We’ve spent the past several days getting to know the family that moved into my neighborhood, a square-headed lot attuned to the ways of front-yard hootin’ and hollerin’. We’ve grown to appreciate their ability to sprint whilst shouldering two of the largest stereo speakers left in existence. We’ve marveled at both their ability to ask for help and the frequency with which they do it and a displayed prowess in the egg-hurling sports. We’ve stood in wonder over the get-‘er-done entrepreneurial spirit of a foray into parking-lot drug distribution, and we’ve seen me break down and contact their landlords in an attempt to rid the neighborhood of them once and for all.
And Now, I Have a Cretin-Shaped Hole in My Heart
I would like to report that the day that brought the moving out of the curiously squat and box-headed folk down the street was a raucous adventure of questionable folk from Minneapolis' seedy underbelly, that various pick-ups and oxen-led carts showed up to help them load up and take away the four large-screen TVs, the ping pong table and the seemingly dozens of mattresses that I witnessed them move in to the duplex just four houses down.
But I cannot.
They left in the middle of the night, leaving nothing but tire tracks in the front yard, a large piece of furniture that may have doubled as some sort of sacrificial slab, a broken cooler, and two horrifyingly stained king-sized mattresses.
They left these items on the boulevard in front of their house.
And as enticing as a game of "What does that stain look like to you?" originally seemed, I tired of the view of their household scabs almost immediately, and called 311 (the number to the city) on the second day.
"I'd like to report a large pile of crap, please."
The woman on the other end chuckled. "Can you describe the crap, ma'am?"
I could, and I did.
"Do you have the address of said crap?"
"Well, it's four down from my house, but the house numbers seem to run by both fours and twos on my street, so I'm not sure of it right now. I can walk down there if you like."
"Let's start with your address and go from there," she said.
In minutes, she had Google Maps pulled up, had found my house and had counted down four houses.
"Is it the house with the lamp post in front of it?" she asked.
"What?" I said. "You can see that?"
"Google Maps is a wonderful thing," she said.
I had been unaware of this street-level feature. "I'm stepping outside," I said. "Can you see me? I’m waving."
She laughed politely, as one does at the clueless. "Ma'am, it's a satellite image."
There was a slight pause as I listened to her type.
"We'll have someone out to pick it up tomorrow."
"Really? Just like that, huh?"
"Just like that," she said. "Is there anything more I can do for you?"
"No, ma'am," I said. "That's plenty."
True to her word, the City of
They came, they saw, they littered.
And now they're someone else's problem.