Saturday, June 29, 2013

Watching Eyes

"Your pool is looking good," my 86 year-old neighbor said taking down his U.S. flag for the day.
"Thanks, Harold," I said shuffling toward The House after work. 
"I'm glad you kept the bricks around the pool."
"Thanks--?"
"But what're the extra bricks for?" 
Extra bricks?



I stopped in my tracks. Like most chlorine-loving, fish-wannabe people, our pool was located in our fenced-in, private backyard. So how did Harold know so much about our pool? Our backyard? Our lives? Did he jump the 6-foot fence and poke around when we were gone? Did he have X-ray vision? Was he a superhero in disguise?

I shared my disquiet over Harold's knowledge with Mr. Wonderful. 
"He's bored so he takes an interest in us," my spouse said petting Jackson and sipping a glass of wine. "Plus he used to care for the pool when his parents-in-law lived in our House."
"That was 20 years ago," I said. "And doesn't explain how he knows what's going on with it now--!" Mr. Wonderful told me to relax as he filled my wine glass to the rim. Mr. Wonderful is persuasive. I drank, I relaxed. 

The next day I had a vacation day from work. GLORIOUS! I waved good-bye to Mr. Wonderful as he went to the studio then I spent the morning working at home. In my pajamas. It was UBER GLORIOUS! After working out and showering I finally got dressed after 2 PM. I exited to the backyard to dump the recyclables in the blue bin when--behind me--I heard the worst sound: the door closed with a Click. The door was locked! I tried the doorknob. The lock was solid. I ran to the back door, front door, side door but everything was locked. I rushed to the kitty-door and pushed the flap in. There stood Jackson: my hero!

"Jackson, unlock the door," I pleaded, hope caressing my words. Jackson sat, lifted his leg--for a Bruce Lee karate chop?--then licked his toenails. One by one. Some hero.

I rushed to the guesthouse and tried all its doors, windows and ventilation venty vents. Everything was locked up like Fort Knox. Ugh! Why did we have to be so thorough? 

I needed to get into the House. Maybe I could invite Mr. Wonderful home for a late lunch? I could call him… if I had a phone. Maybe our alarm system could help? I could call them… if I had a phone. Maybe I could call 911?… If I had a #$%^& phone!

That's when genius struck--granted genius avoids me at most points in my life but at this moment it hit me like a ton of bricks. A phone! I could call all these people if I borrowed Harold and Norma's phone!

I bounded over to the neighbors and rang the doorbell. Harold answered.
"We were wondering how long it would take you to come over."
"Excuse me?"
"Norma said two hours. I said one." This was the creepiest thing Harold had said yet. Maybe I would be creeped out if I entered their creepy house?
"Come in, dear," Norma said with a smile appearing next to Harold. "Getting locked out is the worst."
How did he, she, they know? 

Harold handed me the phone, I stepped into their living room and dialed Mr. Wonderful. 
"Come home quick, I'm locked out and our neighbors are spies!" 
"I'm in a meeting," he said explaining he couldn't come home for a late lunch, early dinner or four o'clock teatime. "You'll have to make do until tonight."

Reluctantly I returned to the spies' hangout--their family room. Norma got me a glass of water. I wanted to ask how they knew so much about us instead I sat across from them sipping water and making chitchat about the weather.

I set the empty glass on the kitchen counter and noticed they had a window over the sink. Looking out to see their view, I saw our backyard, our pool, our lives on display. Their house sat on a hillock putting it several feet above ours and those extra feet gave them a grand view over the shared fence into our place.

"So what are you doing without the extra bricks?" Harold asked standing next to me.
"Make the fence between us higher," I said.
"What a great idea," Norma said smiling.

I thought the same thing.