We live on a dead-end street in the last neighborhood of our town before you reach the ubiquitous cotton fields that surround our little hamlet. There are 7 houses on our street and I know everyone. And everyone’s business.
For some reason, our quiet little street is a magnet for looky-loos and strangers either scoping out middle Americans in their native habitat or people trying to peddle shit from Kirby Vacuums (yes, apparently they still sell these) to Beef Jerky.
Additionally, I’m the nosiest person on the planet, as my wife can attest. If there is a cabinet or a drawer, it is my sworn duty to open it up and look. I am just curious by nature I guess. Nevertheless, this nosiness extends to the people who live on our street. Randomly I’ll say “So-and-so has painted their front door” or “I think so-and-so got a new car.”
I’ve appointed myself the official and only member of the Ash St. Neighborhood Watch–much to my wife’s chagrin.
Each night, I let my 13 year old Golden Retriever out in the front yard to potty one last time before going to bed. I do this as a guise to scope out what’s going on on our street. Is there any mischief going on? Is anything out of place? Is everyone home for the night? If not, where could they be at this time of the evening?
Side Note: Usually when I go out to take Ellie to the bathroom, I’m in my shorts, and shoes that my grandfather referred to as “go forwards” and nothing else. Shirtless, with all my glory hanging out. I’m not a thin person folks. But I’ve also got NO shame.
There are two specific occasions in which this tactic has proven successful and I have been able to thwart evil-doers.
It was Halloween. I walked into the yard with Ellie while she pottied and happened to look north to our neighbor’s house. When I did, I saw a shadow dart around the house. I felt this was somewhat suspicious since I knew my neighbor friends were not home. I hurried Ellie back into the house and threw on a shirt and asked my wife “Where’s the taser?” (She has a taser for protection. She had an unfortunate stalker incident earlier in her life so we keep it around for protection.)
She knows me too well, gives me this suspicious look and says “Why?” I said, “Because I think someone is toilet papering the neighbor’s house and I’m going to chase them. Don’t worry, I won’t really taser them.” Reluctantly, she gives me the taser and off I go. I jump into my car and chase them down the street. They circle around and head down the alley, so I chase them down the alley. They then turn onto the main road and haul ass. I am in hot pursuit for a while but then decide to go home. I turn into my driveway, turn off the car and lie in wait. Soon, a truck (which doesn’t belong on our road–remember, I know who belongs on our street and who doesn’t) eases onto our street and creeps by our house. As soon as it is passed our house, I start the car, slam it into reverse and peel out onto the street and the pursuit is on again.
After chasing them some more, they finally give up and I triumphantly reenter the house, proud that I have foiled the Halloween shenanigans. Score: 1 for Neighborhood Watch and 0 for the Evil-doers.
Not long after, I leave the house one morning to find my car egged. Score: 1 for Neighborhood Watch and 1 for Evil-doers.
The people at the very end of our street think that the entire reason for living on a dead end street it to use it as a drag racing strip. They try very hard to see how fast they can get their jankety ass truck to go before hitting the yield sign at the end of the street.
Again, Ellie is pottying, I’m in my shorts, go-forwards and glory and the people begin their drag down our street. As they get parallel to our house, before I can help myself, I bellow: “SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!!” It’s likely they didn’t hear me over the rattle of their vehicle. But in that moment, I realize that I had become the grumpy old man on the block (I’m the youngest person who lives on our block.) I walked back into the house and told my wife: “I may or may not have just screamed obscenities at the neighbors.”
I’m not quite sure that last occasion deserves a point awarded to the neighborhood watch. I think we will have to call that a draw.
No matter. Beware. I’m always watching.