24 November 2012

Please sir...

Of course I don't really care that much about wheelie-bins, black or otherwise. That last post was more an exercise in post-annoyance catharsis, and by "annoyance" I mean "the type of thing that drives you to your wits end, and leaves you convinced that we would all by much better off if a well-placed asteroid took humanity the way of the dinosaurs".

You see, this week I have mostly been... targeted by thieves.

"We know that", I hear you say, "you already told us about the disappearance of your treasured wheelie-bin". Alas, no, for the wheelie-bin was but the bitter icing on a suger-coated cake of crime.

In the last seven days we have been targeted by the same gang of bike thieves five times, twice in a single night. They first struck last Saturday at around 9pm, and successfully made off with a neighbour's bike. They returned again on Sunday afternoon, and were twice chased away by a different neighbour, but not before doing some serious damage to a number of bikes whose locks they were unable to break. I was awoken at 4:30am on Thursday morning by the same group outside, once again trying to steal whatever they could get their hands on. Once again they left empty handed as I chased them down the street, but again a number of bikes were seriously damaged in their clumsy attempts.

It's worth saying that at this stage our bikes were sitting in our front room, a situation replicated by all of our neighbours. However workers from a number of local business park their bikes near us, so sadly there always seems to be fresh bicycle booty for these pedal-pirates to target. As we went out last night we discovered that we had been targeted yet again, sometime between 9 and 10pm.

Five times in seven days. The brazenness of this, especially after they have been interrupted and challenged on three occasions is what is really getting to me.

This particular gang of Lil' Rascals range in age from about 12 to 16/17ish, and according to the Gardai they use the 12-year old in an Oliver Twist-style manner, hoisting him up over feneces and under gates to let the rest of the gang in from the inside. One positive note from all this is that maybe it shows that at least some of them were paying attention during English class.

The funny thing about all of this is the feeling of violation that has occurred, simply because they have repeatedly hopped over a wall or a fence. We've had our windows smashed by drunken yobs hurling empty vodka bottles in random directions. We regularly have to deal with human beings pooing against our wall, and have to navigate our way down the road through discarded needles, but somehow because all of this happened on the other side of a fence I was able to view it as still somehow existentially elsewhere. But once the first "youf" hopped over that fence, and then came back again the next day to do it all over again, suddenly our walls don't seem to be very Real any more. The sticky-fingered urchins might as well be sitting in our living room, commenting on the amazingness of my taste in music.

This is the price you pay for choosing to live in the city centre, for rejecting safe Middle-Class superbia with its slow but inescapable march to senescence.

But as I hover at the absolute tail-end of my thirties, I will admit that some nights, say 4:30am on a Thursday morning after you've chased a group of bike thieves down the street, sometimes a safe and superb senescence doesn't seem all that unattractive.

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At 4:24 pm, Anonymous Major Kong said...

Yeah, we watched it happen one night at ours a couple of years ago. And you're right. It's a particular feeling of violation that's distinct to the standard fare of city centre life. By the time my partner got out the door the artless dodger was back over the fence. After sir come back in, it was a good five minutes before his heartbeat couldn't be seen through his shirt. Don't get too disheartened. Even a couple of LUAS stops out seems to have made a difference for us. (Not the point, I realise. You have the right to feel secure in your own property, wherever you hang your hat. Just a bit of commiseration.)


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