Last time you heard from me, I was waxing philosophical about the intimacies of friendship and my growth as a human under the tutelage of one fantastic friend/Roomie. You may wonder how I’ve fared since then on my own, and I will say, with great zest, “fabulous!”
This fall I will cross the pond into the golden sunsets of Tuscany, but before I depart, I’m watching Mom and Dad’s place. I thought this might be rough for various reasons, but thus far it’s been pretty good! And, to top it off, I’ve been caring for a very wonderful chocolate Lab who belongs to my brother and sister-in-law. I like to call him “my brown shadow,” because he follows me everywhere and is a wonderful (if a bit on the quiet side) companion.
The only rub about my four-legged ward is that he doesn’t like to stay outside by himself. And really, in this heat, who can blame him? As far as I know, he just sleeps on the couch or on my brother’s (old) bed until I come home. But with his canine predilections, I’m left struggling with the alarm system. The damn dog keeps setting it off! Well, I’m mostly to blame because I would set it incorrectly with him left innocently inside to hide from the blaring sirens. But I’ve been feeling incredibly stupid and sheepish whenever I’m alerted that the police have been summoned to my home — again.
So this brings us to this morning. I secured the pup inside, hopped in my Mom’s SUV (I’ve been driving this instead of my sedan because a] I was moving and b] I’m hauling a 100lb chocolate lab everywhere, and it’s much easier to do in a SUV), and backed out of the drive, closing the gate behind me. As I backed into the street, I heard the now-familiar wail of our alarm system. In a panic and visualizing the police making yet another trip to my home, I said a bad word, put the car in drive, parked (or so I thought), turned off the car, grabbed the keys (the car is one of those push-button start/stop ones where you don’t actually ever insert a key), leaped out of the car, and start to run to the house. However, at first I think it’s me that’s moving, but then I very quickly realize that the car is still moving forward. I grabbed the door handle to figure out why this is happening, and inside the car I see that the gear is on “R” not “P.”
The car rolls forward. I try to reach in to put the car in park, but instead I can only watch as it drifts slowly down the driveway towards the house. It finally stops with the help of a brick partition. And then, with a sickening thud, momentum and gravity crumbled the wall on top of a crepe myrtle and my mother’s tomato plants. I stand there for a split second in complete and total shock, open the door to put the car in park, and then sprint inside to turn off the offending alarm.
When all is silent, I dragged myself back outside to survey the damage, quickly and shakily calling my boss to tell her I wouldn’t be at our meeting in :15 minutes. Then, I call Mom to tell her that something very weird and bad has happened. While I’m trying to explain the situation to a sleepy mommy (they’re two hours behind me), I hear the door of my neighbor’s home open and close. My cheeks flush with shame, and I turn around. Friendly Neighbor #1 says, “is that your Mom? Let me talk to her.” And he proceeds to walk my mom through everything, assuring her that I’m fine, the car’s fine (mostly), and that all can be repaired. What a kind, kind man he is. He even called his brick specialist for me and arranged for all next steps.
I sent Mom the above picture, and she wrote back that it looks like I knocked it over with my bare hands. At least she has a great sense of humor and can focus on the positive in such a hairy situation (she’s having a solar fence guy come out to take advantage of this “unique opportunity”). I haven’t talked to Dad yet. I think I’ll wait until this is funny.
Since this morning, two other neighbors called to make sure I was okay and that I knew about the wall (yesssss….). One of them offered to bring me a bottle of tequila. I knew my parents had great neighbors, but today I realized what incredibly wonderful people and true blessings they are. They each implored me to ask for help if I needed it.
So, that’s the story of the wall. A freak accident that could have been worse but wasn’t. A reminder of my good fortune and the wonderful people in my life.