Black Road south in Searsport. The Searsport Chief of Police came to my home to inform me he had three complaints about my sitting in a car on the Black Road.
He said it was, “strange and you are making people nervous.”
Well, every town has its peculiar characters and I guess now I’m one.
If my beard was a longer white, then my 68-year-old, 5-foot 3-inch chubby frame would look more like Santa then Jack the Ripper.
Perceptions as with first impressions form our initial reactions, and apparently I resemble the dirty old man more than the jolly fat guy.
So why am I sitting on your road?
I could say, being a town road I have every right to do so.
While, true, it explains nothing and immediately produces an adversarial response.
The fact is, people enjoy having a spot where one can sit in the sun, read the newspaper or book, see an occasional deer, hear no traffic, put the seat back, listen to an audio book, or just relax, leaving life behind if only for a short time.
And being very close to my home explains only part of my “strange” behavior.
Once, I would toss on a backpack hiking the proverbial hill and dale for days on end.
I climbed trees as an arborist and spent hundreds of hours in the woods for timber stand improvement and wildlife habitat development. But as a result of all that I can no longer walk.
A stroll in the woods now would result in me crawling out or becoming kibble for the woodland critters.
So now my little car does the walking.
Sitting at the town wharf or Sears Island causeway is OK but sometimes I just want to be surrounded by trees in a place I feel secure in closing my eyes for a doze in the sun.
We all have false perceptions. Perhaps that is part of our problem in today’s world.
So if you see me about town, oddly sitting somewhere, I promise there are no meat cleavers in my back seat and it's been years since I’ve eaten small children.
Stop and say hi. Who knows, maybe we might be surprised, and just possibly, make a few new friendships.
Michael Vallier lives in Searsport