So , I go out in the front yard to hose down the heater grate . Three minutes tops . [ What’s a heater grate ? This is not a post about heater grates so I’m not going to explain . Live with it . Guess . Does it matter ? If it does , then any guess is right . ]When I try to open the security door to get back into the house ………..[Wait for it ]……it’s locked .
Our doorbell works sometimes and doesn’t work at other times . I push the button , usually . At the same time I yell [ Well , it’s kind of a yell ; not so much a screech or a pathetic begging ; sort of a manly holler I would hope ; preceded , of course , by a low growl or a muffled curse word or two ——[ not ” hamburger shit ! ” though ; hamburger shit is reserved for Ikea furniture construction ] for Ada to open the door . She’s locked me out again . ” Oh , did I lock you out ? ” she asks .
Well , it must have been her . The cats can’t reach that high .
” Oh , did I lock you guys out ? ” Henry Ford may have asked his striking workers . Do I hear Walter Reuther hollering from outside the door ? [ I know . You history buffs realized that these two men are from different eras . It’s a figurative reference ; not historical. Get over it ]
I can go out to get the paper in the morning , strolling a mere 35 feet from the front door . How long does that take ? One minute round trip ? And the door will be locked by the time I get back if Ada has passed by . It’s a reflex . I don’t take it personally .
But maybe I should . I’m not the quickest thinker on the planet , not the sharpest knife in the block . In my case things take a while to sink in . Sometimes my mind tosses and rattles an idea around within the depths of my cavernous brain for months , years , churning it , honing it , rolling it around on its tongue to see just how it tastes . And then , usually in the middle of the night , I wake up with a completed thought , an answer , a clear and shiningly amazing insight . Does that ever happen to you ? It’s decades , sometimes , and suddenly the light bulb flickers on , shines a bright and wonderful light on an idea lost , by now , in the meandering endless trickle of time . ” So , that’s what was going on that day ! ” ; or , ” We could have done that ; that would have worked ! Yeah ” ; or : ” So that’s what he meant ! “
Way too late , of course .
I couldn’t be a trial lawyer . Can you imagine the judge and the courtroom full of people waiting for my brilliant reply ? I’d stand there in my inimitable catatonia , waiting for the right-on, to -the- crux- of- the- matter thought that would lead to my influential and insightful words ……….. and waiting . How much time have you got , judge ? Folks ? Can you come back in a few weeks , maybe a month ? Well , I’m certain no longer than a couple of years . Usually . I’ll have a winning reply by then .
So , anyway . Ada has this habit of locking me out . I’m all for security , too . But , you know , come on ! No bad guy is likely to rush into the house , skirting rapidly past me , as I wobble determinedly along the concrete path from the front door to the little wisteria tree near the sidewalk where the newspaper usually lands when thrown from a recklessly speeding car early in the morning .
In my neighborhood , that newspaper delivery car is the most dangerous thing I can think of . That , and the possibility one fine day of being sprayed by one of the neighborhood skunks who becomes bored or irritated by something or other and all of a sudden needs a target .
A friend of ours visited his son in Minneapolis a few years ago ; went out early in the morning to get the paper . Being a guy raised in Greece and now living in Southern California , he went out on the icy walkway in bathrobe and slippers . The slippers slipped . He fell and broke his leg and was stuck there at the end of the walk , helpless , like an upturned beetle . His family in the house were all asleep . Lucky for him , a neighbor called the house a little while later : ” There’s a strange man lying on your driveway in the snow . “
At least Arcadia isn’t snow country , because if it were , I could be in some real danger . So , I should count my blessings . And I should always carry a key to the front security door with me . And I shouldn’t take the lock -outs personally , I suppose . At least Ada hasn’t changed the lock .