"I want to be John Cleese, and it took some time to realize that the job was in fact taken." Douglas Adams
I have recently been leaving my gate unlocked because there's been a lot of backyard clean-up since Hurricane Ike and workers have needed to get in and out. So yesterday without any heads-up (pressing the doorbell would have been good to alert me to take a look around before coming downstairs in scanty attire. There are French doors with big glass leading from my living room to my yard.) some men turned up back there.
Anyway, luckily I heard them crunching over leaves and hesitated before wandering by the windows. My initial plan was to treat them like all the creatures who pass through my backyard...if they don't bother me, I don't bother them. This policy has worked with squirrels, birds, raccoons, cats, and possums in the past and I couldn't see why humans should be any different. If anything, people should be smarter and require less supervision than woodland creatures.
But then I notice one of the men walking along the top of the fence. It has no platform and is not designed to be walked on, but I do allow the squirrels to use it as a bridge. Of course, they only weigh two pounds and have claws for traction. Ditto for the cats. This man is wearing boots that are decidedly wider than the fence.
Now fully dressed, I open the door and say, "Hey. What's up?"
"We're from the cable company," the one on the ground responds.
"Do you also have circus training?" I ask.
The one walking along fence clutches a half-broken tree limbs for balance.
"He's okay. That's the only way to get to the cable."
"Isn't the cable underground?"
"Well, yeah, it's along the ground, but it's easier to pass it along this way. He's fine. We do it all the time."
I quirk a brow. Three quarters of my fence fell down during Hurricane Ike. One of the sections that was recently repaired still has bits of exposed nails. Also, though I'm no structural engineer, I have noticed that the squirrels have been avoiding the un-replaced area, so I've got my doubts about its stability.
The man on the fence wobbles. I know that if he falls and cracks his head, I'll have to help him, but I'm supposed to meet a friend for coffee, so the timing of his concussion would be really inconvenient for me.
"Well, unless you've got trapeze training and insurance, I'd prefer it if you'd stay a little closer to the ground while you're in my yard."
They grumble, but the would-be gymnast hops down.
"Thanks," I say and wave, retreating back into my house.
Fifteen minutes later, I hear a whoomp. I look out. My yard is empty, but I see the non-climber standing in my neighbor's yard trying to look over my neighbor's fence into a different yard.
I open the window. "Do you have a man down?" I ask.
The non-climber whirls and says quickly, "He's fine."
I nod. "Is he talking?"
"Is he bleeding?"
The non-climber glowers but doesn't answer because, naturally, he doesn't know. "Go around and check. If there's blood or he can't walk or talk, ring my doorbell."
"Don't waste time," I say, waving a hand. My Hippocratic Oath is my business, and there isn't much time before I need to leave. I finish getting ready and gather my stuff. Downstairs, I go first in my yard, but I don't hear any sounds from the surrounding area.
So I walk to the front of the house, and note the would-be gymnast limping to the cable van. There's no blood and he's grimacing, but coherent.
"I didn't fall," he announces.
Sure you didn't, I think. The sky's raining sacks of flour.
"Okay." I say, getting in my car.
I start to pull out of my driveway, but stop. I'm not sure if the cable guys' mission was accomplished. There could be more of them coming...
I hop out and stroll over to the metal gait and lock it. Guys who aren't as nimble--or as smart--as squirrels shouldn't be in my yard without supervision.
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