Sunday night I was home waiting for my best friend to come pick me up for dinner when the doorbell rang. My friend hadn’t pulled up yet and I have a “don’t answer” policy when I’m not expecting someone (I live alone and anyone who knows me well enough to drop in can call or text me), so I ignored the doorbell until my friend showed up and said, “There’s a kid painting your curb.”

There was indeed a kid painting my curb–I talked to him and he was putting house numbers on there (because no one had answered the door to tell him not to, I suppose). He seemed young and clean and pretty harmless, explained that he would take “a dollar or some Kool Aid” for his efforts,  and offered to embellish the numbers with “a smiley face or a red U.”

I thanked him, told him that no embellishment was necessary and that I didn’t have any Kool Aid but I had a couple dollars for his time, and went off to dinner.  (I think my actual words were, “No, no smiley face, no red U. Just the numbers, please.” Just so we’re clear on this next part.)

Imagine my surprise when we came back from dinner and he was still there painting the curb. We pulled in to the driveway and my friend whispered, ‘Karen, call 911. You’re being graffitied.”


The kid was hunched over his work, finishing his….mural? and I walked over to see the damage and could only manage a weak, “Oh wow, you didn’t paint just the numbers.” He was SO PROUD of his work, and and I was so surprised (and have a lifetime of avoiding conflict and indulging hippies to work through) that I didn’t even say anything else (such as “What part of ‘Just the numbers’ was hard to grasp?!”).

Besides, the paint was already on the curb. Even painting over it would show something had happened, and my brain had already  realized that I can’t actually see the mural from the house. So my inner hippie reached out to his when he asked if it was ok to sign his work and I said, “Of course, you must sign your work.”  SIGH.

So now I have this…sort of nightmarish collection of faces? plus some crooked numbers…on the curb. (I may still paint over it, but I also think the ground cover could grow over it.) Talking the incident over with my best friend later that night, I said, “I hope this isn’t the street kid equivalent of the Hobo Code, where everyone will see the sign and think it’s ok to paint my house.”

So far, so good. Namaste, Graffiti Kid.