"Sheriff's Department, how can I help you?"
"I'm calling to report some vandalism. I teach at the high school and one of my tires was slashed."
"We'll send someone right over."
I hadn't wanted to call the Sheriff's Deparment. I had seen the slash mark on my tire, and it irritated me, but getting kids in trouble for slashing tires is like getting kids in trouble for having hormones.
There is a law of teaching high school, "Anything that can be destroyed...will be destroyed...even if it's your car."
So honestly, I wasn't too mad about it. In my experience, kids just break, maul, and slash for no really good reason except that they're kids and they are sometimes idiots. Sometimes they have a vendetta against you, but other times it's just random destruction.
But after a kindly young custodian changed my tired and I got home and told my husband about the whole thing, he gave me that "someone-has-threatened-my-wife-and-she-doesn't-think-it's-a-big-deal" look and told me,
"Go report it to the Sheriff's Department right away. Next time, report it while you're still in the parking lot."
"Anthony, these kinds of things happen all the time," I replied. "It's just kids- they do these things to teachers."
"Can you name a single other teacher this happened to?"
"Well, no," I admitted, "but Tammy got her car keyed a few years ago. The custodian said that in Bakersfield they would just steal the whole car."
"A key and a knife are two different things. This is a crime of violence and we need to try and figure out who did this."
"Okay, Okay, I'll call them," I agreed.
The nice young lady at the end of the line dispatched an officer. While we were waiting for him, my husband came over and investigated the tire. After a few moments, he got a little gleam in his eye.
"Did you notice the giant bolt sticking out of your tire?" Anthony asked me.
"Well, yes," I replied, " AND the slash mark."
"Is it possible that the bolt is what flattened your tire. I don't think that slash mark looks very deep."
So we filled the tire with air, and wouldn't you know it, he was right. The slash didn't go all the way through, and there was plenty of air hissing out from the bolt. The sheriff could be arriving any minute.
"I didn't want to call the sheriff to begin with," I accused my husband. "You made me."
"I know," he said, "but even if you think that your car has been vandalized, it's still important to report it. Let's call them and tell them it was a false alarm."
By then it was too late to call them. We heard the Sheriff's car drive up and saw his flashlight coming toward us.
"Are you the folks who called in a vandalism?"
"Yes," responded my husband, "but we are so, so, sorry...we were wrong, it was just a bolt that flattened her tire."
I gave the young officer my best "I'm-just-a-befuddled-idiot-woman" look and he said,
"No harm done. I'll be on my way."
"Thank You," we both called out as he left.
I need new tires anyway.