At 7.15pm, I got a phone call. "Are you guys home?," the neighbor to our right asked. "We are," I replied, "we're just in the back having dinner." "Do you know what happened to your mailbox?," he asked.
"No ... what happened?"
"The mailbox looks like it's exploded," he said, "that's what it looks like."
"Maybe someone in a pickup truck hit it," I thought. The wife said the mailbox had been fine when she came in (around 6pm). I relayed that to our neighbor.
He replied that there didn't seem to be anything unusual at 6.30 when he'd left the house. So between 6.30 and 7.15, someone had run over our mailbox. I decided that it could wait until we'd had our dinner. An exploded mailbox wasn't going anywhere.
A few minutes later, someone rang our doorbell. This was another neighbor, maybe 20 years old. I hadn't met her before.
"Did you see your mailbox?," she asked with a cringe, "I'm awfully sorry."
"Was that you?," I asked.
"No, not me. It was my mom actually. My mom and my brother were in the car. But my brother has to go to the hospital to get looked at."
"Is everyone ok?," I asked.
Apparently they were. Because the brother showed up a few minutes later and introduced himself. He was holding a pad to his neck but seemed alert and mobile.
"I was fiddling with the A/C and my mom looked down," he explained, "and she ran over the mailbox."
The two kids gave me their mom's address and phone number, promised to clean up the mess the next morning and said that they would be calling the insurance company.
"Thanks for owning up to it," I told them, "I thought it was a hit-and-run. Was it a pickup truck that your mom was driving?". "No," said the daughter, "it was a brand-new Honda Accord."
The kids left. I got my camera out and starting shooting pictures. Another neighbor dropped by and asked what had happened. I explained. "Fiddling with her cell phone is more like it," he smirked, "I don't think it was the A/C that she was fiddling with."
Another neighbor walking her dog stopped to chat, inquired whether anyone was hurt and told me: "well, I hope your insurance company is nice to you."
"I hope that her insurance company is nice to me," I responded. She chuckled and continued walking her dog.
Fifteen minutes later, the neighbor to our left knocked on the door.
"Do you know who did it?," he asked.
"Yes, she hit it and left, but her kids were nice enough to come back and own up to it," I explained.
This neighbor backed up his car, shone a light on the scene and told me to take better pictures. Then, we looked at the track of the car.
"She was drunk and going way too fast," he said thoughtfully, "can you see how far she must have driven on the curb to hit the mailbox at that angle? What if it had been a kid instead of just a mailbox?"
The mailbox had been hit sideways, not backed into as I initially thought. And if it was a sedan and not a pickup truck, the impact must have to be substantial.
"If I were you," he advised, "I would call the police and ask if I should file a report."
So, I called the police non-emergency number. "Someone took out your mailbox?," asked the dispatcher nonchalantly, "do you want to file a vandalism complaint or do you know who it is?". Once she put it that way ... I explained that the person who hit the mailbox left the scene initially but that her family had come back and assured me that their insurance company would take care of it. The dispatcher told me I could file a report tomorrow morning if it wasn't taken care of.
So, that's the story of our exploded mailbox. As I said, one good thing that came out of all this is all the neighborliness.