In our younger, less home-owning, child-having days, Husband & I lived in the city. At one point we sublet an apartment from friends of ours who were taking off for five months to travel the world. It was in one of those neighborhoods, ubiquitous the District, where within one block, you could find a gorgeous home selling for three quarters of a million dollars and a crack house. Often times, they were row houses actually sharing a wall between them.
We lived in a cute little condo that had pretty French doors, a bay window in the kitchen, and came with two underground parking spaces. It was a dream. Except for the guns. We heard guns on the night we moved in. We heard guns at least once a month during the five months we lived there. Mostly they were at night when we were tucked safely into bed, but it was still enough to scare the bejeezus out of me. There was a part of me that thought, "hey, this is city living! You're bound to hear a gun or two when you live in the city." And another part of me thought, "girl, get your ass out of the crack house neighborhood before someone pops a cap in it!"
And so it was, after a Memorial Day shooting, this time at 5pm instead of the wee hours of the night, and while our pretty French doors were open just begging a stray bullet to whiz in and take it's best shot, Husband and I (who were then Boyfriend and I), got the hell out of dodge and moved to a less "exciting" part of town, and then later, out of the city altogether. Not because of crime, but because you have to sell organs on the black market to be able to afford a house in the city.
So I figured I was pretty much done with the days of police-involved mayhem and madness. Until this weekend. Husband, Ethan and I were leaving Panera, having finished our 1000's of hidden calories, and were debating on a swing through Trader Joes as we meandered through the crowded parking lot.
Out of nowhere, I hear big booming voices yelling "OUT OF THE WAY!!" and 10 cars from where we are, some hairy, lanky dude goes racing by, followed by no fewer than five police men (the ones doing the yelling). There were police cars pulling into the parking lot at breakneck speeds, actually peeling out to get around corners, so they could park, get out on foot and join the chase.
Husband, with Ethan in arms, and I froze and stood, in the middle of the parking lot, watching the scene unfold. I don't know what this guy had done, but it was definitely more than lifting a few DVDs at Best Buy. You don't get 5 cars and almost a dozen cops when it's all said and done, chasing after you.
The chase ended when the chasee made an attempt to run into the road, against traffic. It is a busy road and he busted out onto the street like it was nothing (after having torn through the parking lot without a thought as to whether or not a car was going to pummel him). But apparently, something switched on in his brain as he saw headlights coming towards him and he stopped and let them arrest him. Which they did. Quickly. And then it was over.
The whole thing lasted maybe 45 seconds. There was very little excitement beyond a few cars with lights and some guys running through a parking lot. But I kept waiting for the guns. I was thisclose to hitting the deck, right there on the pavement in front of Panera. And I would have been the only one. Everyone else just stopped and watched. Because we are so freaking desensitized to crime and criminals and men with guns racing by us.
Husband thinks I am a little overly dramatic (and most of the time I will totally give him that without an argument, because...well, if you've read 3 or 4 posts, you know), but in this particular case, I think I was justified in my freakoutedness. How hard is to believe hairy, lanky man could have whipped out a gun and started shooting? Maybe he had a whole "blaze of glory" complex going on; he certainly jumped in front of moving cars like he was looking for a showy exit.
And all of this in front of my baby. My baby. Enough to make me want to pack it all up and move to somewhere where there are more sheep than people. The side of a mountain in Vermont or something. Where there are no guns and no crazy lanky dudes with mullets (which is criminal in and of itself. I would not be surprised at all if they were charging him in connection with that hideousness) being chased by angry police men through parking lots, only feet from my baby.
I don't like living in the middle of a COPS episode. I don't live in a trailer park in Florida precisely for that reason (among about a million others, but I digress). One would think that suburbia would be somewhat safe on a Saturday afternoon, in a crowded shopping plaza. One would have to think again.