Just Joshin’

A look at the world through my eyes. Well, just part of the world.

Josh Perlman
Josh Perlman. Hatchet File Photo

I haven’t had many run-ins with University Police, apart from the occasional Thurston dorm party bust.

Maybe that’s why I felt so nervous when a UPD officer chose to follow me down the street for two or three blocks.

I was just minding my own business, meandering my way to package services – to pick up a care package I sent myself – when an officer in uniform darted onto the sidewalk from across the street and began walking behind me.

I thought for sure he would have the sense to swerve around and leave me in peace, but he didn’t budge. His fast walk behind me forced me to quicken my own pace, which inevitably evolved into a nervous speed-walk.

Questions clouded my judgment as I began to wonder if I had done something wrong. Was I speeding? Did I forget to use a hand signal when I turned the corner? Maybe I unknowingly adjusted myself in between strides and offended him with my lack of discretion.

My attempts to hint to the officer that I felt uncomfortable failed epically. I would occasionally sneak a casual glance to my left, hoping to draw his attention to the open space at my side that was undeniably ideal for passing me by.

The longer the officer stayed behind me, the more I felt this was some kind of sick joke. Is this what UPD officers do when they’re not judging people at the lost and found for being drunk sluts and losing their wallets?

I was reminded of the shame I felt after being pulled over by a cop in my hometown for running a stop sign on the third day of having my license.

“You’re a new driver?” he asked, as my friend in the passenger’s seat struggled to contain her laughter at my failure to turn off the Jesse McCartney song that was blasting on the radio before rolling down my window.

As I continued walking with my face forward, I considered whipping my body around and scolding the officer for his poor manners.

“Will you stop?” I wanted to say. “Is this normal where you grew up?”

Before I could bring this genius plan to fruition, I was free of the officer’s mind games. I stopped at a corner to cross the street and he kept on walking on his original path.

Maybe his whole charade was a tactical move they teach people at the University Police Academy: “Walk freakishly close behind students in order to assert dominance and instill fear in the population.”

Whatever his reasoning was, I look forward to the day I spot that same officer on campus and can give him a taste of his own medicine.

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