Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Civic Duty Ain't Worth the Effort

In my life, I have done and seen many things: kite-surfed, been to a monster truck rally and to a bullfight, tried risotto dyed with squid ink, been flipped backwards...

Last night, I called the cops on some kids who'd taken a joy-ride on....a steamroller.

Last night, I was happily sleeping. That is, until a rude, loud sound began screeching down our street. I thought some horrific accident had taken place and threw open my curtains to see if I should grab my phone and call 911. Turned out that three young gentlemen - the correct description would be punks, I think - had stolen a steamroller from a construction site, taken it for a joy-ride, and decided to park it on our block. This amused them intensely and after it was parked, one fell to the ground and rolled about a bit in the middle of the street, laughing. Then they all ran off. It was about 2:30am. I obligingly did my civic duty and called the police's non-emergency line (no one was injured or in danger, it was obviously a prank, etc.) and described what I'd seen. But. No, I could not describe the clothes they were wearing - it was *dark* outside. And no, I would not like police contact - it's *2:30am*. No, I can't even tell you what race they were. The policeman receptionist said thanks, they would check it out, and I went to bed, feeling like a good citizen.

Until the three punks showed up *again,* about 15-20 minutes later, to gloat, and then sauntered off. Stupid kids. Probably drunk stupid kids. Not right for them to be running around, and I was afraid they'd continue their escapade if they weren't stopped - which could be bad.

I called the non-emergency line again and told them which way the punks were headed on which street. No, I *still* couldn't describe them. Sorry.

Within five minutes, they sent out *three* police cruisers, nabbed two young men (probably the culprits), and stayed in the area until ~4:30am, keeping me awake.

After they'd been out there for awhile, two policemen approached our door and rang our doorbell to ask me some questions - against my express request to not be contacted. Not. Cool. The two officers wanted me to identify the people. um. No. I already, explicitly, told the person on the phone - during both calls - that I couldn't describe them and that should have led them to conclude that I couldn't identify them, either. And oh, hai, you mean those people in the police cruiser directly across the street who can totally see which house you went to and who snitched on you? (Now I don't *know* that they were in the police-cruiser directly across from us, but I'm pretty sure they were - or close by at any rate).

Then the policemen called a tow-truck to take the steamroller away. The tow-truck driver was loud: "I don't even know how to handle this. What the f*** is it, anyways!?" I should have cracked the window and yelled at them to pipe down or else I'd call the cops. Heh! After gobs more f-words had been dropped, the police convinced the tow-truck driver to make a go of it and he did and didn't have any problems. They all drove off.

Sounded like they let the kids go, too. I mean, really, what are you going to pin on them? One can just imagine: "We were just out for a stroll, officer! Really? Kids took a steamroller? Pft. Kids these days. Who, us?"

I've learned:
1. It's potentially dangerous to do your civic duty.
2. It's not worth the time and effort to do your civic duty if the end result is merely a towed steamroller.
3. And doing your civic duty can cause you to wake up late and lose an hour of work (==money), not to mention my two hours of lost sleep.