Much has been said – by me, anyway – about my troubles with the alley.
The alley, or more importantly, the 2 feet by 20 feet plot of abused earth bordered by the tarred road on one side and the garage on the other.
I want it to be nice, dammit! I want people to drive down this alley and say to themselves, isn’t this a nice alley? These people really seem to care about their neighborhood.
Because I do, dammit!
But the years have been troubling for the alley; and while I continue to plug in plants that can handle the gravel and heat, I also continue to pull little glass bottles and the odd item of personal clothing from it as well.
Last summer, our neighbor across the alley had a very nice fence put up around his backyard, replacing one that was also quite nice.
On the day in question, the truck that brought the materials for said fence pretty much took up the width of the alleyway.
I was watering the little alley garden when a large middle-aged woman in a “Little Rascal”/motorized cart with a basket on the front came down the alley.
Of course, it was abundantly clear from the beginning of the alley, six houses down, that the enormous truck/trailer had it blocked. I watched her as she came down the alley. She was zipping from one garbage can to the other, lifting the lid, digging a bit, and then moving on. In her cart she had most of a lamp, a number of plastic cups, what may have been a pair of pants, some aluminum cans.
You know. The usual.
And so as she approached my garage and where the truck certainly blocked her path, I expected her to turn around.
Instead, she managed to wedge her Little Rascal between the truck and my garage, a space that would be wide enough only if she drove through the plants.
Which she did. She drove over the plants, her wheels digging into the freshly weeded and watered earth, fully dividing a hasta, the Russian Heather, and a good-sized patch of Bee Balm.
My jaw dropped. Her wheels bogged down as she accelerated through what was turning into mud. The cart pulled through, though, leaving a good rut in its wake.
I’m standing right here! Don’t you see me?
Who drives through a garden?
I picked my way through the devastation. She was now three houses down, about to lift the lid of another garbage can.
“Excuse me,” I called.
She turned around, put the lid down, and tore down the street.
“Hey! You just tore through my garden! Don’t you care?”
She turned around, still at full speed, and hollered what I should’ve seen coming: “Fuck you!”
What? What?! Did she just – she ran over my flowers and now she – what?!
“Fuck me?” I said. “Hey! Fuck you!”
And I chased her.
In hindsight, I’m not sure what I was going to do when I caught her, but, also in hindsight, that didn’t come up.
My block is actually two city blocks long, and so by the time I had decided to chase her, she was already round the corner.
I ran, barefoot, and by the time I got to the corner, she had gone a block and was turning down another alley. I hit that alley, and she was now less than a block ahead of me.
I dug my cell phone out of my pocket and in a move that amuses me/concerns me still, pretended to dial and then have a loud and imaginary conversation with the police.
“Yes, 911? I’d like to report a case of vandalism, please. Yes, of course, I can hold, I’ve got her in my sights.
“Yes, 911? I’d like to report a large white gal on a motorized cart. She just ran over my flowerbed and doesn’t care. Yes, yes, you could describe her as a “big girl”, yes.
“You what? You say you have a car in the area? That would be great, yes I’m still chasing her…”
That was, unfortunately, about the time she turned down a freshly tarred/freshly graveled alley.
Ouch! Ouch! Ouch, ah shit. New gravel and bare feet don’t mix well.
The gig was up; and as she escaped on rubber wheels, I was forced to stop, panting, in order to pull sharp little bits of gravel out of my feet.
The alley garden – maybe I should tar over it?
p.s. Pearl is infinitely grateful for the fact that she wrote this up while on vacation as Sunday afternoo was a combination of hangover, work, and more hangover. O my.
8 hours ago