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Serious airtime in the old ‘hood

September 9, 2010

After hitting the floor leaping and bounding and cheering my realtor’s 7:07 AM e-mail announcing that appraisal and lender were copacetic and the buyers of our house are clear to close, I took care of a few details pursuant to our move, burning more phone minutes than I would in a normal two-week period. I spoke with six utilities providers and a postmaster. In between, I exchanged several e-mails with two realtors and two title companies. I checked off the task of address changes with banks, including former banks, to make sure we receive our 1099s. We are on the move.

After years of dreading a jury summons — we all have our little peculiar phobias — and experiencing palpable relief every day that one was not delivered, I enjoyed the cosmic joke of receiving one today. The futile summons requires me to appear exactly one month after I will have become a resident of another county. I have received three jury summonses in my life. The first was from Montana and forwarded to me in Washington, right after I moved. The second was a summons to serve on a Federal court jury, and I was perfunctorily dismissed, not because I was an attorney, but because I had an attitude about the defendant, the VA. And now, another escape for want of jurisdiction. Somehow, the prospect of being summoned in the future to serve on a jury in my new small-town county courthouse is not terrifying. I think the phobia was place-specific. I am also afraid of parking garages, and I think those will be avoidable, if indeed such things exist at all in Clarkston.

A police-attended incident in our neighborhood yesterday did little to rouse any remnants of regret in my heart over our departure. The put-upon fellow (“subject” in police report parlance), normally a decent neighbor, apparently had every right to be annoyed, but someone evidently objected to the extreme volume, or rageful tone, or deplorable choice of language, or all of the above, of his cell phone conversation, which was taking place in the street. Between epithets to his interlocutor, he screamed to everyone else within earshot — likely several miles — that his business wasn’t anybody else’s business. My husband and I were just returning home from an errand when all of this was going on. I greeted one of the cops as we walked to our door from the car, mentioning how little these things would cause me to miss the old neighborhood. He asked pleasantly whether we were really moving, and I pointed to the sold sign in front of our house. He beamed and congratulated me. The Tacoma police always amaze me, the way they can be warm and jocular with a peaceable person, and coolly assertive but always congenial with a “subject.” They also meet deadly force with deadly force, and they take a lot of flak for it. They talked my neighbor down with firmness and understanding, patiently explaining how a neighbor might have thought violence was possible, and that he should not blame anyone for calling the police. The officer I greeted said ours is a quiet neighborhood normally, and I agreed, with the proviso that it was becoming somewhat transitional, which he acknowledged with a sympathetic nod. I’ve no doubt he would rather be called to our neighborhood than to Crip Central, two miles away.

We will soon be 350 miles away. And onward has never looked better.

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