I knew it would happen sooner or later.
Someone noticed me walking home from the gym, and considered me suspicious. Shortly after arriving home, I get a notice via Nextdoor:
My husband left for work around 5:45am this morning and saw a man walking with a flashlight on [the street], which isn’t strange except for the fact that he turned his flashlight off as soon as my husband turned onto [the street].
The only description he could get is male wearing athletic shorts and tennis shoes.
My husband said he seemed out of place.
Could be nothing but wanted to pass it on
That was me. I posted a response acknowledging myself and why I did what I did. That I use a flashlight because 1. I want to see (it’s dark out!), 2. I want others to see me, especially cars – and it worked, since her husband saw me. That I don’t keep my flashlight on constantly because there’s no need to: 1. there are streetlights and they do a decent enough job, but sometimes there are dark patches and that’s when I use the flashlight, 2. if it’s about car visibility, once the car passes me the visibility is no longer needed.
All in all, no harm no foul. I even thanked her and her husband for doing what they did! They are looking out, caring about their neighbors and neighborhood. I am thankful to have such neighbors.
So what’s the lesson?
Consider how things you do that you consider normal may be considered suspicious by others.
When you walk into a room/building, do you find yourself pausing and surveying the room? You’re probably trying to get the lay of the land, look for alternative exits, and so on. But how might your actions be perceived by others? That maybe you’re “scoping the place out”?
It doesn’t matter that you know you’re doing good, that you’re harmless, etc.. What matters is their perceptions. And how might your seemingly innocent “sheepdog” “good guy” behaviors be (mis)construed by others.
Just give it some thought. (Re)think your actions. See how you can improve.