Where Poems Come From
We've had a rash of car break-ins again at my apartment complex. The two buildings here are wrapped around interior parking decks and despite the gated entry, video cameras and security patrol, we've been averaging one break-in a week now for the last month. A notice from management was slipped under tenants' doors last night. It said the security patrol heard the sound of breaking glass at 4:50 a.m. and got a glimpse of the person. And then this:
The police tell us the suspect in this morning's break-in is a known petty thief, described as a black male in his forties, short in stature (about 5'6-5'8), who goes by the name Pee Wee. Call 911 if you see a person matching this description, don't worry about mistaken identity. It's better to err on the side of caution.
Something about that just rubs me the wrong way. So, they are basically saying that any black man who looks short walking down the street in the vicinity should have the police called on them. Really? Seriously? It's not like the guy is committing murder; he's either homeless or a drug addict. We've been warned here over and over and over not to leave anything valuable in our cars overnight, but people still leave laptops, briefcases, GPS systems, etc. on their seats. Sure, we should be able to live without someone breaking into our cars and stealing our stuff, but that's not the real world. I'm pretty sure it was Pee Wee who broke into my car last year, although what he was looking for in my piece of shit ride is a mystery. There was nothing of value in there, unless he wanted some old cassette singles from Taylor Dayne and C&C Music Factory.
I just couldn't believe they actually put that language in the notice sent to all the residents. I'm calling the office today to talk to the woman I know who works there. This is the same kind of language we got from the cops last year when we had our first Neighborhood Watch meeting. This little white cop (a Pee Wee himself) with a big chip on his shoulder and too much power asked if we had ever noticed that all the black guys who live and hang out along Boulevard (a big street that runs through the city) all wear baggy jeans and white tank tops. Then he said that's so when they are being chased by the cops they all blend in and you can't tell one from the other. We were all stunned into silence and there was so much tension in the room you could cut it with a knife. We haven't had a Neighborhood Watch meeting since.
Also, for whatever reason, my junk mail folder last night was flooded with about 20 of the same pieces of mail saying I had won the British Lottery. This is just cruel. I think someone out there knows how much I want to live in London and put me on some spam list. I'm sure most people with an email address have gotten a letter from the British/UK lottery. They want to you deposit some money in an account for "transfer and conversion fees" of the UK pounds into dollars, then you never hear from them again. Or they want access to your bank account so they can direct deposit your winnings. You wake up expecting $2 million and find out you have a zero balance.
All of the UK lottery notices usually have the same address -- 28 Tanfield Road in Croydon, south London. I decided to Google map the address and sure enough, there is a Tanfield Road in Croydon. Using the satellite imagery, it appears to be on a street of old council flats and building being converted into offices. Certainly not the place where the British Lottery, if there actually was such a thing, would be located. I imagined turning up there in the fall with my hand out asking for my cash so I could go purchase my palatial London home.
I started writing.