Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Civic Responsibility

When I was still in high school I came outside one evening and smelled what I thought was gas. It was everywhere. It wasn't coming from my house, but because it was so pervasive I couldn't tell from which of my neighbors' homes it was coming. So I went straight inside and called 911. Soon after the fire department arrived with a giant ladder truck. Turns out it was just the city spraying for mosquitoes. The firemen weren't angry and, in fact, gave me a folksy, hair tousling, aw-shuck it's-alright-kid, kind of pass.

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.

Today I took our Airstream in for minor repairs. Taking the Stream in, however, requires fully disconnecting and driving away. I thought I'd save time and leave our modem and wireless router still connected to the external power post and cable box instead of properly packing it away. When I returned this evening I saw no modem, no router and no cables. I quietly chided myself for setting out such an attractive invitation to thieves...and then I called the Travis County Sheriff's Department non-emergency number. Just last week, Deputy Kichens of the same department led our community's neighborhood watch meeting and told us that if we have something stolen, no matter how small or silly, to call it in. So I did. I explained to Deputy Medrano that I knew leaving the equipment out was foolish, but that Deputy Kichens instructed us to call in any and all illegal activity. He was incredulous that my outdoor set-up even worked. Half of his visit was explaining how Lauren and I lived: yes two of us live here; yes with our dog; no this is not an old military trailer, it's an Airstream; no we're not newlyweds, but yes, I guess you could say we haven't been married long enough that we're still comfortable living this close.

The real hair tousling, though, came when Lauren got home. Apparently she'd seen my foolish decision to leave out the router and modem to the weather and thieves and stashed it away. I have no idea how to tell Deputy Medrano that I'm even dumber than he originally thought. Maybe just like that.