gettin' loud, breakin' stuff
A surprisingly cool evening after a warm week.
Windows open to let the house breathe.
To bed with gentle breezes and the sounds of tranquility:
squirrels and birds rustling branches,
neighbors returning home.
Peace and comfort.
An evening which puts the “heart” in the heartland.
And then at peak-peace, 2:15, a rambunctious crowd of youngsters comes walking, running, thumping, slapping, shouting, singing their way down Catherine Street, just outside my window.
The sudden sound of breaking glass as a bottle goes down hard.
A noisy scattering.
You get stuff like this, living in a college town - although I assume it happens in less cerebral places as well. You don’t have to be valedictorian to break a bottle in the street.
None of this clamorous crowd is public enemy number one. A broken bottle is not a big deal. Waking my neighborhood isn’t either, we’ll get over it. Maybe we won’t even remember it by morning. If a broken bottle is my biggest public safety concern, I think I live in a pretty decent place.
But still…. Catherine Street is my street, and it’s my neighbors’ street. Small children with their dads learn to ride bicycles in Catherine Street. Runners love the hill that starts down at 7th and climbs up to 10th. Skaters love it in the other direction. Dogs get walked on Catherine Street. Lots of them.
And now it’s covered in broken glass: dangerous to paws and feet and wheels and tires.
Prowling the city in a pack, getting a little loud and breaking a little glass is part of being young and free. But if you’re old enough to be doing that, you’re also old enough to be called-out by the crabby old man of the neighborhood. If you’re old enough to be unsupervised, you’re old enough to be thinking about the kind of community you want to live in, and your role as a member of it.
And remember that getting loud and breaking things in someone’s neighborhood is a provocative act - there may be a reaction. I’m not threatening or promoting violence, that’s not my style, but I can’t speak for all of my neighbors. So the next time you’re feeling a little reflective and self-analytical, you might want to contemplate how others may perceive your rowdy good time as an invitation to get rowdy right back attcha.
The next time you come through here, whether it’s a solo drunken stumble, another prowl with your crew, or walking to campus in the middle of the day - do you want this street to be covered in broken glass? Is that your vision of a great community to live in? If not, why did you break the bottle?