I woke up this morning to a kid trying to steal the power cord and surge protector from the van.
I startled him.
Probably not as much as he startled me, though.
Fortunately, neither of us over-reacted. Probably also fortunately, neither of us was (apparently) armed. He rode away on his black bicycle, sans surge protector, and I waited until he was out of sight before I unlocked the van and ran outside to plug myself back in again.
Tuesday night, about half a mile away from where I’m parked, a woman taking out her trash in the middle of the night was shot. She was not so badly hurt that she couldn’t make it inside and call the ambulance herself, but still, I can’t imagine she’s ever going to want to take out the trash again. I’d probably never want to step outside the house again.
They caught the kid who did it, and I use the term “kid” mostly appropriately. Eighteen years old. I looked at the picture online and wondered — did he want to go to jail? Did jail seem easier than finding a job and making a life for himself? Because it’s not like he wouldn’t have known that a path that involved shooting random people in the middle of the night was likely to wind up in an institution. What was he thinking? But maybe he wasn’t thinking at all.
I, meanwhile, was thinking way too much. Super jumpy on our morning walk. A car slowed down while it was getting near me and my adrenaline surged. It was slowing for a speed bump. Duh.
But it’s not fun to feel unsafe. The last time I was here, I was talking to C about my early morning walk and feeling like I’d gotten into an area that was maybe not the safest and instead of reassuring me, she warned me to be careful. I laughed it off. It’s not like the criminals are out at 6:30 in the morning, right? She looked pained. Enough so that I googled afterward and discovered that in fact, someone had been randomly shot while waiting for an early morning bus about a mile away just a few weeks earlier. Ugh. I managed to dismiss that anxiety, though, because how often can that happen?
But it’s like lightning strikes — getting struck by lightning is extremely unlikely for most people, but if you’re standing outside in a thunderstorm in Florida, your chances go sky-high. Statistically speaking, I’m thinking my current driveway is rather higher risk than I appreciate. And that’s a bummer.
Anyway, this is not the Best of November post that I meant to write, so let me think about November: it started in PA and ends in Florida. It included one state park, one really nice Thousand Trails campground, one Walmart overnight, and four driveways.
As has been a pattern over the past months, though, my highlights have nothing to do with the places and everything to do with the people. The things that come to mind: lunch with my dad and stepmom, laughing about the scene happening on the television behind my head. I didn’t see it, but the memory of C’s wide-eyed shock still makes me smile. (Sorry, C! But it was funny, really.) Watching Stranger Things, in the midst of the final episode, and having M pause the show so that H could get a snack. In the final episode! Sitting on the back porch of C’s house with C and A, talking television shows and parenting. Thanksgiving dinner and taking a picture of my niece, C.
It wasn’t an exciting month. But it was a good month, the kind that reminds me that I have a lot to be grateful for. Not the least of which, this morning, is that I still have electricity.