On my second day of WFH (work from home), having completed my work, I couldn’t think of a project to begin that wouldn’t require a trip to my local hardware store. That would kind of defeat the purpose of work from home's concept of actually staying home. I decided to take a walk before it got too hot and humid, having already gained five-pounds-and-counting since the gyms closed. I quickly showered, put on sunscreen, my largest and brightest pair of yoga pants and a sleeveless tank top, then stepped into a stretchy lycra fanny-pack of sorts, hiking it up and around my waist. I dropped my phone into one of its many expandable pockets then as an afterthought, in separate pouches, added a tiny bottle of water, two tissues, and a ten-dollar bill. I felt prepared for any mini-emergency that might arise.
Buddy, the only one of our three rescue dogs physically able to walk long distances, was prancing around my legs as I tried to scoot him out the side door without the other two guys getting out. Dingo has trouble walking as he is over 15 years old with doggy vestibular disease, and Fred is so small that my normal pace has him sprinting the entire way. A survivor of heartworms, any distance over a mile is more than his little heart can handle.
We finally wiggled out the side door, while hemming Dingo and Fred in the living room, and off we went. I glanced over my shoulder to see Fred's tall schnauzer ears, pug underbite, and chihuahua eyes...he is a designer breed gone horribly awry...peeking over the lower edge of the windowed door. Keeping the social distancing standards, I blew him a kiss as we began our walk, heading down the driveway and into the street.
It was trash day and I noticed that each home had more than the normal amount of trash piled on curbs alongside their driveways. I began to take an interest in the boxes, stacked neatly at some homes, and haphazardly scattered at others. People were preparing to hunker down if and when a shelter in place order was mandated.
As I neared one house, I heard the sounds of grunts and dull thuds echoing from an open garage. I was immediately concerned as my finger hovered over the “9” on my phone keypad, preparing to dial 911. Was there a violent spousal disagreement going on at that very moment? I thought back to times when my husband and I had gotten riled up over the most minor of things. Control of the television remote, not putting a dish in the dishwasher, forgetting to fill the dogs’ water bowls, who ate the last piece of cheese. Take this irritation and magnify it by one-thousand as people, already trapped indoors with one another for days and weeks, began to melt-down over life-changing situations.
Unemployment, money to pay the bills, the ongoing threat of being infected by a virus no one yet understood, separation from loved ones and more, had tempers flaring. It was plausible that I was hearing a murder in progress.
Just at that moment a physically fit man, covered in sweat and wearing boxing gloves, stepped out of the garage. I looked toward his trash pile and there was a large box labeled “Everlast” followed by a long explanation of the “Benefits of a Heavy-Bag Workout” including how it would increase tricep and bicep strength, sculpt deltoids, sculpt the entire leg and define abdominals—burning up to 281 calories in a 20-minute workout. I was sold.
I whirled around…Buddy falling over his own feet at the abrupt change of direction…and speed-walked back toward the house. A brand new heavy-bag and a pair of boxing gloves were in my future. Look out, five-pounds-and-counting, you are about to be eliminated.
Just as I turned into my cul-de-sac, something in my neighbor’s trash caught my eye. The always recognizable Amazon box…in the midst of the uncharted water we cross with this pandemic…still smiling.
By Lisa H. Owens
Inspired by true events - 4/1/2020