Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Early this morning Dechen called me to the kitchen window. A brown pickup truck with a plastic amber light on the cab was idling near the end of our lawn. A stout man in a cap and a gloved hand wielding a hammer banging a post into the grass made the sound that got her attention then screwed a sign to it. He's on my land, putting a sign in my lawn. Amazing. What ever might it say? HOME OF FIRST BUDDHIST IN COUNTY perhaps. DISTANT RELATIVE OF GREAT JEWISH POET maybe. Sure, it is a bit odd, but I'm only half-awake and when you are as well-known as I am, you learn to expect this sort of thing. Or similar inexplicable things. Or not. It all seemed relatively unintrusive, quite unlike that telephone polejack out here a few years back, who was a genuine weirdo. Besides, these guys are not necessarily paid to think, but get paid no matter what you think and will invariably tell you that they are just following orders. If you want to complain, call this number, press three and ask for Ms. Nancy.
It was still cold enough and early enough that as much as they love a good rousing bark and snarl at hapless intruders, the dogs didn't want to leave their padded nook on the front porch to badger the dude and at that hour, I felt much the same way. It all looked harmless enough. I really didn't want to have to put on my shoes and jacket and go out there and engage the good fellow. If he is confident enough to live in rural Tennessee and be banging something into my front lawn at this hour, well then, I'll just stay curious and give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, I'm nursing a cup of hot soymilk here, the only food I will eat for the next six hours; this is definitely not the time to do much else.
It wasn't until he waddled back into the truck and drove off that we could see what the sign said. Whoa. That's a little aggressive, ain't it? We laughed and Tenkar walked out with her camera to record another true-life experience that you might not otherwise believe. Our land ends in those woods beyond the magnolia. We are the very last house on a dead end street. This sign will be seen by my family alone. As if to admonish us for our pace of preference through this world and urging us to conform to the cultural hyper-drive and not only to get with it but to literally step on it as we risk another excursion into denser and often meaner parts of the grid.
We have never driven this fast on our little road, don't intend to start and don't think anyone else should either. This curvey gravel lane soon ends at the blacktop where the schoolbus stops, a mere quarter mile away. Kids living in the hollow walk this stretch at least twice a day.
Time to give them a call down at the courthouse. In the meanwhile, money is getting tight (again). Watch 'em try and clock us for driving too slow down our own driveway.