So, I’ve stopped calling the police on people eating McDonalds breakfast sandwiches, but I haven’t forgotten my duty as a member of the Neighborhood Watch. Neither has my neighbor, Cathy.
She arrived the other day for our English co-op and asked for the number of the police. She had seen two muscular, shaved-headed young men on bicycles about an hour before, and as she was leaving her house, saw them AGAIN. They were obviously cruising the neighborhood looking for something and not just out for a quiet Thursday morning bike ride.
I proudly showed her the number displayed prominently on my fridge (once you moved a couple of hand-drawn pictures of Spiderman and Obi Wan Kenobi) and handed her the phone. After she did her civic duty, we agreed that I would keep an eye out for bicyclists while I was teaching my part of the English class, since I was in the front room with a good view of the street.
I didn’t actually see them, although we had a brief moment of excitement when I did spot a bicycle. It turned out to be an overweight 11-year-old boy who was having trouble steering, but he had a helmet on, so I let it go. For the remainder of the class, my students dissolved into laughter every time he wobbled past, but I took the opportunity to instruct them on the importance of a Neighborhood Watch program and explained that this was just a good reminder that we should all keep an eye out. I’m sure they appreciated the tip.
After everyone had gone home, my almost-15 year old son asked me what exactly I had been looking for. I described to him the suspicious cyclists as he looked at me with increasing surprise.
“Do you know who those men were?” he asked incredulously.
“No!” I exclaimed breathlessly. “Do you know something about them?”
“Uh, yeah,” he sighed. “Those are the two undercover cops the City just assigned to our neighborhood. Dad heard about it at that Neighborhood Watch meeting, remember?”
Okay, so we called the police on themselves. They must be happy that we’re doing such a good job watching.