So, on Saturday morning, I’m returning from a trip to Lowe’s to get some more line for my grass trimmer. When I pull into my driveway, I can see that things aren’t quite right. Jim and Nora are exiting the house — with purpose — followed by a police officer. What the ?!?
I didn’t realize until much later that this incident was related to the headache that’s been plaguing us ever since we moved into our house. Some cities are so large that they divide their streets into “north” and “south” sections, so it’s easier to figure out what side of town an address is on. In Seattle, you can live on Fourth Avenue North, and someone else can live ten miles away on Fourth Avenue South.
But everyone in Seattle knows this is how the addresses are laid out — and the different parts of these streets are usually also in different zip codes.
For some reason, the tiny town of Davidson, North Carolina, has decided that it also needs to follow this model. My street is two blocks long, but somehow the town planners decided it too needed a “north” and a “south” designation. The bizarre result is that the house kitty-corner from us (in the “south” section) has the same street address. Most people on the “older” part of our street don’t bother with their official “south” designation, and so very often we get their packages — or they get ours, when some automated shipper’s web page decides that the “north” section of our street doesn’t exist and lops the “north” off our address.
This had seemed bad enough. But why were the police here? The officer asked me for my driver’s license, then took it back to his vehicle to check it out in his computer. When he returned in a few minutes, he asked me if I’d reported to the police department that I was on vacation.
“No,” I said. “We were on vacation this summer, though, and maybe somehow that request never got canceled.”
“Are you related to ______ ______?” He asked.
Aha! It was my neighbor from the south side of the street! She must have put in the vacation notice, and now even the police had mixed up our addresses. In our town, you can request that the police stop by every day when you’re on vacation just to make sure your property is all right. He had found the front door unlocked, so walked in to check things out. He heard the kids upstairs, and asked them to exit the house.
So I had to explain the whole address thing — how this is “north,” and that is “south,” and that’s why we have the same address, even though the whole street is only two blocks long. And then I thought to myself, shouldn’t the police know this? Isn’t it sort of important for them to understand how the addresses are laid out in their own town? Isn’t this why we have our own police force instead of camping onto Charlotte and Mecklenburg county?
It could be worse, I suppose. At least we don’t have much crime around here. Oh, wait….