It's not often I feel vulnerable, or have that edgy-scared sensation that most women have felt at some point. That's not to say guys can't be scared or feel defenseless, because really, anyone can. It's just a more common feeling with those of the female persuasion.
By the time you reach a certain stage/level/age in life, bad stuff has happened, you've been tested, and if you're fortunate enough to still be standing, then you can pretty much handle things you never thought possible when younger and untried.
Yesterday I had a confrontation with one of the asswipes further along the road from my house. He and his banjo-twanging tribe of misfits moved into the neighborhood a few years back and have been the scourge of the mountain ever since. I won't go into the myriad problems they have caused, or the many ways they have dented the joys of living in this mountain community. Apparently it's too hard for them to understand the concept of civilization. These are the kind of folks who think the rules--any rules--don't apply to them.
So, this saga begins on Sunday afternoon, when the quiet is shattered by a gang of kids that come tearing down the road on scooters, bikes, hot wheel contraptions and skateboards. None of those items are allowed on the tiny, winding mountain road, and for good reason: Come around one of the hairpin curves...and splat...you've just mowed down a kid.
[I should mention at this point that there are no children up here except at the tribe house. There's no place to play with steep drop-offs on both sides of the road and most folks have enough sense to want their children to have a safe environment, not one that is life-threateningly dangerous.]
Next to my property is a green belt, then a small lot owned by a couple who live in Arizona and want to preserve the pristine wilderness by not disturbing it with construction or razing the old-growth white oaks. The kids--like a plague of locusts--descend on this lot, start tearing the bark off the trees, breaking the branches off the junipers, knocking over the bench that overlooks the view...and all at the high-pitched wail of several banshees released from Hell.
I try to ignore things, try to find my train of thought in the story I'm writing, try desperately not to have a brain meltdown as I grit my teeth and wonder if it's too early in the day for whiskey. I end up putting on my headphones whilst I ponder if I should be doing something about these hellions as they destroy private property. They finally go away when it gets dark. At no time did I see or hear an adult in the hours these wretched children rampaged.
Yesterday. I've been busy most of the day, but managed to finish my story and am just getting ready to post it, when--frigging hell and damnation--here they come again. Along with everything else, it appears going to school isn't something the tribe family is interested in doing either.
I let the chaos ensue for an hour or so, then I just got fed up. I went out on the front deck and told them they were on private property and they needed to go home and play in their own yard. They stared, and grumbled, and a couple of them wanted to argue though I just went back in the house and hoped they would go away. I felt better having said something, as opposed to letting them continue running amok.
And amazingly, they actually left! I was thrilled. Peace and quiet settled over my little part of the mountain. I took a nice deep breath and began to proof my short story before posting.
Clomp, clomp, clomp. Ozzy starts barking, I look out the front windows. The tribe father is at my door. Insanely, my first thought was that he'd come to apologize for the kids and their unruly and disruptive behavior. Yeah, I know...what planet do I live on...????
I open the door and this bloody bastard demands to know why I've yelled at his kids--who, according to him, can be on anybody's property that they feel like because, hey, they're just kids and can do what they please. When he's done railing, I tell him what they've done over on the lot, how they've been unsupervised for hours at a time, how two of them were nearly killed by cars and/or falling over the embankment, and it is private property, not a theme park.
Now, here's the thing, which becomes apparent within two minutes of talking to this moron. This is a guy who thinks no matter what, he's in the right. But worse, he's never going to be told off by a...wait for it...woman. Even with a case of beer balanced on my head, he's not going to listen to a word I say.
We're talking through my screen door at this point. I've just told him anything could be happening to his kids and he wouldn't even know it, that he has a responsibility to keep them safe. He leans into the screen and sneers, "Don't you ever tell my kids what to do again." I look at him in total disbelief. Seriously? He's threatening me? On my own porch?
"You've got to be kidding me," I say, staring into his mean, beady little eyes.
Then he reached for the handle on the screen door. Which fortunately is locked, but suddenly, I get that edgy-scared feeling, a sensation I totally, completely hate. Vulnerability washes over me. I'm alone in my house, on a frigging mountain, with a lunatic hillbilly hissing through a thin sheet of mesh, all manly threats and intimidation.
When he realizes the screen door is locked, he repeats the sentence, this time with an "or else" implied on the end of his threat. I stare at him for a second, my stomach twisting, then I say, "Get off my porch," and slammed the door in his face. He stood there for a minute, tried the door handle again, then stomped off the porch.
I called Bunny, one of my neighbors, just to let someone know that if murder was in my future, someone should know who was culpable. Then I stewed. Thought of 42 different things I could have/should have said. I reviewed my options, thought about the police, tried to meditate to calm my mind, fought tears of frustration at being bullied.
After long hours tossing and turning in the night, and some lengthy arguments with myself whilst walking the boys this morning, I've regained most of my equilibrium. Life goes on, and in the whole scheme of things, this was just a disagreeable moment in my journey.
Though if I suddenly vanish, dear readers, you'll know where to look. Just follow the sound of banjo picking...