Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Walking unsuspiciously with a poodle

If your hike or leisurely stroll goes through a neighborhood that you don't know, are you afraid to pass through or do you bother whether the neighborhood could be afraid of you? I hope not.
Nature always welcomes us, neighborhoods occasionally don't; at least not until we adjust our “locomotional behavior” by, for example, coming along with a poodle. Lucius Beebe tells us an illustrating story from a time when security cameras were still unknown, but neighborhood watch was installed nevertheless:

As is true in Beverly Hills, a closely parallel enclave of privilege, there are no sidewalks in Hillsborough [in San Mateo county south of San Francisco]. A car, preferably Rolls-Royce or Bentley, is the only thinkable means of locomotion and pedestrians, unless walking dogs, are automatically suspect, and usually questioned by the police. Lord Kinross, the literary peer of Punch, was only a few years ago a house guest who, in all innocence, undertook a brisk after-dinner constitutional on Hayne Road. Before he had gone a block, he was apprehended and questioned by the occupants of a squad car. Thereafter, when inclined to exercise, he borrowed a standard poodle from his host and was immune to suspicion.

Lucius Beebe: The Big Spenders, Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10020, 1967; page 73.

No comments: