Monday, February 06, 2006

Gangsta geocaching



Welcome everyone who checked out my likeness of a guy named Mohammed. You set a new attendance record yesterday, and on a Sunday at that! Too bad most of you won't be interested in the kind of stuff I usually write about. Maybe I should take more interest in current events.

I promised I'd tell you a geocaching story. When geocachers muck around in parks, on vacant lots and around scenic spots, most muggles don't know (and probably wouldn't believe) that these people are actually trying to find tupperware boxes containg marbles and freebie key rings. Many muggles appear to think that the cachers must in fact be looking for drugs, for gay sex, or for a discreet way to break into a nearby house.

In the very early hours of Boxing Day last year, three cachers decided to go look for a cache hidden at the centre of a roundabout outside the small town of Skövde in southern Sweden. They did this while on a caching expedition lasting several hours, and by the time they reached the roundabout it was three o'clock in the morning.

Our intrepid three parked their car in the empty lot of a car dealership and went on foot over to the roundabout. Being law-abiding citizens, they didn't pay much attention to the security people patrolling the place. But the security became really nervous. "What are they doing? Drugs, gay sex, burglary?" While the cachers were looking for their plastic box on the roundabout, security stalked them for a while and then breathlessly called the police.

The first police car to arrive belonged to the local, small-town unit. The cops were nervous too. Nervous enough that they went into full Dirty Harry mode. They arrived just as our friends were back in their car and leaving. Two police officers shot out of the patrol car like mustard-anointed cats, undoing the safety catches of their guns and aiming them at our friends, ordering them to stay in their car with their hands visible. (I should perhaps explain to any US readers that in Sweden, when a police officer draws a gun, it's pretty much front page news.)

Now comes my favourite bit. Our friends have to explain really quickly to the jittery police why they're cruising around the industrial outskirts of Skövde in the middle of the night. "Drugs?! Gay sex!? Burglary!?" Do they perhaps ask the police officers if they have ever heard of geocaching? Surely they show the cache to the police by way of explanation?

No, they don't, actually. They tell the police that they are roundabout fanciers. They explain that the Mariesjö roundabout is famed for its beauty and unusual decorations, a must-see for anyone with a serious interest in such things. And since they happened to be passing by...

And the cops actually bought that! The roundabout fancier story even made the regional news. And everyone lived happily (more or less) for various periods of time.

[This is my take on a story originally told here. More blog entries about , , , ; , , , .]

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