For a year, Sharon and I lived in what used to be an elementary school in a small town in the Czech Republic. It was an amazingly spacious place by Eastern European standards. We had three classrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom whose door opened up directly toward the front door. I may have mentioned that door before.
One summer night, sometime around 2 AM, two local Czech police officers came through the window into the classroom I was using as my bedroom. They surprised me, I surprised them, it was all very Scooby-Doo-esque except two of us had guns and one of us was naked and hadn't yet studied the chapter on what to say to the police in your bedroom in my Czech-English phrasebook.
There was never any explanation of the event. After a few minutes of tense shouting on their part and frightened Czech words on my part, the officers left the way they came, through the window, and I put on all my clothes and went back to sleep never ever again.
Last night there was a meteor shower. The Geminids were passing by the Earth and, with no moon, the view was supposed to be excellent. The shower was to peak between 1 and 3 AM, and I set my alarm for 2, thinking that if I went out and saw anything worthwhile, I'd wake up the rest of the family. There's a big open field down the street from my house, and I headed there, wearing my boots, pajamas, and the first winter hat I found, an Oscar the Grouch hat that will probably no longer fit any of my daughters.
I saw nothing in the park. The lights from Manhattan clouded half of the sky, and the lights from my neighborhood the other half. Before I headed inside, though, I thought I'd check the view from my backyard, in case the nearby houses could dampen the radiant light.
You know where I'm going with this, don't you? While I don't know what I did in the Czech Republic to invite the unwarranted police attention, I know exactly what I did here. I walked from a dark park, down a dark street, and into my dark backyard at 2 o'clock in the morning.
Though I hope to not make a habit of these types of interactions, I will say they go much, much smoother when everyone speaks the same language and nobody is naked. To the officer's credit, he never once mentioned the Oscar hat.