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Wednesday, August 21, 2002

That "Rough Area Two Streets Over"

About two years on January 1 someone got into my wife's car. We don't think they stole anything, but they did leave behind some muddy footprints.

Being the day after New Year's Eve, I imagine someone was drunk, confused in the dark (or both) and simply got into the wrong car, then left when they realized it wasn't theirs. (It wasn't locked because, being freakin' cold that day, the locks froze in the up position.)

Just to be safe, we called the police to file a report. Why? Well, if anything important did turn up missing or we discovered some damage, we'd need the report for insurance purposes.

The cop was very nice. He took the report and mentioned that our street was usually very quiet. There were hardly any requests for the police from our area. But, he claimed, there was "a rough area two streets over."

This concept of a "rough area two streets over" has taken on a life of its own in my wife's mind. Every now and then we'll drive by that neighborhood, and my wife will say, "That's a rough area."

Last week she took a long walk and informed me she'd walked through part of "that rough area two streets over."

That conjurs an image of cigarette-smoking youths with doo-wop hairdos snapping their fingers and flicking open switchblade knives. Girls would hang out the windows of crowded apartment buildings and yell, "Hey, Vinny, are you gonna get some diapers for our baby or do I have to call your mutha?" Sirens would blare. Old men would ogle women and flash naughty grins. A priest would attempt to round up urchins and find constructive activities for them. A cop with an Irish accent would twirl his nightstick and ask potential wrongdoers, "What's all this, then?"

Yep. My wife makes it sound like Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950s.

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