I love solar lights. I love how they come on automatically at night and give a warm welcoming glow. That’s why I have two of them on each side of the sidewalk leading to my front porch. So you can imagine how thrilled I was a couple of birthdays ago when my close friend, Francie, gave me three little “mushroom lights” to add to my little rock elfin village, which is nestled among my shrubs. It was such a thoughtful gift and I loved them.
Until Wednesday morning… After I picked up the paper and turned back to the house, I immediately noticed that there were no little “glows” in the shrubbery. I thought that maybe some animal had somehow dislodged the battery in the solar collector panel, which is a part of the string of lights. As I bent down to check, I found only a hole where it had been staked! A sick feeling swept through me as I walked around the landscape bed, only to discover that all three mushroom lights were gone, as well! The whole set of lights and the solar panel had been stolen…
Back at the dining room table, I took a sip of coffee and thought about it. Someone had come in the middle of the night, right up to my front door, and slowly and methodically removed every one of the lights. This was under my open second-story bedroom windows. This was on the main street into my neighborhood. They left the big solar lights by the sidewalk and took the smaller, novelty lights. A man? A woman? A kid? Who? And why? I haven’t done anything to antagonize anyone. It gave me the creeps.
Putting on my detective hat, it occurred to me that maybe it was someone who lived nearby. After all, the sight of someone with an armful of glowing mushrooms walking down the street would be bound to attract attention. I live in sight of hundreds of windows. But, if they lived close, say two doors down, then all they’d have to do is grab the lights and run in their front door.
I know I’m making it sound as if I have a suspect…and maybe I do. Trashy Girl’s live-in boyfriend, let’s call him “Clunk,” because it fits, said something this past winter that I haven’t been able to shake. It was when someone abandoned a truck, blocking our driveway completely from the street. Eventually, UPS’s son, my neighbor Marcia, Clunk and I were all standing around the truck bemoaning the ignorance of some people. And Clunk piped up and said, “Yeah, like that girl who parked on the driveway when it was so icy. That really pissed me off because I almost slid into her twice. So, you know what I did?” We all looked at him and he replied, “One night I took an egg out and broke it on her windshield. After that froze, she never parked there again!” And he let out a big hee-haw laugh. The rest of us just stood there in shocked silence. Shocked at what he had done, and more shocked that he was bragging about it.
I don’t know why he would do something like this to me, but then, does someone like that need a reason? This is the same guy who blows his nose by closing one nostril and blowing out the other into the wind. The other day he came to my door asking if I had seen their cat which had run away. I told him no. But maybe he thinks I catnaped it or something. I don’t know.
Then again, maybe it was just some stranger who wanted those lights and it wasn’t personal at all.
But it sure feels personal.
And they took more than my lights. They also took away my feeling of security.