or maybe i’m just a bit stressed about this wedding stuff, not to mention dealing with ugly people a LOT lately. anyway, the man in our neighborhood, who i’m sure is nice most of the time, who decided to cross me a minute ago probably thinks i don’t like people.
that’s the thing about deciding to be nosy and make everything your business. it involves strangers, and you never know what mood they’ll be in.
take this nice man for example. we’ll call him Bill. looks like a Bill. wearing a USA sweatshirt, driving one of those ugly cars – you know the ones, those cars that only the people who own them think they aren’t ugly cars – so probably not a pretentious man, because if you’ll drive an ugly car like that, then you’re not afraid of what people think of you. that’s good, i usually like those people. in fact, i’d probably like to have Bill and his wife over for a barbecue sometime. except we don’t like each other now, so it’s not probable that we’ll ever socialize with Bill and Mrs. Bill. not that we socialize. anyway, i digress. Bill had no idea what mood this beautiful stranger would be in when he made my business his business.
so the HOA has apparently decided that the gates to the community are to be closed 24/7. fine, i’m cool with that. it keeps random people from driving through the neighborhood and using their cars as weapons to destroy our house. doesn’t keep the people on foot out, but hey. no one ever wanted to get into a neighborhood on foot.
anyway, i still don’t have a clicker for the gate, because i haven’t lived here very long. i had the clicker when i used to be the one coming in after the gate closed, but i turned it back over to Frank when i quit working. but i do have a code to enter when the gate is closed.
so i went to the gate when i got home from the post office, and i waited for 5 minutes behind the guy in front of me who couldn’t get the gate to open for his code. he finally gave up, and i took over the control panel. i kept entering the correct code, and the gate wouldn’t open. mind you, it opened for me at 1:00 today when i got home from my massage. anyway, i tried several times, and then the guy in front of me, who was now in line behind me, he and i had a discussion about how the code for the gate doesn’t work. he drove off to the HOA office, and i stuck around, on the exit side, waiting for someone to come through. i don’t think that’s unreasonable, considering that it’s my house (ours), not the HOA’s, that the HOA is keeping me out of. not to mention the $109 a month that we pay to make sure the gate works.
so a car exited, and i entered, and they recognized me and waved, and i waved and smiled. then i passed another car, and the man in the driver’s seat (Bill) looked at me as if i were an alien. and he did that whole crane-your-neck thing, stopped his car in the middle of the street, far from the gate, apparently deciding whether he should follow me and eject me from the neighborhood for being a bad girl who enters at the exit gate.
well, i’m not a big fan of being looked at like i don’t have a right to go to my own house, so i, too, stopped my car in the middle of the street, about a hundred feet from Bill’s car. Bill got out of his car and met me about halfway. Mrs. Bill stayed in the car, which was good, because you know how shrill things can get when two ladies argue. just check out IMAO lately and you’ll see what i mean. so here’s how my first conversation with Bill went. yes, there is more than one conversation.
BILL: [looks at me like i'm not good enough to be in his neighborhood]
SARAHK: [calmly at this point] yeah, the gate code doesn’t work. that’s why i had to come in the other gate.
BILL: yes it does!
SARAHK: well, it doesn’t right now. i just tried. i couldn’t get in, and neither could the guy in front of me.
BILL: [accusatory] what code do you have?
SARAHK: [affrontedly] what code do you have?
BILL: [argumentative] i’m not telling you!
SARAHK: [arguing back] well, i’m not telling you either! that’s bad security!
BILL: [just assume the whole rest of the conversation is argumentative] well, * i * live here!
SARAHK: [mad now] so do * i *!
BILL: oh yeah? where?
SARAHK: XXXXX XXXX Lane! [should have added, as if it's any of your business!]
BILL: well! you don’t have a clicker??
SARAHK: no i don’t! my husband bought this house before we were married!
BILL: well, Julie [changed name to protect the uninvolved] can give you one, all you have to do is go over to the office!
SARAHK: yeah, well i haven’t had a chance yet, i haven’t been here that long!
BILL: well the code works! my wife used it an hour ago!
SARAHK: good for her! i used it around 1:00 today, and it worked then too! but it doesn’t work now! [at this point i'm to the boiling point, so i'm headed for my car before i call him a big fat doodyhead]
BILL: well, if it doesn’t work, i can call Julie and tell her!
SARAHK: well, ya know, i could do the same, but i don’t carry her number with me!
BILL: well. i don’t mean any offense [you don't??]. it’s just that a couple months ago i saw about 8 teenagers walking through the neighborhood, and they were just looking for empty houses!
SARAHK: [calmly now, though still steaming mad] well, i’m 29 years old. and i live here. and if the gate doesn’t work, i still have a right to go to my house. and if that means coming in through the exit, that’s what i’ll do. the HOA doesn’t own the house. they don’t get to keep me from going home to it. [should have added that the 8 teenagers probably didn't drive through the gate if they were walking the neighborhood. there's a good chance they walked in on foot. on the SIDEWALK!] [also should have added that it's 5:30 in the afternoon, so i must look extremely stupid if he thinks i'm going to vandalize empty houses at 5:30 p.m.]
at that point i got back in my car and drove home and stomped into the house. in a few minutes the doorbell rang.
i knew who it was. and i opened the door. proceed to conversation #2.
BILL: the code works. we just entered it, and it works.
SARAHK: [absolutely stunned that this man came to my door just to say nanny nanny boo boo, i got the gate to open when you couldn't, must mean that i live here and you don't.] well, good for you.
BILL: we put in the right code.
SARAHK: congratulations! 4747? [code changed so none of you drive through our gate and plow a car into Bill's house.]
BILL: [looking confused that i could actually have had the code right. after all, i don't live here.] that's the code we just put in.
SARAHK: me too. it didn't work for me. that's great that it worked for you and your wife. maybe it works sporadically! it didn't work for the guy in front of me either! he finally drove away to the HOA office!
BILL: [looking ever so confused that i wasn't the lone idiot being kept from her house.] well...
SARAHK: and you know what? i don't think that it's unreasonable, if i live here, and you see that i do, that if the gate doesn't work, and i can't get to my house, i shouldn't be able to find another way in! it's my house!
BILL: [who has come and rang my doorbell simply to tell me that he and his wife, who are sooooo special, can get into the neighborhood when i could not] hey! back off!
SARAHK: [i'm sorry, did you just come ring my doorbell, and now you're telling me to back off?] and i don't think i should be treated as if i'm not allowed in here!
BILL: i wasn't trying to offend. [well, i wasn't trying to be pretty, it just happened!] it's just... well, you have out of state plates...
SARAHK: [ignoring his true point that if i have out of state plates, i must be an out-of-state stalker coming to drive my car into someone's house] well, i'm sorry i'm a Texan. [they would never treat me like this in Texas, btw.]
BILL: i can't even talk to you! [throws up his hands in the air and walks off the porch.]
SARAHK: you know what? i'm a woman. we're irrational. you should be used to that.
BILL: well, anyway, the code works.
SARAHK: that's great.
i finally just closed the door.
i'll bet Bill and Mrs. Bill aren't going to invite us to their Tuesday night Bunco game.