Two weekends ago, I was getting cleaned up on Saturday morning to head to Kokomo for my mom’s and my “Spa Day.” [see previous post for details] Marc had already left for class, and I was upstairs in the bathroom drying my hair. Through the drone of the hairdryer, I thought I could faintly detect a pounding noise. So I turned off the hairdryer…waited…waited…no pounding, not a peep from Barkley. Returning to my task, I turned the hairdryer back on only to hear the pounding once more. Was I imagining things? Again…turn off hairdryer…waiting…waiting…nothing. When it happened a third time, my curiosity was peaked enough to send me to the window to see if, perhaps, the neighbors were working on a new construction project or something to cause the mysterious racket. No sign of anyone.
For a second, I thought that someone might be knocking on the door–a thought quickly dismissed by past experiences when Barkley used his “big-boy bark” to notify us of guests, friends, intruders, or any other potential treat dispensing human. But this time, he was quiet as a mouse. So I went on with my hairdrying business…trying to redeem any sort of hairstyle from my thrice interupted attempt to dry my mane. After a brief moment, the hairdryer’s steady stream of hot air stopped, followed by a “too hot” electrical smell. That’s it…there would be no more hairdrying today…ol’ blue had gone on to hairdryer heaven, and I was suddenly startled by the BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! of our security system’s door alarm. Heart beating a million miles per hour, I dashed to the bedroom window and looked out across the backyard to see the utility door to our garage wide open and sunlight pouring through from the apparently open overhead door.
A myriad of thoughts raced through my mind…was Marc’s class canceled?…is someone breaking in? Somehow, in the midst of my mini-crisis, I managed to put on my robe and slippers, grab my alarm system keys from the nightstand, and dial Marc’s cell phone as I raced down the stairs towards the back door. Please, Marc, answer the phone! With each passing ring, my heart sank as I realized that my latter suspicion was likely a more accurate assessment of the current situation. I abandoned the call, flung open the back door, and spied the silhouette of a stocking-capped (thankfully not ski-masked) man standing in our garage. This man was not Marc.
Suddenly, a roar came from the depths of my belly, and I screamed out, “GET OUT OF THERE!!!” The sound shocked even me, and I started out the door towards the garage without even thinking of what consequences my sudden bravery might invoke. I’m sure that I was a sight–barging through the door in my hot pink robe and clog slippers. And I don’t know whether it was my apparrel or my violent shouts, but something shocked the “intruder” and caused him to flail his arms about in a “stop the onslaught” manner.
“It’s your neighbor,” the voice cried out. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I realized that it was indeed our friendly neighbor, James, from across the alley. Throughout the day, James lets his dogs roam the alley for a moment, and that particular morning, he grew a little curious as the dogs ran down the alley and disappeared into our garage. When he walked down to check it out, lo and behold, our garage door was wide open–a virtual free-for-all for any hooligans looking for some loot. He explained that there were leaves and paper stuck to the weather stripping that interfered with the sensor that stops the door from closing on top of people, animals, cars, etc. The problem was that said sensor also prevented him from pushing the garage door button and then running back under the door and into the alleyway. First, he tried to get our attention by knocking on the door (enter pounding sound) and then finally resorted to opening the utility door (enter BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!) to go around the garage after shutting the overhead door.
My first reaction was obviously one of great relief–I put out my hand to shake his hand, and he politely removed his glove before following suit–followed by feeling apologetic for mistaking him for your everyday ne’r do well. In fact, James commented that he was certain we didn’t want our door wide open for anyone to just walk right in. He finished brushing the muck away from the bottom of the door and stood in the alley as he instructed me to give the door another try. As the door came to a rest against the concrete, I heard his muffled voice say, “You’re good.”
As I sauntered back to the house, my emotions finally settled on something I wasn’t expecting–sadness. I’m not sure why, but as I finished cleaning up and made the drive to Kokomo, I couldn’t help feeling like I had been so rude to someone who was trying to help. I stewed over the scenario throughout the day, wondering if I was overly mistrusting; marveling at how, in a fight-or-flight situation, I had instinctively chosen fight. Finally, as we headed out to dinner that evening, I was able to put my mind and heart at ease. We saw James walking down the alley from another neighbor’s home. As Marc opened the car door to offer an apology, James yelled out, “Hey! Your wife was going to shoot me earlier!” Marc laughed, and I spouted off yet another, “I’m so sorry.”
“No problem,” he said, “I would have done the same thing.”