First thing yesterday morning, Mom called me to say that during the night, someone had thrown a rock through her living room window. I called the building manager, who called the window-repair guy, who called Mom back to set a time to fix it. J and I headed over to assist with the clean-up.
Mom had cordoned off the living room with a rope (not having any police tape on hand) and had a handwritten warning sign hanging from it. The offending stone was lying on the carpet, in the forbidden area. She refused to let me pass over the cord or touch anything and said I should keep my shoes on because there was glass all over. J came along a few seconds later and stepped right over the cord, in sock feet, ignoring her objections. He picked up the rock while we bleated from the sidelines (behind the line). Mom was saying “Don’t touch anything. Put your shoes on. There are shards of glass everywhere.” I was saying “Mom doesn’t want you in there. Come back so she will calm down and we can at least talk for a few minutes.” Mom (who is 88 and claims to have poor balance) high-stepped over the cord, almost tripping on the vacuum cleaner, which would have necessitated a call to the ambulance as well as the police and the window guy. She replaced the stone in the correct position and then retreated.
Meanwhile J was tramping around, ignoring Mom’s protests except to engage her in debate on the trajectory of the rock, the extent and sharpness (of lack thereof) of broken glass, and how the cleanup and repair should proceed. He was cheerfully defiant like a 3-year-old dancing near the edge of a cliff while the parents try to talk him away. I was mad because the 2 of them were talking at cross-purposes with each other, Mom was agitated and J wouldn’t back off his man-of-action role.
Finally we retreated to another room to regroup and argue some more. Since the window guy was on his way, I asked Mom if she was going to let him cross the barricade to do his job. If she wasn’t going to allow that until any police investigation was completed, then we’d better get on with the police. So I asked Mom “What are you going to do when the window-man arrives?” First of all she was going to explain to him about the hazards of glass on the carpet. Then she was going to listen to his recommendations. I said that window repair people were generally familiar with broken glass, and he was just going to recommend that he replace the window. We then had extensive discussion of preservation of evidence. J and I said that, even should we report the incident, it was very unlikely that the police would attend the scene. She said “All I know is that everything I read says not to touch anything. Maybe I read too many mysteries.” I said “I read a lot of mysteries too, and they are all about MURDERS” and we don’t have one here, YET.
Fortunately the window-fixer came and we all behaved quite normally in his presence, thus avoiding an escalation of the crime. Mom was satisfied that she had followed protocol by informing the strata council chair across the hall, and having me report it to the police, who were not upset about missing a potential investigation.