On Sunday afternoon, a policeman came over to our house and all the lights were flashing on his car when he parked in the driveway. It's kind of awesome how policemen still make house calls; it makes you feel very important, like you have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany. And it's not even like calling a plumber or an electrician to come out and see you, because you don't even have to pay! You just phone the police department up, say "I need a policeman!" and they send you one! You can sit around in your sweatpants and drink tea and wait for the policeman to arrive, and when he arrives, you can ask him to help you for free, and he has to help you BECAUSE IT'S HIS JOB. How civilized is that? God Bless America. Your health insurance system may be royally screwed, but damnit, I can still get a free policeman at two o'clock on a Sunday.
Of course, the flipside of having a policeman come to your house is that he's only really there because something bad has happened to you and you need to bring in the law to deal with it. (AND YET, it does rather rankle the prissy neighbors when you have a cop car parked in your driveway with all the lights flashing, like you're a highly sought-after criminal wanted on charges of terrible debauchery, so you sort of almost break even.) This particular policeman was at our house over the weekend NOT because the Charleston Municipal Government have finally discovered my pirated Malaysian copy of Just Like Heaven, but because we seem to be having a little problem with the hooligans. In particular, the hooligans who steal stuff from our house.
Not specifically our house, really, more like our hallway. And also our garden. On Saturday morning, Sean noticed that his bike was missing from the front foyer, where we keep them along with the bikes belonging to Lovely Neighbor Stacy, Thespian Libby, and Naked Girl Magnet Greg. We are very active apartment-dwellers, you see, and we all have bikes, though actually I don't think I've ever seen Libby, Greg, or Stacy on a bike, and the last time Sean and I rode ours was to the Jack Johnson concert in September, and that was only because we knew trying to park alongside three thousand stoned College of Charleston students was going to be like entering hell itself. But still! Even though we don't ride these bikes much, we still have them. And we still keep them (pretty much) locked up in our front hallway, and we're still going to notice if someone takes one of them and then has the gall to put a really crappy old bike in its place, AS IF THAT'S A FAIR TRADE. And yet! The thieves didn't stop there! Obviously concerned that they hadn't yet caused us enough distress, they returned the following night, snuck into the garden, and STOLE MY HAMMOCK.
It's not even hammock weather! And isn't a hammock possibly the most un-rock-'n-roll thing you can steal? Can you imagine them emptying their sacks of loot at the end of the night---"dude, look at this! I got a Powerbook, a DVD player, a digital camera, an iPod...." "Oh, dude, that's awesome, but look! I got this sweet HAMMOCK." I mean, what's that all about? Did we have an Amish thief? What kind of person steals a hammock? (I asked this very same question of my friend Andrew, about what kind of person steals a hammock, and guess what he said? "A very lazy person.")
So what with the hammock stealing and the bicycle stealing, we decided it was time to ask the policeman to come over and investigate. He took the bicycle stealing very seriously, and wrote lots of notes down in his little pad and asked for a description and whether or not Sean had the serial number, but he actually CHUCKLED when I asked him if he could trace the hammock. Maybe even GUFFAWED. He was pretty certain he wasn't going to be able to uncover either the bike or the hammock, but he did put our house under Police Watch for a week, which is kind of like being in our very own episode of Law & Order. Even so, I'm totally locking up the picnic table. There's a very organized thief out there who's already stocking up for summer.