You know how you can be having a great day, and you feel like all is right with the world, then something comes along and make you wish for a do-over just so the better half of your self will take control instead of the little-used, less-than-a-quarter part? Well, there's something just for those rare moments.
I went in search of something "paper" yesterday, and discovered this tin. It's a small thing, a comfortable fit for a bag or a tote. It's a nut case. Note the acorn cap on her head.
Where's his? Nut cap, his nut cap? Where's mine? I need a new one since I lost the one I wore, on an agent from Center Point Energy less than thirty minutes ago.
This is what happened. I sat here writing, and glimpsed a strange man crouched in the backyard. We've had a rash of news alerts warning of strange men cruising neighborhoods, trying to abduct children and such. Our HOA sent a text warning homeowners to be on the alert for creepy men in a truck. I watched a young man jump over our neighbor's fence, and do a running crouch to the gate; the family has three children. Turned out the fence jumper was evading the police. Too many Black men are shot first and unable to answer questions later . . . Once upon a not so long ago, our bank was robbed just minutes before I went in to make a deposit. I was accosted like I'd robbed it and was stupid enough to return to the scene. It happened over two years ago, but banks and payday loan businesses closer to home seem to take turns getting robbed. A neighbor shot his son in the back last week. They live one street over. Someone broke into our home once at 9 AM. I was home. Trauma leaves marks.
Determined never be a victim again, I approached the man in the yard. I asked how he got in. Someone on the other side of the fence said, "He jumped the fence," and the jumper chimed in, "I jumped the fence." My ever dormant temper flared like anger struck a match and lit me up just beneath my heart--the place between the where "courage" and "pissed off" reside. I asked whythey were there and why neither rang the door bell. The simple question was some sort of signal for their drama to raise the curtain on their Act I. The backyard guy let loose with his dismissive attitude. Wrong thing to do. Wrong in so many ways.
Never tell the client you're just doing your job. Never tell a client you break your own company's rules, since said client might know said Center Point employee is supposed to ring the door bell or knock, to let the homeowner know they're there, and why, before entering a locked gate. Last week the guy from AT&T rang, explained easily and politely why he needed access to the backyard. I unlocked the gate and gladly granted him access. We even chatted a bit. So why couldn't the CP dude follow protocol? His response forced me to put my hands on my hips--always a bad sign--and explain why he needs to take better care of his life since Black men like him are shot almost every day . . . I told him a whole lot more but, had he jumped the neighbor's fence, Killer wouldn't have even barked, he'd have attacked. Killer's a sneaky dawg.
Oh. And never tell a woman whose yard you've invaded that you don't have time to talk to her because you need to finish your job. The woman might remind you that you have an income because of people like her, so essentially you work for her. And never say, "Ma'am, I've apologized fifteen times . . ." because a woman who's also a wife and mother can count lies, and give you a tally quicker than a liar can lie and forget his lies.
I'm not confrontational by nature. I usually avoid uncomfortable encounters and situations because of my heart. "She has a soft heart" is tattooed on my forehead, in special ink. "Soft-hearted" was earned in school. "Bleeding heart" came later. I learned how to choose battles since the day I discovered the power of a big sister who ruled the roost because she was born first. And, I learned that it does not pay to be too docile and accepting either. Life is about learning lessons--good, and not so good ones--that teach us to be better humans. I learned from Diana "It's better to say 'there she goes, than there she lay.' " And, I might not know how to play poker but I know when to hold 'em, food 'em, and run. It's not a good thing to be "neither hot nor cold" either, but one should be slow to anger. There is a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. I found my middle ground, and stood my ground, with nothing but my rights and an iPhone. I knew I should have bought that nut case!
The Center Point employee apologized again, flashed a wonderful set of beautiful teeth, came close enough for me to see his warm brown eyes, and just like that, we were cool. We smiled, grinned, and I asked how he planned on leaving. He pointed to the lock on the gate and said, "Well, I know you're not gonna open the gate for me," and he laughed. I told him, "Yep, 'cause I want to see you jump that fence. See? The lock isn't even locked. I left it that way for the AT&T guy." We were both grinning at that point, even when he said, "What are you gonna do? Shoot me?" and he pointed at my phone. I had to laugh out loud. I almost bought a tee shirt once with the slogan photographers like. You might know it, the one we take pride in wearing that says we shoot with our cameras, not with guns. I told the young man I'd "shoot" him if he didn't jump the fence. And you know what? He laughed, turned, and, Jumping Jupiter he did just that! I wish I'd asked if he'd allow me shoot him first. I'd have given him my nut case as payment.
Now. I just finished a long letter that does no require an envelope or postage. The two from yesterday went out this afternoon. I'm working on number 38. Let us write on, and be safe.
5:06 P.M. Okay. Another fence jumper cleared the White House fence. That fence has spikes. I just saw a bluejay! Hey!