The death of Osama bin Laden has me completely mesmerized. It reminds me of the last time I was this captivated by world news; the days and weeks following September 11, 2001.
The most intriguing tidbit of info for me thus far would have to be the tiny morsel regarding the world’s most wanted man seeking refuge in a suburban resort town about fifty miles from Islamabad.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that the realization that a town in Pakistan other than the capital city of Islamabad is well, for lack of a better word, civilized.
If you look closely though, you will see that even a town like Abbottabad could easily be Orland Park with its beautiful homes and fine schools. Even the children interviewed in recent days seemed like any kid one might find running around Centennial Park.
And, of course, hearing that this man once considered ‘needle in a haystack’ was actually an elephant hiding in a third-floor room got me wondering
.What if Public Enemy Number One chose a happening suburb like Orland Park to hide out in? Stop laughing. Nobody placed a bet on Abbottabad a week ago, either.
My question is simple, really. How long would a mysterious family hang out before red flags started popping up around Orland Park?
Turn on the news any day of the week and you might find neighbors being interviewed regarding a crime that might have taken place on their block. While the names and faces change daily, their back-story always seems to be the same.
“Did you know the So-and-sos?”
“Not really. They kind of kept to themselves,” and then continue with the obligatory, “I did not think a mass murderer was living next door, the wives seemed nice, the kids were polite but never looked you in the eye, you know.”
“But there was always something. Now that the body bags are being removed and the front door is being dusted for prints, yeah, it is all starting to make sense.”
Orland Park is surely different, right? The residents of our town make it our business to know what is going on, don’t we?
I have lived in this town for forty years at five different addresses on the same number of streets. I can tell you as sure as I sit here and type this that every block I lived on had a neighbor that would put Mrs. Kravitz to shame.
You know the type. She is the lady all up in everyone’s business. A neighbor like Kravitz knows who is doing what before they even have the inkling to do it.
Sure Orland Park is a far cry from Abbottabad. But after hearing of the Nestle products in the pantry, the cases of Coke/Pepsi in bulk standing-order delivery and stories of children losing a kicked ball over the bin Laden’s barbed wire fence I decided that maybe this family in hiding was just like us; minus the barbed wire fence, of course.
For the life of me, four days later, I still cannot get my head around the fact a home (six times the size of the average home on the cul-de-sac, mind you) was built and not one “nosey Nellie” did not stand up and take notice.
I don’t care if you live in Pakistan or America. Being a nosey neighbor is human nature~there is one of these living on every block in every subdivision in every country on the globe.
Can you even imagine if a new neighbor built an eight bedroom, four bath home complete with fifteen foot tall and three foot thick fortified fences in our town?
How did that get past the discerning employees of the Abbottabad Building Department let alone the current President of the Abbottabad Homeowners Association once the first piece of dry wall was hung?
Even harder to believe is not one of the bin Laden’s new neighbors considered sauntering up to the triple-bolted gates carrying a “welcome to the cul-de-sac” casserole and offer to introduce themselves.
I am amazed that nobody in this sleepy little resort town never questioned the barbed wire atop the fences. Kids interviewed on the evening news tonight suggested if they ever hit a ball over the fence they considered it lost as it never got tossed back.
Instead of getting their balls back, the kids said “a couple of men would come out and offer us money to buy another one.”
Red Flag…Red Flag. Had something like that happened here, OPPD phone lines would be ringing off the hook, faxes with pictures of the perpetrators would be sent to area schools for immediate distribution to the oldest/only student and emergency robo- calls would be placed to the youngsters’ homes.
Come to think of it balls would have never made it over the fence never to be returned in the first place because in Orland Park someone would have certainly figured out that the new residents were on a watch list.
Doesn’t everyone in Orland Park know someone from baseball or the PTA who outs all the area sex offenders and their locations and proximity to anything child related?
I know a gal who gets an e-mail alert every time one of these characters moves within a ten-mile radius. And, I am assured of this because every time a U-Haul carrying an offender’s most prized possessions past the Welcome to Orland Park sign, I get an e-mail from the gal.
Equally puzzling about the family bin Laden was the fact they chose to burn their garbage as opposed to having a weekly pick up.Can you imagine someone at Waste Management entertaining a call from a new customer on the route requesting to be removed from garbage service?
“Abbottabad Dump, how may I direct your call?”
“Yes, I am calling to cancel our garbage pick-up, we’re new to the neighborhood and we prefer to burn our refuse.”
Forget for a minute Waste Management was on board with the idea. Imagine what the neighbors would say. OPPD phone lines light up like Christmas trees come Fall bonfire season thanks to Orland Parker’s with allergies.
Pungent wafting smells accompanied by heavy smoke is not tolerated by suburban dwellers in our tree-hugging town. Residents of Orland Park embrace their inner greenness; it is what we do, well at least it is what we are supposed to do.
Burning garbage in Orland Park would be an instant red flag had the bid Laden family chosen to seek refuge in our town.
Another amazing fact about the fortress in Abbottabad was that it was not wired for telephone or internet service.
Imagine a million dollar Orland Park mansion exists within the Comcast service area and not be connected or contacted for a welcome-to-the-neighborhood-deal. Comcast guys are like flies.They’ll annoy a non-subscribing customer relentlessly.
Even if you have basic service, they will call, knock and leave door-hangers advertising premium service until the resident caves. New meat they have not yet offended? They would be all over that like white on rice.
What about the fleet of cars a family with five wives and twenty three children might require? No doubt another red flag would fly based on the assortment of SUVs pulling in and out of the garage.
Gossipy neighbors would smoke a family like this out within the first week on the block. Expensive Range Rovers driven by young men? Imagine the back-and-forth conversation going on at Book Club.
“Have you seen the cars pulling in and out of the new neighbors drive at all hours of the night?”
“Yes, I have. What do you make of it?”
“Drug dealers. Drug dealers, for sure.”
While I am not so sure what the town of Abbottabad offers as far as a Recreation Department goes, if a family with twenty-three kids moved in our subdivision plenty of travel baseball coach fathers would be knocking down the doors of Casa bin Laden.
Knock knock ding dong…“Welcome to the neighborhood, do any of your fifteen boys play ball?”
And, if there are no boys interested in playing ball, you had better believe neighborhood play date seekers bored with their current posse would be lined up around the block to get their kid an invite to the mansion on any given Saturday.
A rich family in the neighborhood would also come in handy come sports fund-raising time.
You better believe neighbors would be lined up asking the bin Ladens to buy cookies, cheesecake, Girl Scout cookies, Boy Scout popcorn along with being flagged down to donate cash for fun runs and track-a-thons.
Jealous gals from the neighborhood Gardening Club would no doubt try to rub elbows with the ladies of the house. With a Christmas House Walk on the winter calendar, adding the bin Laden mansion to the program would be a total score.
If the president of the gardening club could not convince the ladies of the house to sign up for the House Walk, certainly they would attempt to convince the Mrs. Bin Ladens to consider hosting a Subdivision Bunco night or join the other neighbors for the monthly Book Club.
Of course if the bin Ladens were as reclusive in Orland Park as they were in Abbottabad, the Orland neighbors would definitely alert the authorities. There is no way the bin Ladens would last a week without being labeled as non-conformists, right?
But something tells me if the bin Laden Family chose to hide out in Orland Park, someone would surely notice something was amiss.This type of nonsense would never fly in Orland Park.
Not a chance a creepy family like bin Laden’s would move into an Orland Mansion under the cover of darkness unnoticed, not a chance. Even harder to believe would be the evil resident would stick around for five-plus years.