Thursday, November 1, 2012
My neighborhood is usually quiet. There are a lot of little kids and families who come through on Halloween night. Junior high age kids just weren't out last night, nor were the young teenagers, except for 4 boys who probably wish they'd stayed home.
Trick or treating is from 4-7 in Wheaton. Most families are done by 6:15, however. You get the pre-teen or low teenagers who just wear what they have in their closet after 6:30 and I'm really not interesting in giving them anything so I turned off my light at 6:30. I hadn't made supper so I worked on that and, since I'd received a paycheck, it was time to pay the bills.
At around 7:15-ish, I heard yelling outside and the sound of people running up my driveway. Then came a crash. See, last night was garbage night, but because it's also Halloween, I decided not to drag the cans to the street. I had moved the recycling can, a dark blue plastic can with branches and a black can containing several garbage bags of cat litter (I completely emptied the litter boxes over the weekend. It was time to start fresh.) to the side of the house across the driveway to be moved at 10:30 before bed. From the sound, someone had collided with the recycling bin. But what were they doing running up my driveway?
I went outside and saw my neighbor from across the street holding on tightly to the hoodie of a boy. Two boys were picking themselves up off the ground having collided with the recycling bin and the black can, which, no, you really couldn't see in the dark. A fourth was standing, very self-consciously, in my neighbor's front yard. Her dogs were going nuts. My neighbor holding onto the boy was screaming at him, "Just what the hell do you think you were doing? You think you're so punk ass? I've got news for you, asshole." Um...yes. We were joined by another neighbor and the gal with the dogs who said, "I've called the cops." The look on the boys faces was sheer terror.
The police must have been within a block or two because it seemed like they were here instantly. One of the boys looked like he was going to burst into tears at any moment. The officer asked what was the problem and my across the street neighbor said he'd caught these guys stomping on his pumpkins and tearing down his decorations. The other across the street neighbor chimed in that they'd hit his house, too. The officer turned to look at the boys and he really didn't need to ask. Might as well have had a neon "guilty" sign over their heads. But he inquired quietly and calmly, "Boys, did you do this?"
At this point, a car screeches to a halt in front of my house and a woman gets out. She comes running up to our happy little group screaming, "These are my kids! What are you doing? They didn't do anything! Leave them alone!" Another cop car has arrived and that officer runs over to us to try to intercept this woman. I started coughing and realized I was cold so I said I was going inside to get a coat. I came back out and the officer with the boys asks if my house had been damaged. I said, "No. They just chose to run up my drive and collided with my garbage cans." He said I didn't need to be out there then and he would knock when it was all over.
It took 30 minutes to sort everything out. The neighbor who had chased the boys down knocked on my door and said he'd take my cans to the street for me. He said the boys were from Glendale Heights, a suburb north of me. Mom had blurted out to the other officer that they had gotten in trouble with neighbors up there so she packed them into the car and drove them down here where they didn't know anyone. Um...yes. That is very smart parenting. She had dropped them off and then drove to Starbucks to get coffee. Yet another example of extremely good parenting. It seems as if these kids went around my area and if someone didn't answer the door, they smashed their decorations. One of the kids had a dozen eggs in the bottom of his bag.
The officers read the kids the riot act and chewed out the mother, my neighbor said. Then they took all the candy these boys had accumulated and gave it to the families who lost their decorations. My neighbor laughed that that, alone, was probably the worst thing that could have been done to these boys. They had been trick or treating all evening and had at least a third of a pillow case full of candy. Everyone was released and warned to clean up their act.
This morning, the garbage and recycling cans of everyone on my street had been tipped over. I had a lot of water bottles brought home from work in my can so I had to spend a good 20 minutes cleaning that up off the parkway and in my driveway. But that was better than the people across the street. Their garbage had been gotten into by raccoons or opossums and was strewn into the street.
This doesn't happen in my neighborhood. I do just chuckle when I think of the horror I saw on the face of one boy when Erica came out and announced she'd called the cops. In two weeks, we'll have forgotten this. I'm hoping they were scared enough that they'll never forget. They might have gotten a kick out of smashing pumpkins but they didn't count on a dad being close to the front door and being faster than they were.
Beverage: Green tea