A long, long time ago in a yard far, far away…
My summer job was watering desert plants and looking after my snowbird neighbors’ homes while they were off enjoying cooler climes. My work vehicle was a bicycle, the basket stuffed with water bottles and house keys. My uniform was portable shade — a wide-brimmed straw hat, long sleeved white shirt and slacks. It didn’t matter to me how I looked; nobody was around to point and laugh.
One day I was dragging a hose in my silent world and heard an extremely loud BONNNNK! I dropped my hose and looked up to see a sheriff’s car. A hand appeared in the window and waved me over.
I trudged through the sand, wondering if someone needed directions.
“Sheriff, you scared me! Gee whiz, I didn’t realize anyone was watching me. I wasn’t picking my nose or anything, was I?”
“What’re you doing here?”
“Watering. I … .”
“No.” He interrupted. “What is your function here?”
“W-watering. I take care of some of my neighbors’ yards while they’re away. Why?”
“We’ve gotten some complaints about somebody going around turning off water.”
“Oh. Well, I turn ON water, so… .” I turned to go.
“What’s your name.”
“Cate Mueller.” What the heck?
“Date of birth. Got any ID, Cate Mueller?”
“ID? No. Why?”
“How do I know you’re who you say you are? You could be here to rob the place.”
“Riding a bicycle?”
The deputy radioed my information to central dispatch and had them check for wants and warrants on me. I waited patiently while the records check came back negative.
The deputy looked me up and down and said, “What’s your husband do?”
Ugh! Dang it, I forgot to reinstall my wedding ring after I slathered on sunscreen and now this guy was hitting on me. I prepared to give him a polite turn-down.
“I’m … not … .”
“Married?” He interrupted me again.
‘Interested!’ I was going to say, ‘I’m not interested’!
“Got a girlfriend?” he smirked.
“Sure.” My turn to smirk.
I let the silence hang for a while. “Look, I have a signed contract with the homeowner. I can go get it if you want.”
“Oh. Well, since you have a signed contract you just go right ahead. Go about your business.” The deputy waved me away and drove slowly off into the sunrise.
Days like that made me appreciate living in near-total isolation.
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Cate Mueller is a web designer, editor, reporter and photographer in Bouse, Arizona. To visit her website,click here.