My house got tagged by gang vandals last week. I live right across the street from a K–8 public school, on a street that hundreds of kids walk down every day. Perfect place to get a gang message across to a lot of impressionable young people. My big, white double garage doors were just too tempting. We discovered the graffiti last Tuesday morning when we went downstairs to go to school and work. Seeing it gave me the same sick, violated feeling I had when my house was broken into during my tenure as a Peace Corps volunteer.
I took pictures of the damage, then called my landlord and the police. The woman on the other end of the graffiti hotline just sighed when I told her what had been written on my garage (XV3 28). "Yup, we see that one a lot. That's the 18th Street gang." My landlord had someone come power wash the writing away by week's end.
According to my neighbor across the street, this is pretty common. Last year, the couple next door's car was tagged. I don't feel unsafe in my neighborhood, but this kind of incident is unsettling. I hated leaving the tags up for even a day; I felt branded and dirty. It was hard to explain it to Maddie and Riley in any meaningful way, although without any explanation at all, they understood that it was not a good thing and that it had been done by people who are not nice.
I hope the doors stay clean for a while. A long while.
We had dinner with friends last night. There was not enough wine, so Mark and his adolescent son walked a couple of blocks down the road to a convenience store to pick up some more.
"We got locked in the Plaid Pantry!" they exclaimed, looking triumphant upon their return.
Turns out that when they went to pay, no one was at the register and, at first glance, no one was to be found in the store. And the front door was padlocked shut. That's all a little unsettling. They had their phones, and an nearly endless supply of snack food, but they wanted to be at the party.
A little snooping around revealed that the cashier had taken a bathroom and cooler stocking break and, thinking that no one was in the store, had locked the doors so as not to be robbed blind while he was out back. He was startled, and apologetic.
An unexpected way to spend part of Sunday evening, to be sure.