUV stopped nearby, and he seemed to be eyeing me suspiciously. But I thought I was probably imagining it, so I blithely rode east on 100 Avenue, enjoying the sunshine and balmy temperature.

Crossing 149 Street, I entered the Crestwood neighbourhood and rode towards the little bridge that traverses the ravine. Just as I approached the bridge, a marked EPS SUV drove along the road and honked. At me? Surely not, I thought. There was a guy sitting on the bench, possibly loitering, and I thought maybe the honk was intended for him. Anyway, I told myself, if they are after me, they will come around onto Stony Plain road and find me. 

Ha ha ha, right?

Wrong. Next thing I knew, as I was proceeding west on Stony Plain Road, the marked SUV drove across my path, effectively cutting me off. So, of course I stopped. Two brawny EPS constables debarked and one of them said, "Would you mind stepping off your bike?"

(As if I were planning to use the bike as a getaway vehicle, or perhaps a weapon!)

"What's going on?" I asked, as I obeyed his instructions.

"What's your name, Ma'am?"

Remembering my rights, I demurred. "What's this about?" 

"Do you have ID on you?"

"What's going on?"

Finally he coughed up: "We had a report that a female cyclist was taking photos of police vehicles." 

(Um, yes, the rabbit mentioned above was behind a fence at the police station.)

I'm afraid I laughed. "No," I assured him. "I was taking a picture of a rabbit."

"Rabbits are OK," he said and asked me to show him the photo. I complied. "You can go," he said. "Have a good ride."

As I started on my way again, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the police officer I had seen earlier, in the unmarked SUV, was driving alongside. Apparently he had also been in hot pursuit of the female cyclist. 

I've told a few people about this experience, and everyone has the same reaction: 
What the #@$+^ would be wrong with taking photos of police vehicles??  After all, if I had a GoPro mounted on my bike or a dashcam in the car, I might film a few police cars here and there as I went about my business...

A few theories have been proposed: 1) They thought I was Middle Eastern (when I lived in Turkey, I was often mistaken for a Turk) and hired by a certain organization to take photos which would be used for nefarious purposes. 2) They thought I was a nice-looking woman and wanted to check me out. If so, I hope they were really disappointed when they got a close-up view and realized I was probably old enough to be their mom. 3) They are simply not the brightest bulbs in the EPS chandelier.