Neighborhood Watch


I figured it was time to drop in and let everyone know how we’ve been doing. It’s been a relatively quiet six months. Too quiet. So much so, that I suspect we started to forget the type of people we actually are. You know, the type of wife that comes home after a seven day writing residency to the type of husband who’s openly bleeding from the face in the driveway. The type of couple who drags everyone else’s trash to their garage for personal use. Who sprays Weed-B-Gone in concentrations typically used for commercial farming on their fence line and kills half their neighbor’s yard.

You know, those people.

We had our annual reminder this morning. Allow me to explain.

You see, last June, we moved into a new house in a new city. The house is located on a cul-de-sac, and quickly we were welcomed into the neighborhood with open, warm arms. The neighbors are nice, gracious, and kind people and we are lucky to have landed amongst good company. Being neighborly, we take turns helping each other out. We share meals, we watch each others kids, and occassionally….we defend their homes against potential terrorists.

Jordan has a specific morning routine. He hits the snooze for about an hour, and just before I’m about to reach over and kill him, he gets out of bed and goes downstairs to feed the dog, eat breakfast, and pack his lunch. After donning his daily apparel (khakis, a collared shirt with his company logo somewhere on the sleeve or chest, and cowboy boots) he kisses me goodbye and I wish a him a good day. This morning was like every other morning, except that it wasn’t at all.

Sometimes, our neighbor’s youngest child comes over to wait for the bus in the morning. This has been going on without excitement since September. This morning, as I watched the young child make his trek across the street to the bus stop, I noticed he stopped at the end of our driveway. A few of the other neighborhood kids were dashing down the sidewalk in the opposite direction of their respective pick-up location, and all of them had looks of surprise plastered on their faces.

“Odd,” I said out loud, and continued to watch, contemplating the reasons for the sudden craze befallen over the neighborhood children. And then, what should pierce my eardrums but the whistle and whirs of not one, not two, but FOUR police SUVs screaming around the corner and sliding into the cul-de-sac. The kid who sits on my couch and watches cartoons, who is training me constantly in the wonders of young minds, who once tried to get me to tell him where babies came from, had a sort of panicked look on his face, so I stepped outside in the crisp 40 degree air in my “fat” jeans, t-shirt, and socks and look down at the commotion unfolding.

Parked in the neighbor’s driveway, as a swarm of uniformed men (and women!) circle the house with firearms at the ready, is Jordan’s car.

“Oh, shit.”

The kids are running toward the action so I take a few more steps and holler in my old lady voice and tell them to stay back. The kid, (whom I’ve deemed as Beta Child) is probably more confused than I’ve ever been in my life to see an army of police at his house where no one was supposed to be home.

“That’s my house!” Beta Child exclaims. I don’t know what to do but make sure none of the neighborhood offspring run straight into a hostage situation.

“You’ve got to see this!” A child says.

“This is unbelievable!” Cries another.

They want to get closer. Luckily, the bus is arriving and the innocent responsibilities of school kick in and they run off, abandoning the unfolding situation in the cul-de-sac. Now I’m left standing in my driveway wondering why my husband’s car is parked at the house that is currently surrounded by cops. You know, a typical Thursday.

I run inside to grab my phone. It’s 8:16 AM. Jordan “left” for work nearly an hour ago, but I guess he didn’t make it too far. My mind swims with all sorts of catastrophic scenarios of the truth as I go back outside and crouch behind the wall of our garage, in case of a whole “shots fired!” event. I debate calling my neighbors, the owners of the house, and alerting them. I wonder if they know? I wonder if they’re okay? I wonder WHY MY HUSBAND IS INSIDE A HOUSE THAT IS BEING SURROUNDED BY POPO.

I call Jordan first and he doesn’t answer, so I shoot him a text.

                                        (and if this isn’t a summary of marriage, I don’t know what is)

I open up my contacts to dial my neighbors, thinking this is something they’d probably want to know about, and then Jordan calls me back. I answer, and before I can say anything, he speaks.

“Yes, that’s our car. I’m sitting right here behind it,” he lifts his head and I see it poke above the roof of our Chevy Cruze.

I really don’t know what to say. Jordan tries to explain but he cuts out, the homeowner is calling him and he has to go. All I am able to get from him is something about a man in their house. So I stand there, and watch. I return indoors momentarily for a coat and knit cap and then post back up by the garage…and watch. The cops are standing guard, maybe about ten of them, at the ready. I can’t see Jordan, he’s hidden well. My heart is beating a little bit harder than is typical for a Thursday morning in my life, but it makes sense, considering the situation. More scenarios run through my head. My phone is paranoia inducing silent.

I walk in and out of my house, warming my Texan skin from the cool air. I glance from the window in my bedroom office since I have a clear shot of the neighboring houses from there. No one is moving. Eventually, Jordan rises from the concrete and joins a police officer and they go in the house, together. Did they find something? A body? Is it all clear?

I wait and wait, stepping outside every now and then, trying to act cool as other neighbors leave their houses with their young children for an assortment of errands. Sure, everything is fine. No, I have no idea why my husband’s car is parked at the house over there with a gaggle of local police around it. Have a good day!  I decide that whatever is going on inside the house might take a while, so I go inside and remove my hat, waiting for Jordan to call.

A while later, I notice the last cop depart the premises, but Jordan is still down there, so I creep out, confident I will no longer interfere or interrupt whatever investigation is unfolding. I am the WIFE, I tell myself. I have every right to find out what is going on. Jordan is still inside so I call him. He doesn’t answer, so I knock on the back door to make sure he’s inside and didn’t leave with the cops and everyone just left the garage open with the doors unlocked, a totally counterproductive move.

He exits. He’s on the phone with one of the homeowners.

“It’s alright I just learned I @#$%ed everything up,” he says into the phone. Oh boy. He locks up the house and shuts the garage door. He hangs up the phone and looks at me. He opens his mouth, an explanation falls out.

And I die.

I laugh and laugh, feeling a little bad for my poor husband, but I laugh all the same, because everything is all right. What was first viewed from Jordan’s driver side window as a “tall man wearing a hoodie, lurking in their garage,” after everyone had left for the morning, was actually the teenage son waiting for his ride to school, which was running late.

So I guess that’s it, our annual reminder on the type of people we are. We collect junk to “fix up.” We name our WiFi connection “The Republic of Texas.” We publicly bleed from our faces after smacking ourselves with mailboxes. We call an army of law officials to form a barrier around your home if we suspect there might be something suspicious going on at your house.

Writer. Tractor aficionado. Craft beer connoisseurs. Neighborhood Watch Detectives.

Armed intruders, or your kid running late for school, we remain on guard, ever vigilant, to protect and serve this cul-de-sac.

One comment

  1. Hahahhahahahaha. I’m sitting in a doctors office and the tears are running down my face. I’m sure those around me think something is wrong. Very wrong. But nay – you have warmed my heart and invited me into your kitchen for coffee. I drink it black.

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