Grumpy Old Lady

Syracuse rocks in the summer. Last night the heat and humidity broke. I’m not sure it made it out of the 70s today. It is lush and green and comfortable. And the students aren’t around.

I know, I know. That sounds really bitchy. Especially considering without the students Z would have no one to teach. Especially considering I was one of the students for the last two semesters.

I went to a tiny college that put the liberal in liberal arts. There weren’t any sororities or fraternities  Hell, there were only about 6 straight guys who were undergrads. OK, the drug culture was overwhelmingly severe, but I avoided most of it by choosing to live in substance free housing and then moving off campus (a rarity-the dorms were all singles after first year) as soon as second year was over.

SU is a party school. It is a sorority/fraternity school. It is a sports school. Z and I were bewildered when we first moved here. These are not our people. But it’s good to be exposed to new stuff. And the school is large enough that we were able to find our people over time.

Still, when the kids come back in the fall it is a bit depressing. We live in walking distance from campus, in the University neighborhood. We are around the corner from the small business district. It is a fantastic location and I wouldn’t want to live elsewhere. But. That first fall we lived here our car was broken into. Then an extremely drunk kid tried to push his way into our house. He was basically wrestling with Z while I held newborn T and my phone. He only left after I yelled that I was dialing 911. That stuff really made us feel unsafe in our home. It was before we found friends. Before we learned that during the first few weeks of the semester the kids do drunken treasure hunts (that would be the car break in-only some CDs and the registration were taken and the next day the registration was thrown into our neighbor’s yard). So seemingly harmless stuff, but still not very cool.

Cut to tonight. Our yard turned into a jungle during our month and a half absence. We’ve been feverishly weeding and tidying and mulching. Most of it is done, but the ivy that grows on the side of our garage near the back of our property is trying to overtake the poor shrubs that live beside it. So I was absentmindedly weeding. And suddenly I pulled up a clump with something dangling off the bottom.

wallet in yard - Version 2

Yup. A wallet.  With an SU ID. Yup, I edited his name off of the photo. Because I’m not that much of an asshole.

At first I thought it had been stolen and tossed in our yard. But that theory made less sense as Z and I went through it. There were his bank card, drivers license, insurance card, credit cards. Also, it was just too far from the street to be tossed back where I found it.

5er in wallet

A five dollar bill had partially disintegrated and adhered to the cloth of the wallet. And look! A little slug made its home there as well!

robe swing

This wallet was not stolen. It was lost. In the back of our yard…..near the really awesome rope swing.

Z and I started to get angry. This little entitled shithead was in our backyard. What the fuck? Judging from the dates on the cards he was here sometime after 2010 and he is still a student at SU now. It look me about three minutes to find his parent’s phone number online. I called, got the machine, stared to explain who I was and what I had found whilst weeding and his Dad picked up. He was very friendly and told me the boy had lost the wallet during a night he had no memory of about a year and a half ago when he was a freshman. He said he was going to get the kid so he could maybe “shed some light on the subject.” I asked him to hold on a moment. Explained that the wallet had everything in it including $5. I told him it clearly wasn’t stolen. I explained about the awesome rope swing. I said, “Your son lost his wallet while he was in my backyard.” There was a very awkward pause. He said he was getting his son.

The young man’s voice was sheepish when he introduced himself. He asked me to cut up and discard what I’d found since it had all been replaced. I had told his Dad there was a walmart giftcard and the kid told me to keep anything of value. I asked him if he remembered a yard with a rope swing. He told me he didn’t remember anything. I believe him. I’m sure he was completely shit-faced. The call was wrapping up. And I couldn’t help myself. “Dude. Listen. You’ve got to stay out of people’s backyards.” “Okey,” he replied.

Whole thing seems kind of benign, huh? What am I upset about? A year and a half ago in the middle of the night I was in my home with my husband, toddler, and newborn. This kid isn’t small, judging from the pictures probably 180 or so. Considerably larger than Z and me. He was so drunk he can’t remember the evening. He probably wasn’t alone. What if we discovered him? What if a confrontation happened? He and his friends were in a fenced in area past the house, they were nowhere near the street. The idea frightens both Z and me.

Yes, kids will be kids. But there is no reason to be an out of control dickweed. Tonight Z and I talked about when we were college freshman–we weren’t angels, but we never went on private property while blotto. Hell, I don’t think either of us roamed residential neighborhoods while partying. And I’ll tell you what, if one of my boys pulls a stunt like this when they are teens they will be in extremely deep shit.

Don’t be assholes, kids. Respect yourselves and those around you. And stay in school. Love from your neighborhood grumpy old lady.

zombie c

But seriously. You come on my land I set my zombie child on you. This is what he looked like after eating a kid who ran into our yard to retrieve a lost football.


4 thoughts on “Grumpy Old Lady

  1. Ha! I lived within the general vicinity of Radford University and I spent two years feeling suicidal at having to deal with all the drunks 24/7. Even being drunkenly threatened, at 2 in the afternoon, in my parking lot for having called the cops.
    Not to mention all the times we had to have someone climb the balcony into the people’s apartment above us because at 4am-blaring johnny cash and being drunkenly passed out-was definitely the way to go when you live in an apartment complex across from campus.
    At RU, they have this thing called quadfest once a year. I suppose it was once an under-control, students-only tradition…but it is now (and has been for as long as I can remember) a week-long crowd of drunks. Like, 24/7 drunk. And the entire town is lit up with flashing cop lights, and everything smells like beervomit. Talk about party town. I think the 7-eleven there ranked number one in beer sales and Radford ranked right under Penn state for party schools.
    All I can say is, at least you don’t have to worry about people peeing and vomiting off of the balcony about you, having to call the cops literally every night, and generally fearing for your safety every.single.night. For 2 years. Every single night.
    I’ve even endured having a beer chucked directly at my head, (unopened beer) with the sole purpose of hitting me in the head- not one of those friendly “here neighbor, have a beer on me!” situations.

    This was very long-winded. Sorry.

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