Last summer, our neighbor across the alley had a very nice fence put up around his backyard, replacing an existing fence that was also very nice.
The truck that brought the materials for said fence pretty much took up the width of the alleyway.
I am just finishing watering my little alley garden and walking back toward the house when a large middle-aged woman in a “Little Rascal”/motorized cart appears.
Of course, it is abundantly clear from the beginning of the alley, six houses down, that the enormous truck/trailer has it blocked. I watch her, from my backyard, as she comes down the alley. Zipping from one garbage can to the other, she lifts each lid, digs a bit, moves on. The wire basket at the fore of her cart contains a lamp, a number of plastic cups, what may be a pair of pants, some aluminum cans.
You know. The usual.
And so as she approaches my garage – and where the truck certainly blocks her path – I expect her to turn around.
But the Little Rascal will not be denied. With the grit and determination rarely found in a woman on a scooter, she wedges herself between the delivery truck and my garage, a space wide enough for her only if she chooses to drive through the plants.
Which she does, 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.
I run toward the alley, my mouth hanging open in shock. I reach her in time to see her wheels bog down as she accelerates through what is rapidly turning into mud.
The scooter, wheels spinning furiously, leaves an impressive rut of shredded vegetation in its wake.
Who drives through a garden?
I pick my way through the devastation. Now three houses down, the woman on the scooter lifts the lid of another garbage can.
“Excuse me,” I call.
She turns around, turns back, drops the lid, and hauls cart down the street.
“Hey!” I shout. “You just tore through my garden! Why did you do that? Don’t you care?”
She turns around, still at full speed, and hollers what I should’ve seen coming: “Forget you!”
Only she didn’t say “forget”, did she?
What? What?! Did she just – she ran over my flowers and now she – what?!
“Forget me?” I say, incredulous. “Hey! Forget you!”
By the time I decide to chase her -- a gleeful suggestion by the short, squat man residing toward the back of my brain -- she is already round the corner.
I run, barefoot. By the time I get to the corner, she has gone a block up and is turning down another alley. Over the next minute or so, I pursue her.
She is now less than a block ahead of me.
Asthmatic lungs wheezing, I dig my cell phone out of my pocket; and in a move that amuses me/concerns me still, pretend 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 white gal in a dreadful tee-shirt 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…”
And then she turns down a freshly tarred/freshly graveled alley.
Just a few strides in, I stop, panting. I will be pulling tiny shards of gravel from my feet for the next 30 minutes or so.
And she escapes on rubber wheels.
(Not the woman I was chasing.)
It’s probably for the best. Like a schnauzer chasing a car, I had no idea what I was going to do with her when I caught her, anyway.