There is really no such thing as a dull life, you know. Each person lives an adventure of unimaginable proportions, if only he would wake up enough to relish it. Things are constantly moving, changing, happening! Yes, even -- and maybe especially -- in the 'burbs. The suburbs are the closest thing nowadays to those quiet English villages where tragedy and comedy lay together uneasily under the seeming calm surface, waiting only for an eye keen enough and a hand sure enough to bring them to life on paper. Jane Austen knew well that 3 or 4 families in a country village is the very thing to explore and mine for all the drama, pathos, hilarity, and complexity of the human experience. These villages and suburbs are places where you actually know your neighbors; where folks are settled longer than a one-year lease; where pets and kids and falling leaves blur property lines and vex calm tempers; where malcontent simmers constantly with occasional amusing bubblings over into rage. Here we are all together, the village or modern suburb says, and we must learn to live with each other. Yes, this we must do, even when our kids get drunk and drive their cars onto neighbors' lawns and then abandon the vehicles without so much as a howdy-do to the surprised and confounded homeowner.
OK, not my kid. She's only nine -- and I hope and pray she will never make such a series of bad decisions that would lead to her driving while intoxicated, missing a left turn onto a road, careening her Thunderbird coupe over a 3-foot-tall bush into someone's front yard, making an deeply-grooved tire-tread arc on the lawn, and then, for a grand finale, smashing the driver's side headlight into that unfortunate neighbor's tree. And, should she be so ridiculously misguided as to perpetuate this reckless scenario, I do hope that she would never be so craven as to exit said vehicle post haste and skedaddle her way home on foot without any sort of attempt to let the homeowner know what outrage has come to pass in his front yard.
As you may have guessed, this is -- as close as I can reconstruct -- an actual event that took place Monday night in this hotbed of human frailty and absurdity known as the suburbs. What I know is this: sometime between 6:15 PM, when Sadie and I walked home after missing our bus to her dance class and crossed our front lawn to get to our front door and 6:45 PM, when Sadie and I pulled out of the garage to drive to dance class instead, some idiot crashed his (formerly very nice) car into our front yard. And it was completely in our front yard -- none of this half on the street or sidewalk nonsense for our ambitious drunk driver. Our front yard is completely lined with bushes and trees, so he somehow jumped a bush (taking with him a good chunk of its foliage) and nicked an ornamental plum tree on his way in, then came to his ignominious stop with his car's front end firmly lodged into another ornamental plum before his poltroonish exit, stage right. And he never even rang our doorbell to see if anyone was home.
(Now, you may ask, as the policeman did, how it was that I managed not to hear this extravagant exercise in dastardly driving, since I was home the entire time. Well, I did hear a screeching of tires while I was gathering laundry sometime close to 6:30 PM; but, our house is situated on a particularly ill-planned intersection with several blind spots, so the screeching of tires is a common enough occurrence that I thought nothing of this particular instance. Plus, Sadie was listening to her Narnia audiobooks rather loudly, so that also impaired my ability to hear whatever mischief was afoot --awheel? -- outside.)
So, instead of dance class, we had a very interesting evening with police and security and a tow truck driver and a poor, haggard-looking old man to whom the car belonged. Every problem he has had with his extremely troubled and troublesome son was written on his face. Apparently, this was not the first time police had come knocking on his door. And so, there you have it: comedy and tragedy, inseparable, inexhaustible, in secula. That's the 'burbs for you.