We used to live on a street in Surrey, British Columbia, we called "the Mother of All Cul-De-Sacs." The space between the houses was large enough to accommodate a dozen parked cars or a spirited soccer match. Our daughter learned to walk in that cul-de-sac, and our son shot his first basket into a full-sized hoop there. (Granted, he was on his father's shoulders at the time.) Every night, a dozen kids would spill onto the street with bikes or hockey sticks, and we would congratulate ourselves on having selected the perfect neighborhood.
A year after we moved in, the street's complexion changed. Several of the young families moved away, and we had a hard time getting to know our new neighbors.
We heard nasty rumors that certain residents were using their homes to grow marijuana. "Grow-ops" were a rampant problem in our area, but my husband and I doubted we were sharing fences with criminals. Our friendly neighbor to the right, "Van," had recently arrived in Canada but was working hard on his English. Our neighbors to the left, an older couple who gardened relentlessly, seemed reserved but agreeable.
One afternoon, my kids and I noticed a flurry of activity. We watched as our neighbors on both sides were chased and cuffed by police, and truckloads of plants and equipment were pulled out of each of their residences. A sign declaring the area to be the site of a successful drug bust was proudly displayed—in our driveway!
My husband arrived home and intercepted one of the officers walking across our lawn. Our four-year-old eavesdropped on their conversation and ran back to me. "Our neighbors were arrested for throwing dough," he said, confused and troubled. "Why aren't you allowed to throw dough?" I wasn't sure whether to clarify ...1