The last few days have been kind of dull. We had a small earthquake, a SWAT team deployed nearby to deal with a heavily armed drunk barricaded in his house, and a genially sadistic HVAC maintenance man made me wash my outside compressor, which stands in a large (but not large enough) open space behind the holly that shades my east windows and was becoming encrusted with botanical gunk. The compressor was what really held my attention. It’s all a matter of perspective.
I swear, as I am sitting here, that I did not feel the damn earthquake. I’m not usually awake at five a.m. and the epicenter was on the other side of the city. My household staff, alert to small rodents and other things that scurry, are blissfully unfazed by tectonic activity. We have had tremors around here before — sometime in the fifteen years since I moved into this house I remember all my storm windows juddering at once, as if they were about to flounce off in a huff — and doubtless will again, but most days, construction equipment is more disruptive.
The barricade situation was interesting enough for me to check out, at least when I got up and found it had still not resolved overnight. It sounds as if someone with a skinful elected to introduce a rifle into an argument he was having with a neighbor, and the next thing you know, he’s holed up in his house, the cops have the streets blocked off and a command post has gone up. Promptly, as soon as the situation was well under way, the sky opened and disgorged merciless rain and lightning, like piss pouring out of a boot attached to an arc welder.
According to local list serves the whole thing was still going on in the morning. It just happens that I do a Saturday hill run through those parts, and sure enough, two blocks away from my route, there were the cruisers with their blue lights pulsing, orange cones and cans, yellow tape, and a genuine Jiffy John perched on the near corner. I ambled a little closer to see if I could get a shot and just about then came the first of five loud crumps. It really seemed like a place not to be.
Turned out we had three police departments on this one: ours, City of Alexandria right next door, and Fairfax County. I don’t know who decided to fire tear gas canisters into the house but that apparently was the sound I heard. Drunk Guy — history so far does not record whether he was still drunk — gave himself up at that point. No one got hurt, unless you count his exposure to even more than the usual Washington area air pollution. At least the tear gas will distract him from the hangover.
Maybe the heat got to him.
Drama, but it barely affects my life. The goddam holly leaves that I am still picking out of my hair from soaping down that outside compressor, now, those will annoy me for a while. But as long as no one barricades himself in the gym, I figure we’re good.