Coming back from walking my dog today--Christmas Day, juggling a Starbucks latte and a bag of pastries--I noticed a car had been broken into. There was a duffel bag in the back seat, unzipped, that kind of looked like a golf bag. That's a little too much temptation for some of the junkies around here, so I before I saw the plates I knew the owner didn't live nearby.
I'm a concerned citizen in a rapidly declining, gang-infested neighborhood, so I stopped to ask a few neighbors if they had guests (no), then made a call to the po po to do a little snitchin'. Here's the conversation:
"Non-emergency services!" said a chipper female who sounded like smiley emoticons were floating out of her mouth. No further prompting for me to speak, so I tentatively started in.
"Uh, I'd like to report a car that has had its rear, driver's side window broken into. Wisconsin plates. I'm not the unfortunate tourist owner."
"If you're not the owner, there's nothing we can do but wait for them to call in!" I pictured her in an elf costume with a jar of candy canes on her desk.
"Seriously? You can't run a trace and get their number?"
"No, they will have to call, especially if they are from out of state!"
"And if I try to call Wisconsin State Patrol and see if they can help?"
"They won't be able to give you any information for security reasons!"
("The ship has sailed on security, lady," I wanted to say, but didn't.) "Okay, well. Uh. May I give you their license plate number?"
"Sure!" She chirped. Has this woman ever had a bad day?
"It's 4**-***. I'd also like to give you the intersection where it's parked." I waited through 30 seconds of silence, half expecting to hear hold music in the form of Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters' jazzy rendition of "Jingle Bells".
"*****-**st Ave. N.E. Gang territory, as you can no doubt see, so please add this to all the other stuff that goes on around here."
"Oh... Yes... Seattle, Lake City area... Okay... I'll definitely do that!"
I thanked her and hung up quickly, in case she was tempted to breach protocol and wish me a Merry Christmas. It was like talking to a cruise director; useless, but pleasant nonetheless.