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Wake-Up Call: Collision course

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As I was running out of my office last night, late again, I got a call from a neighbor. "Do you know why the police are in front of your house?" she asked. Uh, no, I said, wondering if the mess of ungifted holiday gifts and unfinished Christmas projects clearly visible in my living room was somehow against the law. "I'll find out and call back," she said, and did.

Turns out that a car had slid on the ice rink in front of my house that's otherwise known as 28th Avenue and had slammed into another car. Even yesterday's balmy weather hadn't made that slick disappear; from November through March, anyone who ventures into this neighborhood usually slides his way through. The residents have learned to shuffle their way to their cars, since we have no garages or driveways.

Then, at 1:30 this morning, I woke to a loud banging on my front door. "Police," said a policeman. "Sorry, but I couldn't find your doorbell." That's because the only holiday decoration I put up, a wreath, is hanging from it -- but as it turns out, bad holiday behavior is not against the law. 

Turns out that another car had slid on the ice rink and smashed into the back of my truck hard enough to smack my vehicle into the car ahead, then driven off. "The same thing just happened a couple of hours ago," I told the officer. Sure enough, the neighbors whose car had been whacked earlier in the evening had seen this crash and called the cops. Again.

The damage to both cars looked minimal (it was, and still is, dark). While the owner of the car that mine was snuggled up to and I handed over our IDs and registration and insurance cards, and the officer did whatever you do to clean up a mess left by a driver unknown (who, judging from the stuff left on the street, is minus a headlight and part of his bumper), we chatted about the ice rink we were standing on.

"This is the worst street in my district," the officer said. "Maybe if I write enough of these up, Public Works will notice."

Not to worry, I told him: The spokeswoman for Public Works lives across the street. But at least that means there's no favoritism in city services. Denver's policy is to focus on the main arterials, and 28th Avenue is far from that -- unless you're a cop responding to car-crash calls.

The neighbor (sorry about your bumper) and I finished our business and shuffled off the ice and into our homes. The last sound I heard as I went back to sleep was that of a massive truck, sanding the street and breaking through the ice. But I might have been dreaming.

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