Since Hedda and I moved to DC a few months back, we have collectively called the police more than any other place we have ever lived together. And although I cannot speak to Hedda’s experiences before the year 2000, it is certainly an unusual experience for me.
I’ve created a new category, labelled 311/911 calls. If you’re not familiar with 311, it’s really quite simple. In the District of Columbia, 311 is the designated non-emergency phone number. You simply 311, and you are connected to a trained dispatcher who can in turn contact the relevant authoraties. Hedda and I have used it to report dangerous traffic signal outages, prostitutes in our neighborhood, and strange trucks idling in our alley in the middle of the night.
In short, it’s like 911, except for things that aren’t life-or-death. And if you’re not familiar with 911, then you’re not watching enough basic cable.
So, in the interest of providing interesting details of my life to the Internet at large, and because I want to keep track of some of this stuff for myself, I have hereby resolved to post any further calls I make to this new category. I’ll also post any calls Hedda makes, if I know about them.
So, without further ado…
This afternoon, about 13:30 EST, I was sitting in our living room, eating a grilled cheese sandwich, and watching Celebrity Poker Showdown on the TiVo. I noticed a man enter the alley next to our building, but then he didn’t pass by the window looking into the alley. That’s very unusual, because people walking into the alley at a normal pace predictably walk by the window a few moments later. So I got curious.
I walked outside, and the man was exiting the alley, zipping up his pants. I mumble a greeting, but I already know what’s happened - he pissed on my building! I poke my head over the fence, and sure enough there’s a puddle of urine on the side of our building. He watches me over his shoulder as he walks away, and then gets into a white delivery truck. I go inside and get my phone. As I’m dialing, they drive away.
I don’t remember the number of the operator with whom I spoke, but I promise I’ll get it next time. I reported to her:
- public urination
- my address
- got into the passenger side of a white delivery truck, Maryland tags 88P 971
- driving south on 13th ST NW
She said somebody would be on their way, and that was that. A few minutes later, a truck for the Downtown DC Squad pulled up in front of our place. (I don’t know exactly what they do for the city…I’d love to find out.) I don’t know if they were responding to my call or not, but that seems to have been the only interesting thing to have happened.
The only thing I didn’t mention on the call was the description of the man.
- wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with black pants
- african american
- long dreadlocks coming out from the raised hood
- had a thin, filtered cigar-thingy, although I don’t think it was actually lit
And that’s it. Overall, I’m not sure what I expected - the truck was already leaving before I called; and even though I got the tag number, it’d be hard to find him. Besides, the police have better things to do in our neighborhood these days. Still, I’d love to find the owner of the truck and talk to them. The offender wasn’t wearing any sort of uniform, so I’m pretty sure he wasn’t affiliated with the owner of the truck. Unfortunately, I didn’t think to look at the side for the name of a company, although there were markings on the side like a delivery truck would have.