So I have this obsession with reading the crime reports in the Living Local section of the paper on Thursdays. I don't know why. We live in a pretty safe neighborhood, at least, I feel pretty safe noodling around out there even if I don't usually go out after dark (not really because of safety concerns but because I fall asleep very very early).
But I always read the crime reports, and usually they're just repeats of "an assault was reported" or a "shoplifting incident was reported," although this weekend some guy jogging got knocked over and punched a lot, which is kind of hard to understand without more context. (Jog. Jog. Jogjogjogjog KICK PUNCH. Like that?)
Also, this week someone apparently tried to steal a stove. The report read "someone attempted to remove a stove from a business. When confronted by an employee, the person drew a gun and then fled."
Um. What? We don't have a stove store that I know of, so I'm having visions of someone, like, trying to pry up a stove from the kitchen of a restaurant and then someone being like oh hey what are you doing, you are lifting with your back, and you are not wearing one of those girdle-y things, we could be liable OH A GUN WHAT OKAY.
I think this neighborhood is safer, relatively speaking, than the old one where I lived although nothing bad ever actually happened to me or anyone I knew while I was living there. I did a lot more walking after dark there because I was not trying to pretend that nothing is real by sleeping all the time like I do now and I developed a pretty good strategy for avoiding crazy people, which is to act like an even crazier person. It goes like this:
Crazy person: Oh hi, I am crazy, I need money/a ride/cigarettes/to talk to you/your number/insert here
Crazy person: .....
Me: drools harder, makes one eye wander, yanks at hair
Crazy person: Okay. God bless, now. backs away
There was the ur-crazy woman though, who was like the distillation of all the craziness and sadness and despair of that stretch of Route 1. She was like the embodiment of the broken glass and scabby motels and empty lots and pollution of the highway. Ur-crazy woman was scary skinny, with skin like glove leather covered in ruts and seams, and she dressed like a toddler-ballerina-prostitute, in shredded tutus and pigtails and lots and lots of badly applied makeup, like she was trying to draw another face on top of hers. Ur-crazy woman noodled around by the sides of the highway and sometimes would dart into traffic or randomly walk across all the lanes and shriek curses at the cars in this weird, gritty voice that sounded way too big for her, and you would just kind of have to sit and wait for her to cross and be like did I lock my car doors, I sure hope so and feel very awkward and sad/angry on behalf of ur-crazy woman.
I don't live there now and I wonder sometimes if ur-crazy woman is still out there, shrieking and flipping off the cars, or if she finally got hit by one or put away, or if ur-crazy woman is in fact not really human at all, but is just getting crazier and leatherier and metastasizing into a human-shaped form of crazy cancer that will always be on that particular stretch of the highway.