Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Flowers Appear In the Middle of My 911 Call (Violas, Specifically)
I was doing my nightly security check with my vehicle, and I'd spotted "colorful jacket guy" dealing drugs in front of 416 30th, the "problem child of the block." He had three cars lined up to do business, like it was the (expletive) drive-through window at White Castle...
...so I called 911. Of course. It was so handy knowing the street address of the house in question. I sat in my car until the squad appeared and went by. I thought, "I'll get inside my house and observe through the second story window."
Truthfully, I can't see much from up there when it comes to "416," but I can hear quite a bit. As I walked to the door, I thought, "What is that sitting on the steps?"
I picked it up. A pot of flowers! There was a card tucked inside. Even in the darkness I could make out the "Century 21" logo and the photo of a young female real estate agent with reddish hair past her shoulders.
Be still my foolish heart! Was it Juley Viger? Had she switched from River Realty to Century 21 and this was her way of telling me with FLOWERS?
I peered at the card more closely. No, not Juley. The picture really reminded me of Juley, but it wasn't her. The back of the card said, "Welcome to the North Side."
This was much nicer than a bullet to the chest, I thought. Over by 416 30th I heard a dog barking, controlled but excited, like a police dog.
I started to go inside and I stepped on something in the dark. A box which had been next to or beneath the flowers. Could it be candy? For moi? My foot had only crushed the box slightly, and not torn it open. Stepping on it didn't matter...it was flower seeds. Perennials, to be specific.
Oh, my word! I put out a request on this blog and a hot young female real estate agent left flowers at my door step!
Hey, world-at-large, I could really use GRASS SEED for the dirt-packed, nasty lawn over at 416, and a ladder to board up second story windows (even a crappy old ladder would be fine) and, yeah, paint. Loads of paint. Every color, but especially your whites, browns, grays, the color of the walls owned by decent people before taggers hit them.
(Yeah, it's true I've got friends who tag. I tell them to grow out of it)
Anyway, a big thanks to Connie Nompelis of Century 21, Luger Realty. (I looked her up on the Internet. Husband. Passion for renovation. Is she another contender for Queen Of North Side Real Estate? Looks like she wants to give Juley Viger a run for the money)
Anyway, once I got to my second story I saw two more squads go by, or maybe it was the same cop repeatedly circling the block...but I got the impression it was two more squads. I could actually touch the branches of the large, mature tree in my yard. I thought about how it would be so cool to have a little "observation deck" at the top of that tree.
The next day, during my morning patrol, the drug dealer halfway confronted me as I walked to Scott 'n' Scott's house to see if I could give away the pot of flowers. I mean, I'm crazy about the flowers, but they'd probably die in my hands and it's the thought that counts...and what I was really excited about was the SEED, my word, 50,000 seeds in the Burpee Seed Shaker box, woooo! The very word "Burpee" brings back fond memories of gardening on our rural farm.
So, yeah, I was standing there in Scott's yard...holding a flower pot with lovely violas...and the same drug dealer from the night before (but now wearing a black jacket instead of his other quite distinctive jacket) walked by with a brown pit bull NOT ON A LEASH. The pit bull rushed toward me, but then the drug dealer called it back.
"Don't follow me, man," he snarled at me, but he had a pleading tone.
"I'm not following you, I'm going that way," I said, pointing toward Peter and Joy's house.
"Don't be following me," he said. "Don't be doing that (expletive for female anatomy) (expletive for posterior) (expletive for excrement). I respect you. You respect me."
"I'm not following you, sir," I said. And he continued down the block with his unleashed pit bull.
This is the same guy who, a couple days ago, said to me, "Those are just my friends I smoke weed with. You don't need to be calling 911 on me" as he got in a car that pulled up.
I know exactly what he's doing. And if I see him dealing on the corner, I'll keep calling 911, even if I'm just racking up calls for the stats.
Yeah, I know people complain (and rightly so) about 911 response time, but if you call the cops about a dealer or a prostitute after midnight, their response time is MUCH faster. And at 3 in the morning it can only be described as (expletive) QUICK.
Want to clean up your neighborhood while dealing with the notoriously slow police response time? Stay up until 3 in the morning. Drive around, if you must. Call in the prostitutes and the dealers. Do it. And if they don't respond, you're still racking up the stats.
But, you know, this is what happens when you call 911 on drug dealing on the North Side. The next day the drug dealer confronts you. With his pit bull. And there you stand, armed with a (expletive) pot of flowers.
Oh, excuse me. I have to say...it was a WONDERFUL pot of flowers.
Next I went to Peter and Joy's house to see if I could unload the violas like a lovely little foundling from my doorstep, but Joy didn't answer though her white minivan was parked out front.
So I went to the house of the older lady who wants to remain anonymous (see the Minn Post article) where I should have gone all along. Oh, the wonderfulness of this lady and her fantastic gardening efforts! She has a Polish accent, and given her age she must have been, in her lifetime, a witness to unspeakable horrors.
I met her during the "tour of progress" (which I will blog about shortly) when Kevin Gulden introduced me. The Older Lady Who Gardens told me her block was once the location of a big horse stables. This she had learned from her father, who acquired the information from older folks alive when she--the old woman--was just a girl.
(Yeah, she's been around that house a LONG TIME)
Sometimes, during those early years, they would be gardening (the woman and her father, together) and they'd find a horse shoe in the soil.
I put the pot of violas on her steps. And a few hours later, when Jacob the camera guy showed up to shoot yet more video for Minn Post, I saw the flower pot had moved into her side yard, and was sitting in a good and sunny location. Meanwhile, I made great use of the flower seeds to beautify "the problem child of the block" while Jacob shot video for Minn Post.
More on that later.