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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

People Are So Uptight These Days


I watched the three kids in the alley Saturday night, cell phone in hand, my dialing finger having already pressed 9 – 1…

Yeah, that’s me. The super-tough one squinting at you behind the curtain from the second-floor window. It’s 11:30. What’re you doing in my alley, making all that noise?

Give me a reason to press the other “1”, punk.

My mind shimmies from side to side with the possibilities. My eyeballs spin counter-clockwise as I consider a variety of crimes against nature and man involving people I can envision lurking in an alley. What are they doing out there? Meth lab? Puppy mill? Bachmann for President rally?

Good God. This could be serious.

I squint through the blinds. Man, I wish I had a cigarette.

Having had the privilege of paying for the installation of a new service door on the garage (after some reprobate kicked it in), the kids in the alley, their bikes next to them as they talk, look more like pending bills than people to me, some city-dweller tax that no one talks about.

Well, I’m on to ‘em. Little buggers. Go play in your own alley!

This all goes through my head in roughly the same amount of time it takes to, say, get the chain back on your bike properly; and I watch as one of them spins his back wheel with an air of satisfaction. The one standing next to him punches him in the arm while the third one hops his bike up and down, up and down, the two-wheeled equivalent of a tapping foot.

They look like children. Like hormonal, mostly-grown, restless children.

I let the curtain fall and close my phone without hitting the final “1” in the 911 equation.

There will be time for that another day.

45 comments:

Shelly said...

I am a self appointed Coordinator of Making Sure Everyone Follows the Rules and/or Laws. I've had my finger hovering over that last 1 more than once.

I'll send you the badge and cap in tomorrow's mail.

NellieVaughn said...

I've dialed those three numbers more times than I can count, which isn't very high because I get bored or distracted.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

It always concerns me to see young people out wandering around after dark....where are their parents? Why aren't they home where it's safe? Doesn't anyone care about them? What are they up to? Then again, I've had them steal my solar lights from the front garden in broad daylight while I was home so I guess it really doesn't matter what time of day they are out there does it?

jabblog said...

It's easy to imagine teen terrors - but we were all teenagers once and I remember being irritated that some adults seemed to consider us a nuisance when all we were doing was breathing the same air as them.

savannah said...

i know that feeling! and i always ask the same question, "WTF are those kids doing out at 11:30 at night???" *sigh* xoxoxox

Pearl said...

Shelly, I do love a chick in uniform.

Nellie, I'm sorry, what was that? I was looking out the window...

Delores, yes, I do wonder what they're doing out. Some parents just don't care about curfews or the reasons behind them.

jabblog, this is what I try to remember. The majority of teens in my neighborhood are just fine and I have no reason to suspect them of anything. I do think that "fear" has been used against us where it is not warranted.

Pearl said...

savannah, true! If the parents aren't going to call them in, they aren't going in! I've been wondering lately about this...

Simply Suthern said...

I've never lived anywhere that had alleys. If they are close enuff to see and hear then they are on my property. They tend to go thru your car and glovebox if it aint locked. It's not a common problem but I have hit that last 1 a couple times.

Tom G. said...

I'm just relieved that they weren't carrying shovels or shrubbery.

Leenie said...

Do ya feel lucky? Well...do ya, punk?
I know what you're thinking. "Did she punch in 9-1-1 or just 9-1?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself.

Pearl said...

Simply, I've called 911 a couple times in the last nine years... I kind of like alleys, although do you know that in Minnesota you are not to use an alley if you do not live on it? It's true. :-)

Tom, oh, I got my eyes out for the plant stealers!

Leenie, that was wonderful. Channeling Clint Eastwood is one of my favorite past times.

Ach du lieber said...

Where ARE those kids' parents?

Oh wow. I've become my mother. Again.

L-Kat said...

If you do hit that second '1' make sure the punks are doing more than walking around with Skittles.

I never knew the Minnesota alley rule....is that Minneapolis thing? My dad is a retired state patrol man, and made sure I knew EVERY law associated with roads....I don't remember this one....

Nessa Roo said...

Well. My son's bike went missing a few weeks ago, and coincidentally, the chain was always coming loose.
I need more detailed description. Did they look like Texas boys? Next time, pictures, please.

Brian Miller said...

i am glad they were mostly harmless...i mean if you called it in you would have to talk to the police and then the kids and then they would want pay back and next thing you know you have a flaming bag of poop on your doorstep...

Wanderoke said...

Oh, Childhood, where have you gone? Why have you denied the youth of today your reckless adventures? The freedom of a summer day at mid-morning, riding a bike for a mile down to the creek. Throwing rocks and jumping off train tracks into the water.
Riding back to town and having lunch at a different house each day, un-asked. Making sure you were in ear-shot for your name yelled out the front door for dinner time.

And the wonderment of late night hide-and-seek under the cover of darkness, with the lamp post as home base.

Childhood, our youth today need you.

wanderoke.blogspot.com

Joshua said...

Damn kids these days.

So glad that the "Email follow-up comments" checkbox has made a return so I can see when/if you respond. And to see all the other comments come through.

sage said...

When I was that age--I'd preferred you call the police than my mother! :)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

There's a coffee shop and a drug store on our alley, at the end of the next block. People walk up and down the alley all day getting there and back, but the nuisance factor is pretty low. On the other hand, we often drive through the alley on another block as a short-cut to a main street. Didn't know we were law-breakers!

esbboston said...

You are weLL on your way to making a great little old lady. Only I don't know how taLL you are, so is there a large old lady equivalent? I am not sure.

Also, I fear too much eyebaLL rotating is going to lead to retinal detachment, so settle down and try just going a few degrees left, right, up and down. Who is going to watch that aLLey for you when you go blind, huh, bet you never thought of that...

Jadzia@Toddlerisms said...

You and my mom might be separated at birth. When we lived in a bad part of Duluth (I know!) she was the queen of the alley peepers!

jenny_o said...

Isn't it a relief when the thing you worried you saw unfolding turns out to be an innocent act? Hard on those nerves in the meantime, though.

IndigoWrath said...

I'd have released the tiger.

Douglas said...

I used to hang out in alleys a lot in my youth. But my bike chain always stayed on, never a problem with it. My purpose for being in the alley was always more... nefarious. Fortunately, they didn't have 9-1-1 in those days and people would look up the number, giving me time to get away.

Lola Rouge ...the mom said...

Hey thanks to sixty minutes, we are all slightly afraid of those sneaky teens, who contrary to popular belief sometimes are doing regular kid stuff. Don't sweat it.... They may have been about to take your plants lol.

Macy said...

My rule of thumb is I don't bother with the teens, as long as they don't wake me up.

Once I'm woken after midnight all bets are off...

Steve Bailey said...

Those good for nothing young punks!!!
May all their bikes get flat tires!!!

Eva Gallant said...

Pearl, the vigilante!

Pearl said...

Ach du Lieber, :-) That's okay. I've become my father...

L-KAT, exactly. I'm not a very jumpy urbanite. And the alley thing may very well be a Minneapolis rule. In fact, now that you mention it, I'm pretty sure it is.

Nessa Roo, it's hard to tell those Texas boys in the dark. How does one lure them closer to the house for a better look? BBQ? :-)

Brian, I've yet to receive the flaming bag of dog poop, but when I do, you know I'll write about it!

Wanderoke, that was very nice! I don't know what these kids were doing, but at least they were getting some exercise!

Joshua, oh, good. And kids these days? Oh yeah. :-)

sage, shoot. A disappointed look from my dad was all it took around my house...

Blissed Out, :-) Scofflaw!!!

esb, I'm disappointingly lacking in height, coming in at a smidge over five foot four. I'll bite yer ankles, I will!!

jadzia, I used to know Duluth quite well!

jenny_o, oh, absolutely. When I first moved into the city I was sure that all those people on the sidewalks, pushing baby strollers and walking dogs, were secretly up to something. It's amazing, once you relax, how very few people are actually up to no good.

Indigo, well that's you all over, iddin it, releasing various beasts into the population?! :-)

Douglas, I knew just by looking. :-)

Lola Rouge, true! I know there are things to worry about, but to be worried all the time is just so energy-sapping!!

Macy, oh, hear hear. My favorites are the after-bar parties that spring up. I know you're having a good time, but 30 people singing "You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman" is not going to fly at my house!

Steve, would rigging the alley be wrong? :-)

Eva, I think I used to be Wild West lawman... :-)

Mr. Charleston said...

I know what the creepy little buggers were doing out there... STEALING YOUR PLANTS!

Kelley said...

Hmmmm...yeah, you just never know. You NEVER know. I watch that "I Survived" too much. I'm now even more suspicious of people. Your Bachmann for President rally part made me laugh out loud!

Jenn Jilks said...

I love it!
I'm the same. You're a hoot!

ThreeOldKeys said...

A woman came to the door a few years ago ... she was out looking for gang graffiti and wanted to let us know she'd found a bad one on the street in front our house.

I said "isn't that spray paint from one of the utilities?" Well no, she said none of the utilities used green. She'd already called the police.

Of course, the gang was the county water service who had sprayed their code numbers in green. She stirred up such a fuss a neighbor got out his pressure washer and obliterated it.

I felt so much safer.

Moral of the story: none.

Bodacious Boomer said...

Although I try to use restraint in calling the authorities and let kids be kids I've found that as I get older I'm not quite as flexible as I used to be in such matters. When in doubt though err on the side of safety.

Michelle said...

It's all about WORGAGER.
Didn't y'all catch that?
We told ya already.
DWASS.
Wtf 's wrong with you Aryans?
TELOS got it .
RERESPE, too.
As for ARESSES, she's all drugged up and no place to go.
Little Buggers and lyingese.

HermanTurnip said...

You exhibit more self restraint that I could ever muster. Damn kids, stay out of my alley!

Hilary said...

Tough neighbourhood.. handling chains and all. ;)

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Take back the night and the alleys, Pearl, there's hope for Minnesota yet. They're lucky you didn't go whack'em and stack'em. ":))

Al Penwasser said...

Similar to some of these other comments....
I wonder, "WTF are these kids doing in the alley at 11:30 at night!?"
This is almost immediately followed by, "WTF am I doing out of bed at 11:30 at night!?"
I've slowed down some.

Murr Brewster said...

Oh we have an alley too. When we first got our house, it had a ramshackle garage on the alley, and I worried that the kids who liked to play in it would accidentally set it on fire. When they did (while we were away for the weekend), they did such a thorough job of it that I couldn't even figure out what was wrong at first. Did there used to be so much light over there? Did we used to be able to see the Martins' house? Was our lawn always black?

Crystal Pistol said...

Puppy mill?? HAHAHAAAAAA!

Linda O'Connell said...

Michelle Bachman for president...ha ha ha ha ha. YOU should run for president. You would have my vote.

Pat said...

Would the police actually appear?

Diane said...

Noooo! We've got kids! Quick, what's the number for 911? If my friends and I had been out on the streets at 11:30 at night, it would mean that my parents had been searching for over two and a half hours. And I was dead when they caught up with me. Sigh. Those old 9 o'clock curfews . . .

Pat Tillett said...

I grew up in a city that had allies on every block. NOTHING good happens in an alley after dark. I know...