I was caching away, by Autzen Stadium, when I came across a black rag hanging from a tree. I've seen lots of discarded junk in my last few months as a geocacher, so I did little except to take note. As I headed deeper into the underbrush, I came across a notebook, full of poems and lists and plans. That sat a little more uneasily with me. A few moments later, when moving a stick to inspect the location that my GPS had settled on, I spotted a pair of women's underwear snagged on a limb. With all of the other nearby things that had raised flags in my head, I felt that I had better at least call and let the Eugene Police know about the combination.
I called the non-emergency line and the gentleman who answered was actually pretty concerned. He said he'd send out a squad car and asked me to call 911 so that he could track my location. I obliged. My phone threw itself into Emergency Mode and started buzzing away. The operator tracked me to within 20 feet ("Are you about 50 feet from the river? 20 feet east of the bike path?") An hour later, the trooper showed up. The 40-something cop sauntered over and looked at the peice of fabric that was waving in the wind. "Mmm hmm, that's a do-rag." He said. Then he had me point out the notebook. He barely took a second look before asking me to point out the woman's underwear. I led him deep into the shrubbery, covered with trees and blackberries. Arriving at the location, he pulled some gloves from his pocket and put them on. He picked up the underwear and inspected them. "I don't see any blood, " He said. "but there's definitely some wear and tear." He then placed the underwear back on the tree in almost (not really even close to) the place they had been before...as if he thought it should be perfectly reasonable that their owner would come back and say "Ah, here they are! Just where I left them."
As we headed out of the bushes, the officer stopped at the notebook, this time picking it up and turning through the pages. A few pages in, he began to read aloud. The poems were crude at best. There were lists of what this person intended to do in a given day, and poems about what he wanted to do - all piled on top of a paper instructing a mandatory drug course at LCC. The policman must have stood there for 10 minutes, reading these bits of R to X rated lyrics and poems aloud to me. After a few minutes, I took a slice* and realized that I was standing in the bushes with a policeman who was reading me poems about wanting to give it to me all night long. It had to be one of the strangest moments in the last week or two!
After he was done reading, he offered me the notebook. "Want to take this home?" "No thanks," I said. "You can keep it and share it with the missus." He responded, "Would if I had one." The officer shrugged and got back in his squad car. "Thanks for calling that in." He said, and drove off.
As I walked away, I reflected back on what had just happened. I wasn't sure that there was any reason for alarm in the first place, but something just sat uneasily with me. Apparently, he didn't have the same feeling. Ah well, it was an interesting way to spend the afternoon, anyway.
* Taking a slice is something I like to do occasionally. I will sometimes just take myself out of context and realize how cool it is that I am in a specific place at a specific time, ignoring all of the logical things that brought me there. It makes special moments infinitely more spectacular.
Example: "Wow, I'm on top of the Great Wall of China!"
"I'm in a restroom in Kirkland at 5 in the morning."
"I just climbed under barbed wire and now I'm alone in the middle of a forest."