Things they’d arrest you for in the suburbs.

But in the city – anything goes. Need proof?

1) When we lived in our last apartment, my husband & I were awoken one night by noise in the alleyway. We looked out our 2nd floor window to find our landlord splayed on the steps outside his apartment, mumbling incoherently. What really caught our attention: he was dressed in drag and shooting up.

2) A couple years ago I was on the phone with a friend, looked out the window into our alley and spied a man standing there urinating. Middle of the day, just casually taking a wizz against my next-door neighbor’s house. I ran out and started yelling at him. He took off running down the block, fastening his pants as he went. I suppose I should be happy – another neighbor has a “pooper”.

3) Our block on summer nights is a prostitute’s dream – dark, semi-secluded with lots of tree cover. Some of the more interesting run-ins we’ve had with local hookers:

  • My husband approached a car where an illicit rendezvous was taking place. He banged on the window and told them to hit the road. The client got out of the car and threatened to kill my husband. Threatening? Not really – since the dude was standing in the middle of the street buck naked.
  • One prostitute was finishing up with a client. As I approached her car, she very considerately opened the door and proceeded to vomit on the curb. This would be just before she threw the used condom out the window.

4) Back in graduate school, I owned a Jeep Wrangler which I drove to & from campus. One morning, I left my apartment, got into my jeep to head to school, and noticed another car had pulled up right next to mine. As I was parked on a busy street, I assumed the person was just waiting to take my parking spot. Nope. I looked over (and being higher up – in a JEEP) saw Mr. Happy Hands going to town on himself, grinning up at me with enthusiasm. I did not smile back.

5) A few months later, same thing, different guy. I spent 20 minutes on I-95 trying to avoid some whack job driving right beside me, trying his utmost to get my attention, in my elevated jeep wrangler. To be safe, I now avoid all brownish Monte Carlos with Delaware plates.

6 ) My first year of graduate school, I rented an apartment right next to a guy with an unbelievable addiction to (surprise, surprise) porn. Unfortunately didn’t know this until AFTER signing the lease. He seemed to be a fairly nice guy, but I don’t think I ever saw him with a pair of pants on. Liked to hang out in the hallway in his boxers. He appeared to spend all of his waking time watching porno movies, which wouldn’t have bothered me quite so much had he been considerate enough to a) turn down the volume, or b) close his window shades. As we shared a wall – which ever-so-conveniently happened to be wood paneled (old Victorian house), I spent many waking hours wondering whether he’d drilled some sort of Porky’s style peep hole into it I’d never be able to find. I started changing in the bathroom after that. Occasionally my cat Sammy would wander out into the hallway before I could stop him. Dude would throw his door open like he was waiting for it and immediately start petting my cat. I really didn’t like that. When workmen at the building started asking me about him – “hey do you know that guy? he’s got a real problem..” etc, it got to be a bit much. A small porn collection might disturb a sensitive person, but one so massive that it’s creeping out the Big Burly Workmen? YIKES. I didn’t renew my lease.

7) Same apartment – other side. This second guy was really nice with no apparent porn addiction. A big heavyweight footballer. One night, I woke up at 4AM, my apartment filled with smoke, someone wailing on the door (porn guy in his boxers) – hallway also filled with smoke. The fire department arrived in moments, no response from the Footballer. They break down his door to find him out cold. Turns out he’d gone to the huge Greek Picnic at the Plateau here in Philly, came back wasted and decided to make some hot dogs. Unfortunately, he passed out before he took the pot off the stove. Great smoking wieners, Batman!

8) More about my jeep. Man how I loved that car. Unfortunately b/c of the soft top it was the biggest theft magnet imaginable. I had at least one radio stolen per year, sometimes two or three, and additionally had huge kicker box speakers literally pried out of the back of my car. I installed a Viper alarm system, as in: “Protected by Viper, STAND BACK” which never did anything except amuse neighborhood boys who used to love setting it off, and annoy the sh*t out of myself and everyone else w/in 200 feet. While clubbing one night, someone stole the entire TOP off my car. This was only topped by coming out one morning to find someone had stolen both doors. Man I miss that car.

9) The second apartment I had in grad school was a lovely place – with built-in bookcases and a sweet little balcony I wasn’t supposed to use, but of course I did. The down side: people were constantly leaving the front door open, so occasionally you’d hear your doorknob rattle, look out through the peep hole and see some shady guy standing there on your doormat, mumbling something about having “mistaken your apartment for someone else’s.” Yeah, okay. I came home one day from school to find someone had conveniently popped the lock open on my door and stolen the few things I’d had worth stealing: my VCR, my jewelry, and my gym bag. Of course what do I miss still? The jewelry? Nah. WELL – yes, the one turquoise ring most definitely – but NO, it would be my ratty yet irreplaceable gym shorts which were in the bag, and doubtless got tossed right into some dumpster. Cops came, took the report. No arrest, no leads. No gym shorts. Sad story.

10) Several months ago, my husband caught a 9 year old kid trying to steal our daughter’s bike off our porch. Broad daylight, middle of the afternoon, and this kid’s flat on his belly squirming up our steps, reaching out to pull the bike to him, so he can leap up on it and flee. His two companions, on their own pint-sized bikes, were waiting as lookouts in the street. So my husband comes around the corner of the house and actually catches this kid in the act. And was he scared? Crying? Shame-faced? Fat chance. He actually had a lie ready & waiting. Told us he was coming up on the porch to ask for a tire pump. Funny, I didn’t know we looked like the local service station. Unless you’re looking for the SELF SERVE. Poor dumb kid. 9 years old and he’s already a remorseless criminal. I must have asked him ten times to tell me where he lived. YOU KNOW I was gonna set his mom straight. “Um, I don’t know where I live.” “I don’t know the house number.” “Our phone number just got changed.” etc. Too young for the juvenile court system, no parental supervision – Unless you’re counting the 17 year old thug he calls a friend. The future ain’t looking too bright.

10 thoughts on “Things they’d arrest you for in the suburbs.

  1. I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Karen Halls

  2. I am further convinced by reading your post that people can get used to anything. I think that the stuff you described would – to a New Yorker – be a badge of honor.

    “That’s right! We are hardcore in the N-Y-C. Suburbanites be warned.”

  3. dishy,

    i never considered all the opportunities philly has to offer someone looking for a good time. i thought it was all just cheese steaks, the liberty bell, and rocky balboa movies.

    can’t wait to ride over the ben franklin bridge the next time i want to be robbed, score some crack, or be assaulted by naked people.

  4. Hi Karen: Thanks! So glad you’re enjoying it.

    Hayden: I grew up in the suburbs and can tell you, it never occurred to me that one day – as an adult & mother, I would be warning my kids NOT TO PICK UP CONDOMS off the sidewalk. And yet, I do it – reflexively I might add, with nary an eyelash blink in between. It’s all about desensitization. I am not sure that’s a good thing, but we cope the best we can.

    Lisa – I am so glad!! WOOHOO!! Hope you guys had an awesome V-Day. xoxox

    Curly, you just don’t know what you’re missing! We have GOT IT ALL here in Philly. I cannot attest to the quality of the drugs, as I do not do them, but the rest – robberies, naked people – all TOP GRADE. 😉

  5. HAH! Boy I am going to have to write part 2. Too many stories to share!!

    Seriously though – after 15 years in West Philly, it’s like water off a duck’s back. All of the crime makes you very cynical, but we keep fighting against it b/c we love our neighborhood. Despite the negatives, there’s a lot of good here too. So we take a stand on our block, and do what we can to keep crime at bay. It’s when people hide in their houses w/ the curtains drawn that things go from bad to worse. If you know your neighbors – really know them – and not just on your little patch of land, but around you – then you have support. Every bit helps. I firmly believe that a lot of crime is strictly “crime of opportunity” and if you use your street smarts and have others watching your back too, you’re less likely to fall prey to it. I am also a firm believer in looking people in the eye, smiling and saying hello, how are you. Too many people ignore others. We are all human – even the thugs. PS: Having a 150 lbs of BIG ASS DOG standing at the ready doesn’t hurt either.

  6. I’m loving your blog. You have a great, entertaining writing style. It’s also informative, yay!

    Anyway, I can relate to the jerkoffs not intended pun but it worked double duty there. I was waiting for a bus in CC when an old man, crusty old, stops at the red light. He’s staring in my direction but he could be looking at anything. Light turns green, he’s still there. Another light comes and goes. Then my friend and I realize he’s not looking behind us but at ass. OMG ewww! We called the cops and Mr. Party time got a little citation. lol @ him

  7. Hey She! Thanks babe!! Too sweet of you to say. And you’re just in time for today’s facts on polar bears & penguins. I am happy to enlighten us all. PS: Truly revolting story – Thanks for sharing!! 😉

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