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Mary Oves
Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Mary Oves
When she's around, stuff happens

My birthday is next week. I only want one thing for my birthday.

One dull day.

That's what I want. One day where nothing really happens. A day where I wake up, go to work, come home, make dinner, go to sleep and have a dream. Like the Waltons.

Good night Jim Boy.

I'm that person that stuff happens to. The person on "CSI" that is found in a ditch with a million dollars' worth of diamonds around her neck while simultaneously covered in pecan ragu. I guess this is good, because as a writer, I do not suffer from a dearth of writing material.

In the words of the great Dave Barry, "I am not making this up."

My dog woke me up on Saturday morning at 7 a.m., and as I came down the stairs, I saw long legs and bare feet on my couch. My husband was away, we have no guests staying over, and my sons don't have friends that old.

I stared at the figure on my couch. His arm was flung over his face, partially obscuring his features. He reeked of alcohol, was dressed preppily and had an expensive surf watch on his arm. My dog sat next to him, properly, as if to say, "I found him Mom, can I keep him? I promise I will walk and feed him."

Initially I smiled. My nephew, I thought? An ex-student who needed a place to crash? My next door neighbor? None of those made sense, and my mind drew a blank, until it moved to my children.

The boys. Check the boys.

I rushed upstairs, counted six pairs of feet, and crept back down. He hadn't moved, so I snuck out the side door and knocked on my neighbor's door, whose son is a local police officer.

As we waited for the police, I watched the young man through my screen door, to make sure he didn't move toward my sleeping sons.

The police arrived, and went to question the young man. They came out briefly to ask me, "Excuse me ma'am, do you have a son named Will?"

My neighbor swears that I hesitated. Maybe I did. I mentally counted my kids. Three kids. No Will.

"No, I don't."

So he had gotten through a side door that I had forgotten to lock. This door isn't easy to find, and is even harder to navigate around. To get in the side door you have to step over a container of clothespins, up a step, in and around the door, over the dog food and water bowls, and up another step into the kitchen.

Yet nothing was disturbed. So how drunk could he possibly have been?

He was on vacation, and was staying a few blocks over. He had wandered into the house, thinking it was his.

He was led away in handcuffs, and I couldn't help feeling bad that this dumb drunk kid was probably terrified, and that his whole vacation was ruined.

"What will happen?" I asked the police officers. I felt bad for him. "Can we just forget it?"

"This man trespassed. It can't be overlooked."

When forensics arrived, they detected a slight indentation on the other end of the couch. It was covered with silky black dog hair. Turns out my dog Mojo had, after initially barking, had curled up next to this sucker in the middle of the night.

(Ok, that part is made up. But I wouldn't put it past him).

This kind of weird stuff happens to me all the time. There's not enough space in this column to tell all the stories. But I will share my husband's favorite story in my arsenal.

I was driving home from college with a friend. We were on 206, and a pick-up truck pulled up next to us in the left lane. It was a grizzled old farmer, and he waved hello. We looked at each other, laughed, said, "Ewwwww," and he fell back behind us.

A minute later he was next to us again, smiling his toothless grin, giving us the creeps. He fell back again, and a few seconds later, my tire blew.

We were in the middle of nowhere, two teenage girls with no money. The pickup truck man pulled up to us on the shoulder of the road, and asked us if we needed a ride. We thanked him, said no, and looked around for a phone.

Right then, a nice lady from a neighboring house approached us and told us we could use her phone. The man insisted that a ride was no trouble, but we demurred.

We called my brother, and an hour later, he and his friend arrived with jokes and money. We had my car towed to the nearest maintenance station, and went home.

Two days later my car was ready. When I arrived, the repair man was looking at me funny.

"Do you know why your tire blew?" he said.

"No," I answered.

"You had something lodged in there," he said.

What, I asked?

"A bullet."



 

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