It was just the beginning of terrorism scares in this country. To whit, shortly after the bombing scare in Atlanta during their Olympics. Abandoned backpacks and such were just getting recognized as a potential point of danger.
I was walking past the front corner of the old location on Wabasha Avenue for the St. Paul Science Museum's main entrance. It moved shortly to a new, bigger location, as it had already spilled over into a second building. That corner held the iconic iguana statue made from welded railroad spikes. (For those not familiar with the museum, the statue was relocated with the museum and is back in pride of place in front of the main door again. Yes, kids still climb on it.)
Memory puts it in the afternoon on a weekday. I was alone, and the combination says that I was working, going from the car to make either a pick-up or a delivery, and back to the car. I know that I passed it twice. The first time by, I noticed a full-looking duffle bag sitting on the corner. Nothing else and nobody were nearby. It was still sitting abandoned the second time I passed.
I decided to turn my suspicions into what had been recently often touted as good-citizen behavior. I dug out my cell phone, finally having gotten one, and called the local police. They were located about two blocks away.
The woman who answered wasn't impressed. I repeated what I had seen and where twice. I guess I thought if she heard why it seemed suspicious twice, it would somehow register. Instead, she started grilling me. Who was I and how did I know it might be dangerous? And what did I want the cops to do about it?
Reminding her that after Atlanta, we were supposed to report suspicious things, that this was what we were told qualified as suspicious, that I had no direct knowledge of what was in the duffle and wasn't about to go try to find out whether it might actually be a bomb or just an abandoned duffle bag of stuff, and I didn't give a shit (uh, not exactly how I said it) what they did with the information, I'd done my duty, and hung up.
Needless to say, I wasn't impressed with her. Considering the total lack of news coverage on it, I have to presume no bomb was inside. I also presume if the same call went the same way these days, somebody would lose her frickin job!
At least I hope so!