the other day i was sitting in the yard chatting on the phone when an unfamiliar truck drove up the driveway and parked in front of my house.
now, when you live out in the "country" and people just drive up and park right in your driveway they are treated with suspicion. which is weird because how else would they get to your house? but i suppose it's because the driveways are long and the houses set back that it seems a violation. and plus people who move out to the middle of nowhere do it because they don't want people just showing up in their driveway.
anyhow so i walk over and there's this guy i've never seen before getting out of his truck.
"hi. can i help you?"
he gestures to his papers and asks if i'm my husband.
and right away i know who he is. he is "the guy" who drives around and tacks up foreclosure notices on your property.
so i'm on the phone and i'm wishing him gone and as polite as i can i say
"i'll take those."
"can't let you do that."
"do you need my husband? or a signature?"
(BTW what is this 1960? what am i? chopped liver? while i appreciate my husband being on the frontline of all the financial bullshit, this house and all its attendant problems are half mine. oh yeah, that's right. i like the gender lines that are drawn when it comes to trash day and dead bats, but i can pull my betty friedan out at the drop of a hat. it's a talent.)
"i'm standing right here, can you please just hand them to me?"
"i have to tack them to the house."
"listen, my kids are going to come out any moment. as you can imagine this would be a difficult and awkward situation for us all. can you just hand them to me? please?"
"no. i have to tack them to the house and take a picture."
"okay, i understand. can you please be quick. before my kids come out?"
that's right. we haven't told the boybarians. because it isn't time yet. because i'm still holding out for the miracle. and because difficult words find their own time frame. they come out when they're ready. i have trust in that.
so he goes and tacks up the notice and takes a few pictures and then starts back to his truck.
"thanks for being quick. i appreciate it."
and because he must encounter hostile and hysterical homeowners every single day and this was obviously different from that, or because he was just a nice guy, or nosy, he came closer and leaned into me as if we were in a crowded room and he had to be discreet. he asked, quietly, not unkindly,
"what is it? just behind in your payments? bad loan?"
and i realized that he was just being friendly. that he was using this opportunity to let the homeowner open up to him if need be. that perhaps he saw himself as a kind of anonymous shoulder to cry on, a knowing and experienced shoulder. you know, because he's "in the business." i've seen it all, i could imagine him saying as he encouraged me to tell him my own tale of woe.
and i thought it was sweet. he's just doing his job, most likely low paying, definitely thankless, and here he is taking the time to talk to me. to give me a chance to talk if i need to, to maybe make sure i'm okay.
and in that split second i was glad i wasn't the hysterical and hostile homeowner. that despite it all, i maintain some composure and semblance of manners. because i will tell you what, even though you know what it looks like it's still a shock when it happens. again. and again. the notices on the house (there's never just one), the signing for the certified nasty grams, again and again. and every person who you sign the little slip of paper for knows, they see these all day every day. everyone trying to keep up the 30 seconds of banter, pretending what's happening isn't.
every piece of paper making things just a bit more of a hurdle. and you never know how you'll respond. you never know if it's all just going to fall apart right then and there and you'll end up going bat shit crazy on the messenger. i haven't, i probably won't, i hope i won't, but you never know.
and while i certainly wasn't going to open up to this stranger about what i'm facing (i just do that on the interwebs ;) ) i appreciated his concern and my own ability to be standing there not losing it on him. because he's just doing his job.
then i realized that he was fully checking out my chest. i can't say that he was salivating, and i can't say that he wasn't.
as i was waxing prophetic in my mind about life and the silly mortal's place in it, he was fully and openly enjoying a bird's eye view of the girls. and because it was a warm day and i was wearing the kind of tank top a young lady might wear should she hope to get some sun on her upper torso IN THE PRIVACY OF HER OWN YARD, and he was shorter than me, and then by leaning in, well, you can imagine the view he got.
"OKAY. so we're done here?"
"all right sir, you have a nice day then."
"oh, yeah, you too."
and he got into his truck and drove away with a big smile.
i'll tell you what, i want my house out of all of this. but if i come out of this with more grace than i came into it, well you know what? that would be a gift.
and if by grace i mean giving the man who's job it is to further drive the nail in the foreclosure process politeness, and respect, AND a full unadulterated view of my boobs to take with him, then so be it.
hey, grace comes in all forms. it's not mine to judge.
oh, and the papers he tacked up?
they were the notice of auction for the big red house.
and the date?
september 11, 2009.
and if that's not enough to convince you that this is the universe displaying hilarity in its finest, i just don't know what is.