I am relaxing after work, sipping a cup of coffee and watching a mindless TV show - Cops. Soon I hear a siren. "Wow, that sounds so real" I say to no one. It gets louder and I realize it is real. There is a cop car in front of my house just sitting there with his/her siren going. In fact there are cop cars at every intersection as far as I can see, and others racing up and down the roads. I think of Marshall Dillon and Festus on horseback, kicking up dust in Dodge looking for Johnny Ringo. I grab my iPhone, turn on my scanner app, and listen to the drama unfold. Of course I pause Cops.
Apparently some medium complexion dude in a red sweatshirt and red shorts is running through my neighborhood with a gun, likely he has just been involved in a shooting. The cops get a tip from someone and descend on a house exactly one block over. Got em! Wait, I just saw this on Cops!
What is crazy about this whole scene isn't the gunman or the cops, it is the two little girls a few doors down, playing on the sidewalk. They don't even look up at the cops racing around the neighborhood, or pay any attention to the sirens. They just keep playing. Obviously the mother isn't paying any attention either. She lets them stay out on the sidewalk, totally exposed to whoever is running loose with a firearm.
The neighbors two doors past the children are out on the swing and in their lawn chairs, drinking coffee. An armed criminal is running around the neighborhood and no one seems to care. Now granted I have a scanner, I know what is happening. But still. Even if I didn't, common sense would tell me to get my children indoors, and my own ass, and lock the door. I am a country girl. I am not comfortable with any of this and I hope I never get comfortable with any of this.
I have been watching Cops lately to learn about some of my neighbors. I see these characters walking up and down my street every day. Every year is different here on Indiana Avenue. A few years ago it was gangs. They left the same year. Then it was pretty peaceful for the next several years. But this one, well, let's just say it is one for the record books. An ex con walks his baby up and down the middle of the street several times a day. He is nice but I have seen some of those tattoos on Lock Up Raw. Then there's the three guys that love to race up and down the street on minibikes, all day long on the weekends. I heard one crying last Saturday morning, he is pushing his battered bike up the sidewalk out of the park, right next to my house. Crashed. "Dog no!" he keeps moaning. Oh, and of course let's not forget my crazy, abusive neighbor. Who knows what he will do on any given day. Right now? Straw bales stacked 10 feet high so he can climb on his roof. Straw bales that are now decomposing.
Then there are the renters next to him, one guy named Matt staggers over with an almost empty wine bottle, plops down on one of my straw garden bales, and proceeds to talk non-stop about how he used to manage a substance abuse residential treatment center. Really. My friends Sylvia, Lyle (a minister), and I are peacefully trying to make maple sugar and enjoy the night. But wait there's more! Before Matt comes over, a coworker and his son stop by to drop off some logs. I show him around my home, they want to shell some corn with my old 1800's corn grinder, so I let them. In the midst of their joy, bang bang bang someone starts shooting a gun in the park behind my house. I am embarrassed and feel trapped. I can't get out of the city.
Before long, Matt wanders over to me and says "I have a question for you. I have to relieve myself, your know, urine? I didn't just want to, you know, well I don't know all of you very well so I thought I'd ask...". Ask what? Can I piss in your yard? Right in front of you? I tell Matt to go home.
How did I ever end up here?
I have started buying one Powerball ticket every week, hoping I will win so I can buy 200 acres of beautiful land and put a little log cabin or an Airstream right smack in the middle of it. Personally, I am opposed to gambling. Look what I am becoming. But I can't help it. It seems like it is my only hope. Probably the same way some drug dealers think.
I don't belong here.