Sunday, April 25, 2010

Can I see your ID?

A week ago after dark I noticed a few police cars parked across the street from us. I pointed this out to my wife, and she had a brilliant idea to pop some popcorn and see what neighbor was getting busted this time! When we didn't see anything going on, we went back to cleaning grapes for our trip to Mesa, Arizona the following day. A few minutes later I opened the back door to go outside and noticed that the door to the Arizona room was open, which occasionally happens when the kids play outside. I stepped inside just to make sure some thief hadn't come in our backyard to try to steal anything from the Arizona room. As I looked down the length of the room I noticed a couple of flashlights through the windows that look into the back yard. As I turned to look at them, they both came up to shine in my face. It's amazing how many things can run through your mind in a split second! Frozen in place, all I could do was say, "Hi! Can I help you?" Fortunately, they identified themselves immediately as the Tucson police.

I turned on the lights to the back yard and they informed me that a neighbor had called to report that our van door was open and it looked like someone may have broken into it. I went over and checked it out, but everything was still there. It looks like the kids left the van door open too! I closed the door and resolved to lock the back gate more often to better ensure against theft--since we have been the victims of it since moving to Tucson. It was at that point that the police officers asked me for identification. It almost made me laugh, since the thought passed through my mind to say, "Do you know who I am?", and then belligerently badger them all the way to their vehicle. Okay, so I didn't give the thought serious consideration, but the question did bring to mind the incident between Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and a Massachusetts' police officer last summer. I respect the job the police have to do and I'm sure they've probably heard enough people give them that line since the Gates' incident.

I was thankful that we had a vigilant neighbor that was willing to call the police when he saw something that looked suspicious.

My wife, who had been inside, had a different experience. When she heard me say, "Hi! Can I help you?", she thought someone hiding from the police, whose vehicles were parked out front, had hidden in our back yard. Some of the thoughts passing through her mind were, "Should I call the police? Should I close and lock the back door?" etc.

In the end, we were relieved that nothing had happened, but we found it somewhat ironic that the police had come for us and not for the drug-dealing neighbor across the street.


HegstromPrattFamily said...

Oh man, I would have been scared and unhappy. I'm glad everything was O.K.

Richins Family said...

I am glad that Deb didn't lock you out. I can't imagine that happening. I can only imagine the freeze that I would go into. I am surprized you were able to speak at all. Way to be the protector and standing strong in a scary situation. We are also glad that it wasn't a outlaw on the run.

rantipoler said...

I'm so glad you guys are okay and that you have a vigilant neighbor. And what's an Arizona room? Is it like a screened-in porch? Here in TN those are called sunrooms and in Fl they're called Lanais. Go figure.

Arrow said...

Yeah--an Arizona room is a lanai--a screened porch/patio--in our case it's actually just windows and a sliding doors--so it probably doesn't fit the technical definition of an Arizona room. According to Wikipedia, citing the Arizona Republic, they were used for sleeping in Arizona before air conditioning. Naturally, Arizonans wanted to have their own term for it instead of adopting a word of Hawaiian origin!!!