We had another eventful weekend. Watched The Martian Friday night at the ten o'clock show. My review of the film? I was awake the entire time. As always, we stayed for the credits. There's a nice extra bit of musical humor there. Then, at the very very end, when it occurs to you that you just saw an appalling amount of money spread out for your entertainment, it pops up with a final message about how many jobs the movie created ... as if it read your mind.
Because the only thing we did Saturday was cash in a two-for-one coupon at McDonald's, we decided to lay on the fun Sunday and try geocaching. I believe Silk wrote about doing that with her granddaughter. It's like a computer-assisted treasure hunt.
The geocaching app said there was a cache near the Katy Trail, and we were headed there anyway for a walk. It was in the parking lot of the Family Arena, down by the river. The lot was empty, because no second-place American Idol contestant was performing Sunday afternoon.
The GPS led us to a spit off the lot with nothing in it but a light standard. "Hmph," I thought, "The cache is obviously hidden in the light standard. We picked the easiest level: I guess they meant it."
Then we looked a little more closely at the abutment. It was infested with spiders.
The cement was disintegrating, and every pockmark had a daddy long-legs tucked up in there. I made the typical old-person remark: "They just built this arena," because of course I remember when they built it and it was yesterday, damnit. Just like last weekend, when we visited Union Station downtown and discovered that whole entertainment complex is slated for destruction, yes, the one they just built thirty years ago.
Anyway, I peered at the daddy long-legs. The geocache was described as small, and I wondered if maybe I'd have to evict a spider and dig out a micocapsule. There didn't seem to be anywhere by the light standard to hide something. Gary was working up the nerve to scale the pole or to unscrew the screws, when we noticed:
The thing we were going to unscrew lifted right up.
And there was our cache in the upside down blue pill bottle. It wasn't a real cache with trinkets, just a log we could sign. I still had a sense of accomplishment. It was kind of like playing a video game, where you click around and find some power-up, only it was a pill bottle with a tattered list of names.
We could have used a power-up, given what happened after that.
We left our car in the lot and headed for the Katy Trail by the river. We started down a foot path to get close to the river, until we saw the blankets some campers had left behind. Then it occurred to us the campers might still be there. We turned back to find a policeman by our car.
Gary immediately pled guilty. "We aren't supposed to be park here, are we." Mind you, the lot was utterly deserted.
"No, it's fine." the officer said, "I'm here because someone reported gunfire here about five minutes ago."
My turn to confess. "We lifted up that metal part of the light standard. That might have made a banging sound."
"No, if there was gunfire you couldn't miss it."
"There are some blankets down by the river," I said, rolling over on the blanket people. "They might have heard it."
"Probably homeless people," he said, dismissively. "Thanks, folks."
I think we made it around one bend, about one hundred yards, before Gary aborted the walk. You'd think we were under fire, as antsy as he got. I didn't help when I pointed out that we were both wearing hoodies.
When we got back from our one hundred yard walk there were already three police cars in the lot. Before we drove off, Gary took a bag of jam that had been rolling on the car floor and put it in the trunk.
When he got back in the car he said, "Oh God, they just saw me put something in the trunk. Like that's not suspicious."
The troubling thing, or some might say the encouraging thing, or some might say the obvious thing, is that if this all had happened five years ago I'd assume the officers were probably joining up to give some hot cocoa to the homeless down by the river. That's not my assumption any more. This year I know that if Gary and I were brown people in hoodies wandering around destroying light standards in the vicinity of gunfire, well, we'd be detained for questioning.
Things change. Or do our perceptions of them change?