I don't normally work nights but every once in awhile my night cashier has some time off coming to him and he's currently on vacation. So lately I'm working more nights than usual.
Enter the Thursday Night Death Shift.
There's something about Thursdays. Not sure if people gets antsy on Thursdays waiting for the weekend, or if there are more full moons on Thursdays. But Thursdays are weirder than other days of the week.
Tonight's episode of the TNDS actually takes place after closing. I've just locked up the store for the night. Usually on the way out I carry a trash bag from inside, toss it into the dumpster and then head over to my car to leave, and this night is no exception. Tonight I've parked on the opposite side of the parking lot from the dumpster, so I'm walking across the length of the property.
As I do this, I notice, idling in the convenience store across the street, a state police cruiser. It suddenly shuts it's lights off and pulls out of that lot. For some reason, I don't really think much of this.
As I'm about to pull out and head home, however, this same cruiser comes careening into our lot and literally blocks me from exiting.
"What are you doing?" he asks.
"Umm, heading home." I say.
"What are you doing here?"
"I work here."
I have business cards in the store that I could give him that would prove I work here, but that would mean I have to unlock the doors, which would set off the alarm system for an early open alarm, which would be counterproductive and bring more police to the scene. Also, I'm in my work clothes. I feel like my attire should be a dead giveaway that I work here. Also, I've been doing things (locking doors, taking out trash, heading to my car which has been parked here for hours), that I feel should be dead giveaways that I work here.
"You just closing up the store?"
"OK, just making sure." He drives off.
I realize he's just doing his job, and there have certainly been times in history when a lack of hypervigilance on the part of law enforcement has proven costly.
But man, I somehow don't think I could have acted like I belonged here any more. I walked across the parking lot, in uniform, with a purpose that strongly indicates I belong here, walked back across the parking lot like, "Hey everybody! Look at me! It's almost midnight and I'm strolling around casually. Nothing to hide here!"
I guess acting like you belong somewhere that you truly belong at that moment in time makes people suspect the criminal element in you.