Sunday, April 01, 2007

Some spray paint

Our garage got tagged last week. Not in the cool del.icio.us way, but by some idiot with a can of silver spray paint. It's not even good graffiti. If someone had done a cool bubbly-lettered six-color mural on our garage, I'd be fine with that -- or at least more fine. Instead, we got a name ("Keion") and a gang name ("10th stREEt waRRIoRs") in bad block printing. Our neighbor Joe got the word "BiTCh" on his garage; other neighbors got more Keion and warriors. I got some graffiti remover at the hardware store, but I haven't had a chance to try it out. I suspect it might work on Joe's metal garage door, but probably not on the rough cedar fence across the alley. What I can't remove, I'm planning on painting over. I need to talk to the guy with the cedar fence across the alley and see if he cares if I paint it white; it'll only take me an hour, and I'll be happier not seeing Keion's name every time I drive by.

The amusing/sad part is that only one neighbor called the police, and that was the neighbor who saw the guy doing the spray painting. And, of course, the police didn't care. Because the police never care. I don't think they even sent a car. To my knowledge, we and our neighbors have called in three home break-ins, two car break-ins, two sets of gunshots, and two vandalisms, and the police have yet to actually send someone out to investigate. They give you a case number over the phone so you can make an insurance claim, which you never file because it's cheaper to fix the damage yourself than pay your increased insurance rates. We've hit the point in our neighborhood where we don't even call in gunshots; the police don't actively investigate anything anymore, so if you didn't see exactly who did the shooting and where they went afterwards, there's no point calling. Even if you do, they tend to show up at your house first, then make a big show of pointing to where the disturbance happened before they walk down to talk to the actual perpetrators. They have to know as well as we do that you'll spend the next year replacing all the windows your irate neighbors shoot out; I'm pretty sure they do it to discourage you from calling. They're probably overworked writing parking tickets or arresting litterers in nice neighborhoods.

Sorry if I sound a little bitter. I'm just momentarily tired of our crappy neighborhood. I like our neighbors, and I like our house, and I like our incredibly cute feral cat colony. But sometimes I wish I lived in a neighborhood where I didn't have to worry about leaving the lawnmower outside when I run in to get a drink of water. And I wish the police actually cared about major crimes in our bad neighborhoods as much as they seem to care about minor nuisances in our expensive neighborhoods.

So I'm going to just paint over the graffiti. When it happens again, I'll paint over it again. With luck Keion will run out of silver spray paint before I run out of white exterior-grade latex.

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