It's been a lovely summer by Ontario standards — warm and breezy, rather than the humid and hot suffocation we're used to. Still, so long as heating and food are not an issue, I generally prefer winter to summer because winter is quiet. Small towns don't have quiet summers. Their youths are too busy walking up and down the streets deep into the night, getting angrier and angrier because "there's nothing to do." Tempers get especially tetchy if the kids have indulged in the latest chemical concoction. Now that marijuana is being laced with crank, the only way a kid's going to get mellow is through clean living. Fie on that! Let's do something nasty! Break a window, steal something! Start a fight! Start a fire!!
I'll never forget our meeting with the lawyer when we bought the house here. He had this beatific smile on his face as we signed the papers. "So, small town living, eh?" said he. "The great thing about small towns is they have so much less crime."
He went on to expound the hoary theory that because everyone knew everyone, the parents of would-be offenders were shamed into tightening the leash on their kids. Clearly this was not a criminal lawyer. We were looking forward to the move from city to small town, but harbored no illusions about the crime rate. My in-laws were already living here, and gave us updates on who'd been arrested for what. Besides, I'd spent half my childhood in a small town, half in the city, and could attest that the number of times I'd been offered "a thumping" (or worse) by townies greatly exceeded any such threats I'd received from cityfolk — and I'd been an urban cyclist.
In the eight years we've lived here, I've only called the police twice (last night being the second time, which is what gets me musing). Mind you, there again I'm faced with a disparity: my previous decade in the city only required one such summons, and that was over a case of double-parking. Out here I made both calls out of concern for my family's safety.
Last night's episode didn't amount to much. Some kids appeared to be interested in our shed, and a pickup truck was parked nearby. This was at 2:00 in the morning, so I made the call. Had it been daylight, I would have walked over and introduced myself but given the hour I figured the police were better equipped for that sort of thing. Three cruisers and a lot of high-beam searchlighting later, the kids were gone while the pickup truck remained. The owner of the truck couldn't be found, but this morning he got in and drove off as if nothing had happened.
In the end, I guess nothing did. All in all a quiet night, really. Just not as quiet as it gets in winter.