On Being Watched
There are certain things that pass through your mind when you learn that you are being watched.
At first you want to hide.
You lock your doors and draw your curtains and turn on all your lights so it appears as though there were an entire army inside, even though really it is just you and your wife and a 2-month old puppy that just learned not to pee on the rug.
Then you think
maybe it would be better if they thought no one was home, so you turn off all the lights and navigate your own home by flashlight.
Then you become angry.
Possibly after stubbing your toe or tripping over the afore-mentioned puppy, who pees on the rug in surprise.
You decide to confront their tinted windows,
to knock on that darkened glass until they roll down their windows, to angrily tell them you don’t know who they are, but you do know they are there. Also, you will tell them that you are tired of it.
Or, if you chicken out, which is likely, you might wave at them next time you see them.
But then you remember they probably have guns, so you think of buying a gun, too, before remembering you have no idea how to use it. Instead you begin to carry a pocket knife, though you can find no rational explanation for how a pocket knife – one that isn’t even Swiss—would save you in a gunfight with the men inside the car that has been sitting—not even trying to hide—outside your home for 3 of the past 7 days.
Still, you reason
a pocket knife Is less conspicuous than a hatchet or lead pipe, and the element of their surprise at being counter-attacked with a non-Swiss pocket knife may give you the slightest of most-needed advantages.
Then you feel desperate.
You have no idea what they want—your truck, your wife, your laptop, your hidden stash of peanut butter—which is expensive here—or your submissively peeing puppy.
You know the police won’t help.
They will wait until it, whatever “it” is, happens, and then they will respond, arriving only after a sufficient amount of time has passed to ensure that whatever “it” is, is over. And then, they will do nothing until they are paid. By you. Assuming you’re still alive.
So you resign yourself, you half-sleep each night,
you breathe deeply each time you do not see that stupid white town car with tinted windows;
even if only for a few hours.
—Peter Joel, Durango, Mexico