A Prickly Matter

Pincushion Cactus

Pincushion Cactus

For about a week now, it has been unseasonably cool in Saint Louis and this being the back-half of August that is a good thing. At night, we don’t have to run the AC and can open the windows. This not being walled off in an environmentally controlled sanctum heightened the intimacy of an event that occurred last night. It was nothing really, Anne spied a police car moving slowly down the block and its steerable spotlight was being used to search for something or someone. The police spoke with an oncoming vehicle, but soon resumed their search. It was a little unnerving, but that’s all that I know.

Late last year there was a burglary that occurred one block over and even though it was foiled by the police, the three suspects all escaped. I had already left for work and Anne was home alone. One of them escaped by running down our driveway and jumping our back fence. Our neighbor’s security camera got a picture of him, which was published by the news. The previous month, at our annual block party, the city police superintendent showed up for some community outreach. He warned us of this gang that would wait in their car until someone left for work and then break-in. They had been operating in the area for months and had last struck just a few blocks away.

Tuesday evening, I was mowing the grass and a neighbor from across the street came over to speak with me. He wanted my help. His next door neighbor uses a lawn services. His beef was that when they mowed her lawn, for some reason, they also mowed his backyard. He wanted my help in identifying the lawn service, so he could ask them to stop it. He had said, “Sometimes these lawn services use their access as an opportunity to case a property.” We spoke of last year’s burglary, he lives half-a-block closer to the burgled home than I do. I agreed to help, but then I began to wonder. Why didn’t he just ask the neighbor who hired them? Then I thought about the lawn service’s behavior. The neighbor who hired them has a completely fenced-in backyard. How could the lawn service think that the second backyard was also their mowing responsibility and then not mow its front yard? That struck me as weird.

The burglary did occur and so to the mowing. I have no reason to doubt my neighbor on that, but I don’t know if that was just a one-off occurrence or a repeat offence. Either way, it was no felony. If it was a one-off thing, maybe the new guy started mowing the wrong lawn, while the boss was on the phone?

About last night’s police car with the spotlight, years ago I was walking home from the grocery store. It started to pour, so I put my wallet in the plastic bag. When I got home, no wallet, just a hole in the bag. I called the police, hoping that some neighbor would turn the wallet in. Instead, the officer took down my exact route home and an hour later, using his spotlight had found my wallet on the sidewalk. Maybe someone’s cat had gone missing last night?

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