Friday, April 04, 2008

Suspicious Activities

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.


At 4 April 2008 at 21:04, Anonymous Noelle said...

I worry about what I can do with my car a lot. Especially after I catch myself daydreaming and not remembering how I got where I was going.

At 4 April 2008 at 21:53, Blogger laurie said...

clearly, you looked like you were casing the joint!

isn't it funny to find out who is watching us when we think nobody is?

At 5 April 2008 at 00:26, Blogger Rose said...

I've been forgetting to lock my car lately. Either I double check and it's locked or I don't think twice and when I return to the car it's unlocked and I'm shocked. I agree it has a lot to do with our inner monologue and ability to block stuff out?

At 5 April 2008 at 01:28, Blogger Kaycie said...

I'm glad to know they're watching out for you there in the middle of nowhere.

At 5 April 2008 at 04:21, Blogger Sweet Irene said...

I had an OCD habit for a while in a very stressful period in my life. There was one window that I would close and reclose repeatedly, sometimes as many as twenty or thirty times before I was sure it was shut properly.

Now I don't even check the front door.

At 5 April 2008 at 06:23, Blogger ped crossing said...

I have been known to run back in and check things. Today I drove around the block to come back to make sure I turned off the stove. The other day it was still on when I got back from taking sweetP to school.

I once drove back 20 miles to make sure I locked the store I was working in. I had, but a week later someone broke in (it was locked). I always made to sure pay attention to locking the door after that.

At 5 April 2008 at 07:15, Blogger -Ann said...

Noelle - That now knowing how you got somewhere is really a bit unsettling, isn't it?

Laurie - I guess so, but funny enough, driving around the house in circles isn't really all that unusual for me. :)

Rose - I really have to work at remembering to lock the car. Most places, here, it's just not really necessary.

Kaycie - I am too.

SI - I'm glad you got through your OCD time.

At 5 April 2008 at 07:17, Blogger -Ann said...

PC - Sorry, had the comment window open for a long time and missed yours. If some place I was responsible for was broken into, I think that would really freak me out and make me even more uber-cautious.

At 5 April 2008 at 09:02, Blogger Babaloo said...

Wow, you've got a driveway that goes all around your house? Impressive.
Glad to see you're back to posting, I've missed you.
I was in Macroom yesterday around the same time, gone to the dentist (again). One of these Fridays we have to meet up for a coffee. I'm going again (to the dentist) next Friday at 2pm.
Glad the Gardai actually do work in your area. I've never seen one in our village, we don't have a station either. Think the next one is in Coachford.

At 5 April 2008 at 13:36, Anonymous swampy said...

Garda? I've never heard that before.
I think I can almost hear your accent as I read this...and absolutely love it. So wish I could imitate accents.
I always do a "go back."
You must look pretty suspicious, young lady. Maybe you need to take the stocking cap off you head next time...oh, you weren't wearing one?

At 5 April 2008 at 23:08, Blogger SwampAngel65 said...

Gardai? I'm totally assuming that's the same thing as police? I love reading blogs! You learn new stuff every day :)

I can't imagine only seeing one maybe once a month. I see cops daily!!! ...Must be nice to live where you do!

At 6 April 2008 at 03:33, Blogger Career Guy said...

You must get that from your mother--the leaving-something-running thing. I don't do that, but I do zone out for miles on the interstate and don't remember how I got so far down the road without seeing anything.

At 6 April 2008 at 04:13, Blogger Alison said...

I would also feel more at ease knowing that your law enforcement is very vigilant.

At 6 April 2008 at 09:28, Blogger -Ann said...

Babaloo - Yeah, the driveway is very cool. It was great for practising my reverse-around-a-corner move for the driving test. I keep thinking that one day we will just run into each other in Macroom, but then I wonder if we'd even recognise each other. :)

Swampy - Peter says you'd be disappointed by my accent. Indeed you would - I still sound very American, mostly because I'm so self-conscious about it and I want to adopt a local accent but I don't want to force it.

Swampangel - It is indeed. Gardaí (guar-deee) is the plural, Garda is the singular.

Dad - Yes, I must get the zoning out thing from you and the checking from Mom.

Alison - It is nice to know someone's watching out for everyone, but I'm still not sure why I looked suspicious. Clearly, as Swampy said, I have to stop wearing a stocking cap.

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