Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Justice, Cole Valley Style

Today I made peace with the fact that, yes, I am one of those neighborhood busybodies. Someday I will have the city complaint line on speedial. I’m okay with that.

It’s just that I have this innate sense of justice. And when I see the jerks of the world getting away with their jerkiness, it burns me up inside.

Here’s the story. Last Thursday night, as I was taking the pups on their last walk of the evening, there was the unmistakable sound of a moving car hitting a still one. A car alarm blared out and the dogs and I turned to see a purple Scion speed down Carl Street and off into the night. No note, no nothing. A hit and run. Bastard.

My car was similarly hit on Carl Street a few years ago and it cost $7,000 to fix. Insurance covered it, but my rates went up for a year. Probably some drunk idiot stumbling out of one of the bars and driving when they shouldn’t. Same thing happened to this poor car – it had been sideswiped from front to back. I made a mental note to keep an eye out for purple Scions.

Then, this morning, I saw the same purple Scion. I knew it was the same car because it had a dent and a broken taillight right where it hit the other car.

photoMy mind raced. I could leave an angry note! No, better, I could etch a few choice words on the side of the car with my keys! No, better! I could go to the store, buy yellow spraypaint, and write HIT AND RUN on the side of the car. But I did none of those things. Instead, I took a photo.

Later in the day, I called the police and reported the license plate number and what I’d seen. Then I took the photo, added personal note to the people involved, made a poster, and put it up in several places on my street with enough tape to make it a huge challenge to remove.

Yeah, I’m a neighborhood busybody. But it could be worse. I could be a bastard who smashes into parked cars and flees the scene.

I know, I could be fighting global poverty or working on a cure for cancer or something. But those are problems too immense to think about. If I can bring a tiny bit of justice to my little corner of Cole Valley, that’s enough for me.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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