I Heart Anaheim.

So things have been a bit interesting in Anaheim these days.

Rioting, protests, broken storefront windows, the occasional peaceful demonstration and helicopters overhead 24/7 have defined the past week.

Regardless of the situations that occurred, the injustice that many perceive, the investigations, FBI involvement and the transparency that the city hopes to maintain, the fact of the matter is that a bunch of people have taken things into their own hands and are now creating more of a reason for the city to be under the microscope. It’s one thing to have an organized band of people demonstrating peacefully (which has finally happened in recent days), but setting fires, assaulting people and vandalizing businesses really, really irritates me.

I haven’t gone walking in the evenings since before my knee surgery last Christmas, but lately I’ve finally been thinking about getting back into it again. After the events of the last week — or, more specifically, the reaction that some of this city’s residents have chosen to display, I think I’ll pass, just because of how close everything is to where I live. And that’s unfortunate.

There are still officers out there doing their jobs flawlessly to keep the peace…in fact, there are more than usual. There are officers from other cities who are helping out. There are make-shift base camps, horse trailers, horses, barricades, familiar areas that are now coned off and a PD that stands ready. They’re always ready, but given the behavior of many in the wake of the shootings, they’re on high alert.

Anaheim is a big city. I heard today on the news that it’s the largest in Orange County. I don’t think I knew that it was the largest, but I’m not surprised. Now that I think about it, I really don’t know of any other that could rival its size. It spans from the hills and posh gated communities to the flat lands. I dated a guy once whose friends knew I was from Anaheim, and they said hopefully, “Oh, are you from Anaheim Hills?” I replied, “Nope, just plain ol’ Anaheim.” Their response? “Oh, I’m sorry.”

Well, I was more sorry for them. I happen to have a lot of pride in this city. It’s the city I was proud to call home when away at school in Michigan, the city I was proud to come home to when I lived in Connecticut, and it’s the city I’m proud to be from — especially the “flat lands” where, yes, many people still work hard to display pride of ownership in their homes, their property and where, quite frankly, unpretentiousness reigns supreme.

I can have a bottle of beer in the evenings as I water the grass along the back parkway and be happy as a clam. People of all shapes, sizes and kinds wave as they drive by. And I love it.

The piano teacher I went to for almost 10 years lived right around the corner from where I am now. My best friend and I met when we were 5 and she lived on the street behind me. The hospital where I was born is less than a mile away. The pre-school I went to is also less than a mile away, as is my elementary school and the high school where my parents met as teenagers — and where my brother also attended in the 80s. The phone company where my mom worked in her early 20s is less than a mile away, my parents’ first house is less than a mile away, and the community park pool where I took swimming lessons is still there. It’s all just around the corner. Another park where I took ballet and baton lessons when I was little is a stone’s throw away, and a third park where I attended many softball games over the course of many summers is a stone’s throw in the opposite direction. It’s not enough to say that my life is here, because most can have a life anywhere. But my roots are here, and tonight I couldn’t be more thankful for the many officers of the Anaheim PD that do their jobs around the clock for the good of the city that many long-time residents still believe in, many new residents are proud to call home, and despite a specific group of people who give little thought to how their actions may affect a city that’s theirs, too, in the long-run. Tonight I am thankful for my city’s officers, for the support of neighboring cities and for those who work tirelessly to keep order — even for those whose actions speak to anything but.

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