Monday, September 13, 2010


I have always felt like we live in Mayberry R.F.D. Any minute I expect to see Andy Taylor and his little bare-foot boy Opie come walking down my street with their fishin’ poles and a can of worms.

It’s just that kind of a place.

We are not careless, mind you. We lock our doors at night or when we’re away from the house during the day. However, if we’re home, our doors and windows are usually wide open, our garage door is usually up, and the air is usually filled with the sounds of kids and bikes and lawn mowers.

Our house doesn’t have security bars or window alarms or pit bulls or motion lights or home security systems. Anybody with a fingernail file and a roll of duct tape could probably break in and steal our 20-year-old television quicker than you could say “Aunt Bea.”

That’s why it was a little unnerving last week when a neighbor who lives down the street from us stopped to warn us about a local crime spree. A nearby mobile home park has been a hotbed of attention from our local police department. Our neighbor had heard (second hand, but that still counts) that there’s a group of meth addicts living at that mobile home park who have robbed homes in broad daylight—looking for money, tools, electronics, or anything they can sell or pawn to support their meth habit.

I heard they go into garages where the door is left open, our neighbor cautioned.

They might even walk into houses when people are home, looting the inside while the occupants are out in their yards, our neighbor warned.

I’ve heard they are so desperate for drugs that they have become bold and ruthless, our neighbor claimed.

So for a couple of days, I faithfully shut our garage door. I conscientiously locked the doors to our house every time I went in and out. I was constantly on guard for people who looked like meth addicts roaming at large down our maple tree-lined street. I started looking suspiciously at the neighbors; how did I know that they weren’t the meth addicts cleverly disguised as 80-year-old spinster sisters or a retired pastor and his wife?

Everybody’s eyes started looking a little glassy to me.

Two days passed. My house was a fortress.

During those two days, not a single crazed meth addict tried to break into my locked-up-tighter-than-a-drum, claustrophobic house. I felt light headed, breathing the same stale air—twice, three, four times—knowing that each breath of recycled air contained less oxygen than the breath before. I started exhibiting many of the same symptoms as a meth addict myself: anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia (What was that noise? Was someone trying to break in??)

On day No. 3, I furtively lifted the drawn shades on my kitchen window and peeked outside. That’s when I noticed that the rest of the neighborhood looked like it always did: kids, bikes, dogs, lawnmowers, flowers, birds, open garage doors, Sheriff Andy and Opie going fishing. The usual.

Not a single meth addict in sight.

So I unlocked my doors. I pulled back the curtains and raised the shades as far as they would go. I opened my windows and let the cool September air blow through my house. And I felt safer and happier than I had in days.

1 comment:

bd said...

The 50's were a great era :-)