Just to let you know both our cars were rifled through last night. Neither was locked and I don't see any damage but the glove compartments were searched through and loose change taken …I've called the police to report it. I guess we'll start locking our cars now.
I sent a sympathetic reply, resisting the impulse to add, “ARE YOU SERIOUS? YOU HAVEN’T BEEN LOCKING YOUR CARS?” That would have been rubbing salt in the wounds.
We live on a one-block dead end with six houses, a twenty-minute walk from Harvard Square. With thirteen years in the ‘hood I’m a newbie; there are two couples in their seventies whose almost middle-aged children were born and raised here. I rent the first floor of a house, with my landlords on the second floor. Between our house and the one next door is a brick patio we call “Red Square” (this is the People’s Republic of Cambridge), where we have potluck cook-outs every Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. I’m usually the grill man.
All of which is to say that it’s a close-knit little street—as bucolic as you get in the city—but it’s not Mayberry or Pleasantville. Nonetheless there are enough people in this part of town who leave their cars unlocked that someone’s decided it’s worth their time to skulk around at oh-dark-hundred trying doors.
I don't understand people who leave their cars unlocked. I always lock mine wherever I go. When I visit the country I sometimes get kidded for being a paranoid city boy. But my friends are welcome to their fun; be just my luck to leave my car unlocked the night some bear decided he needed a new GPS.
So now my neighbors lock their cars. For a while they’ll probably feel mad and sad when they do, but sooner or later that’ll fade and it’ll become automatic. Just one of the countless adjustments we make because we realize not everyone’s honest and kind. No big deal, really.
But for them, the world that’s our little street will never be quite the same. And though they might have been a little naïve I’m sorry for what they’ve lost—something a bit more than a fistful of quarters.
Charles Coe is author of two books of poetry: “All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents” and “Picnic on the Moon,” both published by Leapfrog Press. His poetry has appeared in a number of literary reviews and anthologies, including Poesis, The Mom Egg, Solstice Literary Review, and Urban Nature. A novella, Spin Cycles, will be published by Gemma Media in September, 2014. He is the winner of a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Charles’s poems have been set by a number of composers, including Beth Denisch, Julia Carey and Robert Moran. A short film based on his poem “Fortress” is currently in production by filmmaker Roberto Mighty. Charles is co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union, a labor union for freelance writers. He has been selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light for 2014.”