I love Fridays. I work from home on a flexible schedule. I get up early and open the laptop immediately, then work until around noon. From noon to around 4 or 5, I go into Macroom to do my weekly shopping and miscellaneous errands (like dropping off our trash and recycling to the Civic Amenity Centre). When I get home, I work the hour or two remaining in my day. It's a brilliant two-birds-one-stone approach that allows me to have both weekend days free from shopping and errands.
Today was an ordinary Friday, so a little bit after noon, I got in the car and drove off to do my shopping. Only when I came around the front of the house, I realised I didn't remember locking or checking the door. Bitter experience has taught me that it's quicker and more painless to go back and check than to carry on, especially when I'm so close to the house. I'm sure I've alluded to my OCD tendencies here on numerous occasions.
These issues don't really rise to the level of an honest-to-God disorder, but I would say I have a couple quirky habits that I can't seem to shake. My issues revolve around two things - locking doors/turning off appliances and the abiding fear that I will accidentally hit a pedestrian when I'm driving and not notice it. I tend to live inside my head and can quite easily carry on with routine tasks without noticing whether I've lock the door or shut off the oven. I'd like to think that I'm not such a space cadet that I could hit someone without noticing, but I still have a fear of it.
I say these issues don't rise to the level of a disorder because they don't seriously impact my ability to get through daily life. Sure, every once in a while, I have to turn around and check that I didn't hit someone, but it's not a daily occurrence and one check is enough.
After parking the car in the back of the house, I hopped out and checked the door. Locked. I turned back to the car just as a Garda car pulled around the side of the house. My heart dropped into the pit of my stomach and the blood started to buzz in my ears. What is it about officers of the law that can inspire feelings of guilt and panic in even the most law-abiding of citizens?
We don't really see the Gardaí that often. Maybe every month, you might pass a Garda car on the road. The garda for our little corner of the Middle of Nowhere lives right next to the Garda Station. Sometimes, the car is parked in front of his house. Other times, it's in front of the station. It amuses me to picture him driving L.A. Story-style between his home and work, but I know it probably doesn't happen like that.
When I saw the garda, my first thought (and fear) was that Toby had bit someone. He was out of my sight around the front of the house for about a minute that morning when he went out to do his business. So it wasn't completely outside the realm of possibility that he could have bit a passerby. Toby, who was in the house, started to bark ferociously, thus reinforcing his guard dog credentials.
I went up to the open window of the car and said 'Hello' to the garda, hoping that my face was arranged in an expression that was quizzical rather than guilty.
"So you live here, do you?" he asked. I nodded, wondering where this line of questioning was going. "Right so," he said. "I saw the car pull around and it looked suspicious to me."
I laughed and explained I was just double-checking the locked door. "Grand. Just wanted to be security-minded," he said. Then he waved good-bye and went off to patrol the rest of the Middle of Nowhere.
It's actually not unprecedented that someone would pull into our driveway, drive around the house, and then drive off again. One time, a few days after the mystery sheep incident, a red BMW pulled around the back of the house. A guy with wellies and floppy hat got out, did a lap around the garage, peering off into the far fields, then shrugged his shoulders and hopped back into the car. I can only figure that he was looking for the sheep.
So I've been trying to figure out what's suspicious about a car driving around the house in the manner that I did. I've no idea, but it's nice to know that the garda was arsed to check it out.