Excitement in the ‘Hood

September 30, 2008

Excitement of the moment sometimes clouds my judgment. That’s the inescapable conclusion from a phone conversation with a Portland police dispatcher yesterday.

I called the cops while standing next to our friends’ house up the street. They were out of town, and another neighbor had told me that a solicitor tucking a business card in their front door spotted a man inside fifteen minutes earlier.

First I rang the doorbell. My heart raced. Nobody answered. (What would I have done if the burglar came to the door?) The neighbor and I then circled the house, checking windows and doors for evidence of a break-in, never once considering the risk or that we should contact the police and let them do it. I called after we found nothing.

“Sir,” the dispatcher told me, “you might want to leave the yard in case there’s a desperate criminal inside.”

Five cops arrived within a few minutes and surrounded the house. A sister of one owner showed up with a key. No one was inside, but the solicitor came back and gave police a detailed description of the intruder. If he sneaked out, he politely locked the door behind him.

Maybe he’s the same person who broke into a house across the street, used the washing machine and dryer, and left only with clean clothes.