I Must Protect This House. And These Garbage Cans.

So there I was working from home, sitting in my basement on a Slack call when I hear a sustained car horn – at least a solid four seconds of honk – followed by three or four muffled sounding booms. I’m intrigued.

My house is on a corner, so my first thought is car accident. I go upstairs to have a look, but when I look out the window I see no cars. I scan the intersection and see no debris or evidince of any vehicular foul play. What I do see is a lady walking down the sidewalk appearing to be gesturing at somebody down the block. I can’t hear what she’s saying, but she is definitly yelling. I try to look down the street to see who she is yelling at, but from my vantage point I can only see two or three houses and there is nobody else in sight. Perhaps she is yelling at the person who honked and has since driven away? Well she keeps walking so I keep watching, though I move to a different room in the house to get a better view of the street.

She is now four or so houses from when I first saw her and she is still yelling at what appears to be nobody. At this point I assume she was yelling at the person in the car and is now just venting some very public frustrations. This is a good time to give a bit of important informaiton – it was garbage day, so several houses had their garbage cans out. One such house, was the house she was approaching, and at this point she turned the focus of her anger from nobody in general, to garbage cans in particular. She shoved over all three that were sitting out in front of this house. Luckily the trash and recycling had already been picked up, so no strewn garbage.

The guy who lives at this house now comes out to confront her, but before he can get off the porch his dog runs out barking. Between the distance from me to them and the barking dog I still can’t really make out what is being said, but I can get the gist that this lady is quite certain that this guy is going to hell. It seems that this row is a dispute between neighbors. Good old neighborhood drama. I continue to be intrigued.

So the dog is barking, she is damning the guy to hell, and he is telling her to go away. Now that the garbage cans have felt her fury, she needs a new outlet for her rage. She walks from the base of the driveway over the side of the yard and finds her target. A medium to large sized landscaping rock. Actually, I’d safely say this thing was a downright stone. She bends down and picks it up, and my immediate thought was “oh my God she is going to crush his dog!” She did not. She gave a heave and it landed maybe two feet infront of her. I have to say, she was never going to get much distance given her lifting form. This is why its so important to lift your legs people.

Needless to say, this really set the guy off. He came down from his porch returning his own promises of hellfire back to her and encouraging her to leave. And she sort of did. Rather than go back from whence she came, she crossed the street, apparently still looking for more objects to rage upon. Luckily for her there is a bank of mailboxes right across the street from the guy’s house. Now, these are burried, if not cemented, in the ground, and she’s is a lady in barefeet with fury to dispence and not a teenager in an F-150 with a baseball bat to swing. These mailboxes are not in immenent danger, but rage on them she must. With all the hate-filled force she could summon she flung open every last mailbox door! Take that! You know, a good angry door slam is great. An angry door open? I guess it depends on the kind of door, but a tiny mailbox door sure ain’t it.

At this point, she is in the street and clearly not satisfied by her assult on the mailbox doors, and really, how could she be? This is when a car pulls up and stops next to her. Could this be the original horn honking car? The driver rolls down their window, and while I can’t hear what is said, it clearly doesn’t go over well. The lady open-hand slaps the car and the driver the floors it to get away. Perhaps she gave a brief thought of giving chase, or was just looking for more inanimate objects to unleash herself upon, but she now started making her way down the other street that forms the intersection of which my house is at the corner. So my view is only getting better.

*Picture of my actual garbage can replaced to protect the victim.

I don’t know if she has a plan, but it’s clear she has garbage cans on the brain. And also probably meth. The house across the street from me has their garbage cans out too, and she makes a beeline for them. She quickly topples them and is looking to move on. She looks across the street to my house, where all three of my garbage cans are sitting out. Of all the days for it to be trash, yard waste, and recycling on the same day.

At this point I shift from guy-watching-from-between-the-blinds to Man Protecting His House. I walk to my front door and as I’m opening it she is dropping my garbage cans like bad habits. I feel the need to say something, but I also don’t want to escalate this lady. I need to be firm yet respectful, so I ma’am her. “Ma’am, can you pick those up?” I ask.

She doens’t respond.

I hit her with it again, “Ma’am, can you pick those up?”

I’ve got her attention now. She pivots and starts heading right toward me. As she gets closer I can see that she’s got the crazy eyes. I stand my ground though, and ask again, “Are you going to pick those up?” She gets closer, almost up to my porch now. I decide to treat her like some kind of wild puma, and I stand firm and look right back at her in her crazy eyes. Mind you I actaully have no idea what to do should you encounter a puma. I have read a book on bear attacks, but waving my arms in the air and screaming “Hey lady! You get out of here! You get!” doesn’t seem like a great option.

Just a few steps from my porch now she is staring at me with a mix of rage and total mental vacancy. And now that I have a good look at her face, I know that I have never seen this lady before. Not that I know everybody in my neighborhood, but I am fairly certain I could pick the people that live within a few houses of me out of a line up. “Do I even know you?” I ask.

“God knows you!” She replies. “And you’re going to hell!”

Plot twist! Turns out she’s not overflowing with rage from a run-in with a neighbor, she’s overflowing with the holy spirit! And also probably meth.

Now that I’ve joined the guy across the street in a sentense of eternal damnation, she’s decided I should also join him in having my landscaping feel her fury. I have no rocks, but I’ve got plants. She reaches down and grabs a handfull of leafy green growth and throws it at me. Much like the mailbox doors incident, this does not have the effect I’m sure she was hoping for. The leaves gently flutter to the ground without making it even half way to me. Clearly unsatisified from her leaf throwing, and again, who could blame her, she finds a more substantial target – a planter. Now, this thing is pretty heavy and awkward to grab, so she gives up hope of chucking it pretty quickly and settles for tipping it over. Apparently this satisfies her and she walks away.

I watch her go back to where she was coming from originally and back into a house which I assume is hers, though like I said, I have never seen this lady before. I take a mintue to wrap my head around what the hell just happened, and to keep an eye on the house to see if she stays in there. It seems her path of destruction has come to an end so I go back out to pick up my garbage cans. It is then that the thought enters my brain -what if she comes back out with a gun? I’m out here with no cover tending to my fallen cans. I wonder what the odds are she has a gun. She’s a middle aged white person with anger and/or substance abuse issues. Of course she has a gun. I go back inside and make sure all the doors are locked.

EPILOGUE:

I keep looking out the window peridically to see what happens next. Pretty quickly the cops show up. They knock on her doors and windows, and I can hear one cop say to another that he can see her sitting at the kitchen table. They keep knocking and trying to talk to her through the window, which apparently she finds annoying because she gets up, pulls down the blinds, then goes and sits back down. Bold move.

Over the next hour or so, a total of three cop cars, one paramedic unit, and one fire truck show up. There is also an industrial food supply delivery truck parked outside at one point, which I assume is either unrelated or a family member came from work to check on the situation. Which, of all the times to borrow a company car, you choose this one? “Hey boss, I gotta go check on a public disturbance my sister is causing, and I’m parked way out back. Is it cool if I take the giant cube truck with our company name on the door?”

Eventaully the paramedics wheel her out on a stretcher. Her hands and legs are strapped down. Did she have a mental breakdown? Was it drug induced? I don’t know. But I do know this – my kids are sure as hell skipping that house at Halloween.

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