Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I've turned into hyper-vigilant old guy

I'm not sure that I would have cared a few years ago. Maybe. Maybe not. Last night, though, I cared. Tremendously. On my way home from a late work session -- trying to stay on top of things before our long weekend up north -- I saw some kids walking down the road not too far from my house breaking signs. Yep, these four geniuses about 16 to 20 years old had broken one office building's parking lot sign and were starting work on another as I drove back to follow them.

I didn't have my cell phone so I had to drive to the police station, describe the kids as best I could to the dispatch officer and hope they got someone out there in time to find the kids.

This is hardly a major crime. But it infuriated me. I so wanted the police to nail these "punks." What if they were out breaking wooden fences or porch posts or other property in peoples' yards? Surely that would be worthy of a phone call or trip to the police station. So why did I feel like a hyper-vigilant old guy, a tattle-tale?

I definitely don't want to live in a community where vandalism is ignored or fluffed off as minor. A few years ago, we moved away from the town in which I had grown up because, among other things, things like I saw last night were becoming more common, or at least seemingly so.

I've found myself not only being concerned for the local businesses and neighbors but also being motivated to protect my own investment. When there have been issues in the area over the last several years, I've caught myself saying, "I pay too much in taxes to put up with _______." That minding the wallet mentality is maybe what has turned me into hyper-vigilant old guy. Perhaps if my motivation was purely altruistic, I could convince myself I'm "civic minded."

Be that as it may, I don't see myself changing back to the young guy that didn't care what others did. I fully expect I'll become more crotchety.

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