Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In The Neighborhood

The other day our little corner store was swarming with police vehicles. We had the kids all piled in the car and were stopped at the light so there was time for much discussion and theorizing about what might be going on. One police car had clearly driven hurriedly up over the curb directly from the street. The other six were deployed all around the tiny market building. There was a piece of machinery in the middle of the parking lot which turned out to be a car jack. The flashing lights were on but most of the police were standing around in fairly relaxed groups talking. One knot was talking to someone who seemed agitated. Attempted robbery? Drug bust? Surely it was a bit of an overkill response for a gas and go. You want to know what it was? (Bet stopped in later and asked.) The manager said that the repo man had come for the car rims of one of his employees and that the employee had "taken exception to it". My first thought was "Holy crap - what kind of rims are expensive enough to qualify for being repossessed??" My second thought was that the guy must have caused a serious ruckus if they sent SEVEN squad cars to quell him. I don't know if I'm capable of being scary enough that someone would call in the big guns. It's pretty awesome to think about causing that much of a stir on a quiet Saturday morning. It's like zero to sixty in under 4 seconds on the crazy meter. (Not that I want to be that scary ever. I'm all about living in a drama free zone. It's just interesting to me to contemplate the alien thinking that must happen to create such a wacko situation.)

Another oddity (this time of the passive variety) in my neighborhood. There is a large metal sculpture in one of the yards around here. The yard and the house are pretty ordinary - average size, a little unkempt, close to a main road. And there is this huge, (sort of rusty in places), skeletal Rhinoceros. Life size. Placid. Completely weird. His pieces and parts look like they were scavenged from many different machines. And there he grazes rustily. Among some weeds.

At the Bolin Creek trail down by the community center there is some new graffiti. Someone has spray painted an anti-war message on the sidewalk. It's about the size of an index card, yet totally readable. It is tucked up into the corner on a sidewalk square. Very tidy. Someone else (well - I don't know that for sure - possibly it's the same person) has stenciled some scattered, red scarabs across a retaining wall. There are more painted in a wandering path on the sidewalk and there is one lone beetle decorating a road sign nearby. They are stylized and quite large. Metal mammoths, legible graffiti, stenciled bugs: it's a trifle strange, my neighborhood.

Aren't you dying to come visit and get the tour? "Here is where that guy's rims were repo'd. Look over there? See that? It's yard art. That? That's Chapel Hill's idea of graffiti. And did you know - here you can buy WINE in the grocery store? Swear! Oh, and I have us booked for Aveda at eleven."

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