Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Little Vandals

So the woodpecker assault moves towards resolution: Our Christmas woodpecker has been gouging out larger and larger holes in the telephone pole across the street. Yesterday they (the mysterious "they" that does such things) put in a new pole, right adjacent to the old one. Thinner and hopefully more woodpecker-resistant than the old pole, the various utilities are now moving their services from one to the other.

That's about two months between initial report and replacement (They also replaced two more poles along the street that were in need). Not bad for a non-crisis situation.

More concern-making was that local vandals set a nearby mailbox on fire. Last night our doorbell rang, and an unfamiliar woman was at the door. She and her husband were driving down the street and noted that a mailbox several doors down was on fire, smoke billowing out.

Yes, we still have street mailboxes, a memory of more rural days. Metal ones with little flags (of late, the kids have been putting the flags up on their way to school). And most of the houses are set back far from the street, so we were the first house that the woman came to that she could see all the way to the door.

So I walked down to the burning mailbox. Our neighbor across the street joined us - she had been walking her dog and heard some fireworks popping. The owner of the mailbox was not home. I fetched the neighbor who shared the mailbox stand with the target. We called in a report, and fire truck was dispatched, just to be sure. The Lovely Bride come down with a watering can to put out the small fire.

Under the flashlights, it looked like someone stuck a bunch of sparklers in the box (still filled with mail) and lit them. The mail inside was lost. The firefighters (arriving in good time, by the way) made sure the fire was quenched, took our statements, and said they would pass the incident on to King County (we're in their jurisdiction).

This isn't the first bit of vandalism we've had over the past decade. Back before the curbs were put in, mailboxes were regular targets of idiots in cars with baseball bats (the older mailboxes still have dent marks, or often fortress-like housings). We lost a garbage can once (taken, complete with garbage), and a lightweight sea serpent in our lawn (and of all the things lost, I still miss that). The neighbor across the street lost her house numbers. Our neighborhood is just rural enough to have houses far apart and set back, and just dense enough to have strangers wander through without much notice.

Who's responsible? Probably kids, but we don't know. I've met the neighbors whose box was hit once, so I don't know if it was targeted or just an act of random vandalism. So now we're keeping our eyes peeled, just in case.

Sigh. The woodpecker was so much easier to deal with.

More later,