I have a neighbor that thinks I'm crazy, due to two incidents in which he may have viewed my actions completely out of context and the fact that I come from a long line of women endowed with an element of ridiculousness.
Incident #1: I'm sitting on the porch of my apartment at 1 AM reading a book and enjoying an adult beverage, when I see out of the corner of my eye an unidentified shiny object moving slowly near the next alcove over. I try to ignore the object, telling myself it is of no consequence to me, but as a person with a confirmed overactive imagination, I begin the inevitable process of envisioning the myriad of things this object could be. I imagine scenarios in which it is an alien, a robot, and an animal in distress, among other things. I take my dog out, so I can get a better look from afar, and my sweet puppy sees the unidentified object and barks at it. Completely discarding the fact my dog barks at empty boxes and bags, I took this as a sign that I absolutely must investigate further. After all, it is shiny and I'm pretty much always attracted to and distracted by shiny things. What if this object presents a hazard to myself and those around, and I am the lone person who can prevent calamity? One can simply not sit idly by during a situation as daunting as this, so I conclude action must be taken.
As a paramedic, I know safety is imperative, so I opt to take the proper precautions. To my lovely ensemble of my red terrycloth bathrobe and messy hair, I add combat boots and my headlight (I know I look like a ridiculous miner with a bright light strapped to my forehead, but I don't care. That shit is useful, and no one can convince me otherwise. I acquired this headlight after making fun of my mom for wearing hers, then discovering the joys of hands free light sources. I'm well on my way to starting a headlight revolution.). I begin my stake out by approaching the alcove from the front of the building and skulking my way to the back toward the object in question.
A neighbor, obviously immune to my stealthy approach, opens his door and gives me a look that can only be interpreted as a combination of fear and incredulousness. This is a look I have come to call the "I better not get too close to my crazy neighbor" look. I make a poor attempt in a hushed voice enlighten my neighbor to the situation at hand, as I realize the more I tell him while decked out in my bathrobe, combat boots, and headlight, only serves to make me appear mentally unstable. He slowly shuts the door to his apartment, watching me with a dubious look throughout. None of the heroic scenarios I'd imagined included any question of my sanity, but I discard the brief encounter and continue my investigation.
Once I approach the object, I discover a largely deflated and dying green helium balloon low to the ground and blowing gently in the wind. Crisis averted, I retreat to my apartment with a touch of chagrin, laughing at myself.
Incident #2: A few weeks later, following an evening out with friends, I come home to settle into my usual spot on my porch at 1 AM, book in hand. I look to the right of my favorite antigravity chair and see what appears to be a baby snake right beside me. It is so small, I have to get a closer look to make sure it isn't a worm. I grew up in a rural enough area to know the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, and this appears to be a pretty generic black snake. Black snakes do a lot of good at keeping disease ridden rodents at bay, and my compassionate nature prevents me from having any desire to kill this snake, but I do want it off my patio. I come up with a plan to sweep the snake into a dust pan and flip it into the nearby woods.
Safety in mind, I prepare for my mission. I'm wearing jeans and a tank top, which will suffice, but I add my combat boots, tactical gloves, and my headlight. I arm myself with a broom in one hand, and a dust pan in the other. I rearrange my patio furniture for better access, and I position myself in a crouch so I can slowly approach the reptile while scaring it as little as possible. While I'm crouched and ready for action, my aforementioned neighbor has apparently taken this moment to walk his dog behind the apartment complex, giving himself a direct view of what he must believe is his crazy neighbor, while the snake is conveniently hidden behind a blue bin that I use as an outdoor table. I briefly consider my options, and I decide that I don't have much to gain since he already thinks I'm insane and alerting him to the presence of the snake may only serve to freak him out more. I opt to stay as still as possible, thinking maybe he won't notice me crouched, armed, with a bright halogen light strapped to my forehead if I don't move. (Yeah, like a dinosaur. We can't all be geniuses while thinking on our feet.) Suffice it to say he not only noticed me, but completely altered his path, turning about face and walking his dog in the other direction altogether. I freed the snake without any complications or encounters with the momma snake that can't possibly be terribly far.
I decide I probably shouldn't inform my neighbor that I'm tasked with saving lives on a daily basis, which turns out not to be an issue, because whenever I see him when we are both walking our dogs, he crosses the parking lot or goes in another direction. I've opted to play it up instead, waving and giving him my best crazy eyes and big smile look at every opportunity.