Friday, January 04, 2008

shadow life

It was a Saturday morning. The boys were at the dump, of course, and I was enjoying a leisurely shower without anyone barging in announcing on my behalf “All done! All done, Mama!”

Exiting the bathroom, I was jarred by a pounding on the door. Emily Cat and I both jumped and ran for the bedroom to wait it out. I figured it was just the usual – someone selling tamales or strawberries or Jesus. But the pounding came again. I peeked out to see a uniformed officer in the window.

Mr. Police Man is looking for someone who used to live at this address. He flashes me a wanted poster. Do I know him? Is he family?

This is not the first time I've fielded questions about people I've never met, but into whose shadow we have stepped. Back four addresses and three years ago, the place we lived was staked out while the cops determined whether we were telling the truth as to our lack of connection with the former tenant. (And that was the town where the cops are really bored – a source of panic in certain situations. Check out this flashback entry.)

Then there are the phone calls which have superseded our physical address. We've had our current number for two years now, but the creditors for the unfortunates who had it before us still call. Their tone is skeptical, as in, “You mean to tell me this is not the right number?” Dude, back off.

We are living just a step behind these lives that did not bask in a glowing spot light, but dashed off into the bushes to avoid a search light. They're just silly coincidences, I'm sure. And yet, I can't help but dwell (stick with what you do best). Is my family's association with criminality cool or creepy? (Lines are open; vote now!)

Isaac is very much in the stage where “pee-mans” are there to help people. He's not so up on the bad guy idea. He associates police with ambulances and fire engines which arrive to emergencies like when someone “goes boom down,” as well as their other official duties of delivering people to the “ha-iple” when they “no feel weal dood” and putting out “wires.” Isaac also often confuses police cars with taxi cabs. This worries me slightly, and so I feel like a police car camped in front of our house again could be a good thing – really seal the deal on the difference.

I'm not sure he'll get the chance to focus on cop vs cab, though. I think our link may be weakening. In this latest encounter, while standing in my doorway in a bathrobe before I even started shaking my head at the grainy black and white of a stocky bald man, the officer seemed to give up. He dropped the hand holding the paper as if it were weighted with cement. “Sorry to bother you,” he mumbled, and turned on his shiny black heels.

2 comments:

bobbie said...

Been there myself, Kit. Wouldn't you think the P.D. could stop into the Assessor's Office and check who lives there now? But they don't. And sometimes they demand very accusingly to see these people, as if you're hiding them.
Oh well. Chalk it up to another experience. At least your officer said he was sorry.

ruby i said...

its a renter thing, for a few years after i moved in here, i had bill collectors and law enforcement and immigration looking for people. i also received police records in the mail. apparently, sex offenders and thieves used to have their cases closed and sealed if they didn't get into trouble (or couldn't be found) for a time.

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