Things got a little weird at our old house before we moved.
Early one morning, when Alan had already left for the bakery, I got up to take a vitamin. I was taking Naproxen for the arthritis and it gave me restless legs. A good multivitamin cleared that up and let me sleep.
So, in the early-morning darkness, I staggered to the kitchen where my pills were kept. And saw a guy run up onto our back porch, past the back door.
Thinking he was trying to break in, I ran into the bathroom, the window of which is right next to the porch. I guess I thought I could maybe thwart him with a few snaps from a wet towel. My Nana was lethal with her tea-towel snapping skills, before they had to amputate her arm. And I was hoping that those skills were somehow genetic and not related to having her arm amputated in the winter of her life.
By the time I had followed that thought to the end, I realized that he wasn’t, in fact, trying to break in to my house, so I went back to the kitchen in time to see him leave the porch. I looked out the window, hoping that he would leave the property entirely and I could pretend it was just a dream, but he called something to a friend and came back.
And then he started digging with his bare hands in the planter that we have beside the back porch. We hadn’t planted anything in it this year, so it was just the bare dirt and I have no idea why he might have been digging in it. Or how he knew it was there.
I flicked the back porch light to let him know he was being watched, but there was no reaction. So I shouted at him, “Get off my porch!!!”
Because I’d just woken up, my voice came out gratifyingly deep. I kinda scared myself, to be honest. But he just kept digging. So I turned off the light. And shouted again. “Get off my porch. NOW!!!!”
There was silence. Then he said quietly, “I will if you’ll turn on the light.” And I could see his point. It was really dark back there and he was in danger of hurting himself. So I turned on the light and shouted a third time, “Get OFF the PORCH!!!!” And, finally, with a muttered, “OK. Sorry….” he did.
I texted Alan and he called me with sympathy and reassurance.
“That’s really awful!” he said. “And on your birthday, too…”
“I know, right?!?!? I mean, I always knew I’d be a feisty old lady. I just thought I’d have more time.”
He assured me I have plenty of time. And wondered if I should call the police.
“What would I say?” I asked him.
“Hmmm….” he said.
So we both agreed that I might be better off getting some sleep and thinking about it later in the day.
So I got dressed, because wearing pants will keep you safe from just about anything, and went back to bed.
And for the rest of the day I tried to think of how that phone call would go.
“Hello, I’m not sure I should even be calling you, but my husband said maybe I should…”
“Hi! A funny thing happened this morning and I thought you’d want to know about it.”
“Hey, have you had any reports of people digging in other people’s planters uninvited or is it just me?”
I could not come up with an opening line. And knowing that, when pressed, my phone skills devolve to stammering and awkward silence, I decided to just leave it be.
Alan and I did have a quick dig in the planter to see if he had left anything behind, but didn’t find anything, so we just agreed to pretend that it never happened.
Which was fine until a friend of ours asked if he could buy the planters off us before we moved. They are pretty cool and I could see why he wanted them. “Sure,” I said. “But, um, if you find anything weird in the one by the back door, it’s not ours…”
This is the friend who I scared one day during a discussion of bondage by happily announcing that ‘baguette’ is my safe word. And also scandalized with my theory that in that penguin movie, when the lady penguins come back from their break they don’t, in fact, find their mate and babies but instead march up to the closest and say, “Honey! I’m home!”
I mean, really, how can you prove otherwise?
Anyway. Martin thinks I’m a bit odd and the planter debacle has done nothing to change his opinion and we’re in for another five years of awkwardness.
Did I mention that our new apartment is in a controlled access building? I’m very happy about that.