04 August, 2010

A Confession

that I am free!

I glanced out the window at around 12:30 and noticed a fog in the distant glow of a streetlight. The mood struck me and I decided it would be a great opportunity to take a video of me walking nude in the fog, under a streetlight. I knew exactly which streetlight to use - one close by, with a relative amount of privacy as it is situated on a hill, between properties that are facing away from it.

The question was, what to wear. The video would be nude, but should I go nude all the way? I decided against that surprisingly quickly, considering that my usual instinct would be to go for it. I don't know what it was, but I felt like for this objective it would be best to wear something I could slip in and out of very quickly, so as to protect me during the time I wasn't shooting the video, in case I were to stumble upon somebody in the night.

I thought about using my sarong, which would cover me just as much as I needed, and be easy to slip out of (and relatively easy to slip back on), but I had just tossed it in the wash (which, on second thought, it didn't really need). So I had to choose something else. It had to be one piece, it had to cover my genitals, and it had to be easy to get off and put back on - that last condition eliminated most of the dresses I have. I thought about wearing the pink tiered skirt, which was, practically speaking, the perfect thing, but I figured if I was seen wearing that, I'd have just as much to explain as if I was nude.

Discretion was the key here, so I just slipped on my shorts, which turned out to be the perfect thing - easy to get in and out of, covered just what needed to be covered, and normal enough that nobody would get suspicious. And as a bonus - it had pockets! I slipped my video recorder into one of them and went out.

The temperature was comfortable, the air was very humid, accentuated by the fog. The ground was slightly damp from earlier rains (more so in the grass, which I didn't do much walking in). I thought I heard a noise before I left the property, but I shrugged it off. It was dark, and it seemed as though noone was about - perfect. Cresting the hill, I lamented that one or two of the houses had their house lights on even at this hour (I left at around 1:30). But I remembered back to an earlier night and reassured myself that lights on doesn't necessarily mean anyone's paying attention.

Coming down the other side of the hill, close to the lit yards, I noticed a growing light behind me - clearly a car creeping up the opposite side of the hill, coming towards me (I have a suspicion that it was waiting with its lights off for me to come out for a walk, but hopefully that's just my paranoia talking). The only thing I did then was switch the video recorder from a back pocket to a front one, because the mini tripod it was attached to was sticking out the top, and I didn't want anything about me to look suspicious. So I kept walking and when the car passed me, I saw that it was a cop car. Eep. But it kept going. Until it got to the intersection ahead of me (very close to the streetlight I was headed for), where it turned around and came back up the street towards me. As it was making the U-turn, I quickly and surreptitiously unscrewed the mini tripod that was now sticking out of my front pocket and pushed it further in, so it couldn't be seen.

The car (it was actually one of those SUVs) stopped shortly ahead of me. I kept walking, into its headlights. The cop got out as I approached and asked me how I was doing. I stopped, and in a cheerful voice I said, "fine". He told me the reason he stopped me was because, in addition to walking the streets at a quarter to two in the morning (not illegal!), he saw that I had no shoes on (I wonder what the chances are that he really thought I was a topless woman, seeing me from behind). I looked down at my feet and said with a grin, "I like going barefoot." [Which is an acceptable argument and yet is only a step away from "I like going nude"]. He asked me where I lived and I told him just down the street. He confirmed the name of the street we were on, but didn't pry further. To show my appreciation for the atmosphere of the night (or, in other words, to give myself a harmless motive), I mentioned how cool the mist looked. He said, "yeah, it's like that every night." As if I don't live just down the street and know what it's like each night. Besides, it's clearly not this misty every night, because the mistiness in particular, brought me out of the house... But hey, he's apparently on the night patrol, he must know better than I do. [The only reason I'm bitter about this is because I feel like I am compelled to agree with the cop - in order to stay on his good side - even if I disagree. That's not to say that we couldn't possibly have a friendly argument, but why take my chances, you know?]

Anywho, as it seemed that there was nothing untoward going on, the cop let me know, casually, that I was free to go about my business. In order to keep up the friendly atmosphere, I said "groovy" before walking away, just as casually as before. Of course, he probably thinks I'm a stoner since I said "groovy". No matter, he drove on, and I was alone again. I got to the intersection, went down the hill, waited to see the cop come around the lower parallel street and go on his way, then proceeded to take my shorts off and record the video under the streetlight that I had come out to record. I got it, I put my shorts back on, and then I walked back home without further incident.

Now, some questions come up about this whole scenario. I had heard from my brother, who takes a lot of night walks on his days off, that he'd been stopped by cops a number of times recently. On the one hand, this allays my paranoia that maybe some neighbors are getting smart to my naked walks, and are in collusion with the local cops to catch me in the act (thank god I wore shorts tonight) and/or scare me straight (you can't scare me with this gestapo crap). On the other hand, I don't like the idea that cops think their job is to "investigate suspicious activity". If I want to walk down the street in a pair of shorts, barefoot, in the middle of the night, I can do it, and I shouldn't expect to be hassled by cops. I should be able to do it nude, too, but let's stick to current laws, as idiotic as they may be. You might not get served at some establishments if you're barefoot (not to mention shirtless), but lucky for me, "exposing one's feet in public" - even where "public" includes no other person but the police officer - is not (yet) illegal.

I understand how easy it is to think that this is a natural extension of the desire to "keep the peace", but what it really is, is "keeping the conformity". If somebody behaves in an unusual way, they are necessarily suspicious. This should not be enough reason for cops to hassle a person, but it often is. I don't think police officers should be allowed independent action, personally. That is, they shouldn't be allowed to investigate anything unless a non-PO citizen has reported a concern (unless a crime is unambiguously in progress, I suppose). And even then, common sense should prevail (which would prevent unscrupulous citizens from unfairly harrassing people they don't like, especially for reasons of nonconformity). The PO has an equal responsibility to protect my freedom to act suspiciously (e.g., not conform) as he has to alleviate complaints by citizens who are offended by another person's nonconformity.

Ultimately, the cop was very friendly and let me do my thing, and I'm grateful for that, but I still feel that this terror-mongering technique - in essence, a constant patrol going around just to let you know that "we're watching you" - is not acceptable in a free society. I don't feel like, even with my rights, that I'm on an equal level with the cops. I feel like they are above me, wield power over me, and take advantage of that intimidation factor. Maybe this is partly self-inflicted, considering that I have so many non-standard interests, some of which skirt the lines of the law - but this is only because the current state of our society has inherited a moral backbone that outlaws certain activities that are not harmful to anyone, but merely "offensive", even when it is not intended to be so.

As a final note, when I started writing this, I felt like I couldn't possibly post it, because it would be an admission of my true motives, and posting it would be public, and what if the PO happened upon it (as rare as that would be, it'd be irresponsible of me not to accept that possibility)? But at this point, I'm thinking: I'm not harming anyone. I have no intention of harming anyone. If you want to know my true motives - good. Legal or not, "decent" or not, at least it's clear that I am not a menace to anyone (society doesn't count as a person). If walking the street at night naked, even when making reasonable precautions to avoid being seen, and thus offending others, is unambiguously illegal and cannot be tolerated, say it to my face. Whoever's got a problem with it, I'd like to hear it from you personally. If there are neighbors who are bothered by my nonconformity (this is my paranoia coming back into play), try talking with me about it, instead of telling the cops to intervene for you. I'm not gonna hurt you or anyone else. You're just afraid that I may have a point. That I do have freedom - just as much as you. You want to take advantage of scare tactics to get me to stop doing things that may not be illegal or harmful, but offend you and your sensitive conservative values.

Let me say this: America is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. I was walking down the street the other day (a completely unrelated walk), thinking about how brave some of the things I do are. And I consider myself to be an anxiety-ridden coward. But I will stand up for the things I truly believe in, and I'll march straight into the gates of hell if I have to, just to preserve my values. I am brave, and I won't back down, no matter how much terrorism you subject me to. And if someday you manage to find a dishonest way to strip away my freedom, I will still remain free. In my heart, in my mind, and in my spirit. You cannot defeat my strength of will. And if torturing me satisfies your twisted ego, then I feel sorry for you. I really do. Because it doesn't have to be that way. You can be free, too. And I'm willing to show you the way. My goal is not harm or offense of any kind but eternal, unbounded love for all.


  1. Congrats! That encounter probably would have ruined my whole night, and the next day after that, and the following day. I especially wouldn't have done the deed after already being stopped, considering how the last guy to hassle me circled the streeta bunch of times to keep his eyes on me. I bet he WAS waiting for you (or perhaps even me).

    These nosey pigs know that they've got no good reason to interfere with our friendly little walks. Honest to goodness, it wouldn't enrage me so much if they would have the basic courtesy to wait for me to get more than 5 houses past the home I've lived in for some 21 years. They make me feel unwelcome in the place I consider to be my home.

    I concur vehemently and adamantly with everything you say about consensual crimes. A society which objects to these "crimes" is immoral, unjust, immature and lacking in intellect. However, the United States isn't a bad place to be. There are entire continents where people like you and me would have far worse done to us. Nosey pigs can try to circumvent the law or instill terror or what-have-you, but the law is still protecting us.

    The thing I like about the US is that there are laws to protect not just the wrongfully accused, but even people who are breaking the law, because the law itself is not infallible. For example a cop can give you a light search to make sure you are not armed, but if he feels illegal items in your pockets that aren't weapons, he has no recourse to retrieve them from you.

  2. Freedom is having the courage to break the laws you do not agree with.