I like how “jazzy” this song is. Calling a jazz song “jazzy” is pretty crummy writing, isn’t it? Not much description to distinguish it from any other jazz song, is there?
This inability to provide a good description was prevalent Sunday night at 2:15 am when I called the police. It’s not much help when you don’t know which way is N/S/E/W from your house, you forget the name of the street behind your house, and you can’t tell them the color of the vehicle, the street number of the duplex across the street, or the color of the said residence.
I thought I woke up because I had to make that midnight trip to the bathroom. Then I thought it was because of the slightly warm house. I stumbled out of bed and turned the AC from 82 down to 79. In the back of my mind I noted there was a car idling on the street. I crawled into bed and and drifted off to a dream. In the dream there were two muscle cars lining up for a street race. Side by side they sat idling - talking smack about who was going to drive the fastest - and make the turn onto the twisty street first. However, the director of my dream seemed to forget what the next part of the story was ... 'cause the the cars just keep idling with their glass-pack mufflers and Mallory Performance Headers.
That's about the time I woke up to register I could STILL hear an engine idling outside. Were there some kids getting ready to race down the street? Maybe it WASN'T a dream. I waited and listened. Funny – how I could hear the engine over the AC. It must be a big V-8 of some sort. Why wasn’t the car leaving? How long were they going to sit out there? Suddenly I realized the question should be "WHY" were they sitting out there?
I got out of bed – went to the living room and noticed a conversion van sitting in the street. Just idling away. AND THEN, someone walked across the parking area of the duplex across the street and to the driver's door of the van. This was pretty odd considering the the new tenants haven’t moved in yet and the parking lot was empty of cars. Still I was willing to not get involved – until I saw the person cross the street and WALK UP my neighbors driveway. NOW there was a problem. There’s no reason ON EARTH for someone to be walking from the street up my neighbor's driveway at that time of morning.
I turned on my front porch light – and a few seconds later – watched the person run back to the van - then the van moved about 400 feet to the stop sign at the end of the street and lingered there for a few minutes.
I had my house phone with me and tried to dial 9-1-1 in the dark. I need to get a new phone. One with numbers that are illuminated. I guess now - I can see how comical it was as I mashed numbers on my phone trying to figure out where the 9 button was - and then peering at the screen without my glasses to see if I could recognize the shape of the tenny-tiny blobs. Unable to determine what was on the display I moved from location to location in the house searching for enough ambient light to illuminate the number pad.
Of course, I didn't really want to turn on any lights and I was staying away from the windows because I am sneaky like that (or a coward). I finally turned on a night-light in my hallway, dialed 911, and saw the van drive off, before the dispatcher answered. As I talked to her, and revealed that had retained nothing USEFUL about the van and it's occupants, I could hear it idling on the next street - whose name I couldn't remember - nor which direction it was from MY house. Thankfully they have a map and were able to name the streets - so I could confirm the now no-longer-accurate-location of the vehicle.
I told the dispatcher I didn’t need the police to knock on my door after they cruised the hood – unless they found something was wrong. I guess the "Good News" is they never knocked on my door. The "Not-So-Good-News" is it took me a while to get back to sleep.
Tuesday morning it appeared everything was fine, but I went ahead and send out an eMail to the ‘hood, letting them know about our late night visitors. And of course I consulted my Morning eMail group. The 'hood awarded me 20 bonus points for actually waking up - as they remembered last year when I slept through the HELICOPTERS hovering over our neighborhood when the FIVE ALARM FIRE burnt the house TO THE GROUND.
In numerous emails/phone calls here is the collective wisdom of the interwebz:
- My neighbor's home is protected by the 12-gage "Woody" system. Anytime I see/hear anything I should feel free to call him - and he will "activate it" for my property too! (however, since Woody SLEPT through this, I am not convinced he's a reliable alarm/defender)
- If I'd keep my cell phone charged (a-hem) and in bed (or on the nightstand) I could use it to dial 9-1-1, as those phones have lit numbers/faces. (plus, if I have to leave the house, the mobile phone will still work, unlike the house phone, which loose it's signal before I get off the front porch!)
- The 'hood has agreed to keep front porch and deck lights on all night long.
- We've asked the police to cruise our hood for the next week or so - just to make sure it's clear we're paying attention.
- "The people" (who will remain nameless) who haven't been concerned about leaving GPS/other digital gadgets in their cars will cease doing such tempting things. (Really, this ISN'T me. If there is one thing Original Box Mitter taught me, it was LOCK ALL (car/house) DOORS and keep "shinny-stuff" out of sight.)
- None of us want to get house alarms - and we're not going to go down that road unless there's more of a problem.
- I should probably put a lock on my under-house "storage" - so if anyone goes under the deck, they can't get to the tools stored there. (Because of course, living in NC = NOT having a garage. Or at least in a neigborhood THIS age.)