You are here: Home / Joyce / Home Ec

Crazy Cat Lady Type

July 26th, 2007 · No Comments

I caught a crazy-cat-lady type from somewhere in the neighborhood digging up all my pavestones the other night. It was her second visit.

The night before I had heard some hollow thumping just outside the master bedroom. I guessed someone was tinkering with their car, or maybe cleaning it out, but the next morning I found several pavestones missing. The thumping was from the solid thunk of limestone pavestones knocking against each other.

I was mad. What’s the deal with this neighborhood? Apple cores, orange peels, and gas-station cups are dropped in my greenery, and dog poo sits atop it all, waiting for the next rain. We’ve gotten plants stolen from our front porch, and a mop from the back. Kids rubbed my soaking paintbrushes on my walls, pavestones, and driveway, marking them bright blue. Someone took the next door neighbor’s play chalk and wrote on our stones, and his older brother and girlfriend wrote lovey notes on our wall. Kids from the same pack of almost-teenagers threw water balloons at our front door. Then this? Matt spent all weekend getting gravel with my dad’s truck, and then arranging the stones over the gravel to make a bit of a path along the curb. With the stones in, visitors (to us or the houses near us) could park along our curb and not get their passenger-side doors stuck in sod when everyone gets out of the car. People walking along the street (where there is no sidewalk) would have a place to hop up onto and avoid busy traffic. And I thought it might look nice, nicer than it did last week, all mud and weeds. Our intentions were cooperative and altruistic, why did someone take the rocks we had just put in? Did someone think I’d not notice or care? I feel so picked on. And, did I say, mad?

The next night I stayed up, and just after ten, I heard quiet knocking, the rocks slowly moving against each other. I slipped to the hall window and saw a shadow crouched under my window. I turned on the porch light and swung open the window. “What are you doing with my ROCKS?” I asked, speaking loudly and trying hard to sound authoritative but calm. I hoped for witnesses in case she went bezerk. Do homeowners get shot if they confront pavestone-stealers? I mean, this is Texas.

Eyes sunken deep in their sockets stared at me for a second in shock. She had parked a grocery cart at the curb, and had stacked the stones in short piles. I caught her lifting a second stack of rocks into the grocery cart. She wore a purple tank top, covering a thin, bony body, her skin crepe. Shoulder-length broomstraw hair hung around her face and her toes gripped her dollar-store flip-flops. I thought of the crazy cat lady that’s supposed to live in the neighborhood. She walks at night, dragging animal traps to catch and adopt the neighborhood’s strays. “Oh,” she answered, shaking her head. “I, I, I didn’t know they were anybody’s rocks. I, I, I thought they were going to throw this away. I thought this was going to be torn down.”

“And that’s why you see all the signs of construction and the new gravel and wall?”

I even had marked the grass with flagging, to mark where we might try to plant what.

“I don’t know,” she said, waving her hands and unloading her cart. Her bony body moved awkwardly, almost drunken. “I don’t know. I’m not the only one been stealing your rocks. Other people have, too.”

I began to worry. She didn’t look well. Was she homeless and trying to hoard the rocks for something, maybe a shelter? “Where’s your house?”

“I don’t have a house,” she said, quickly staggering away, pushing the grocery basket. I ran inside for my camera and sandals, then ran back outside. I started feeling vigilante about the whole thing. What the heck, I was going to find the rest of my rocks. (And who else was stealing my rocks?)

But she was gone. I ran down the street and found a man and woman snickering. I wasn’t sure they spoke English. “Where did that crazy lady go?” I asked. They shrugged. I’m not sure if they knew, or if they were able to, but they probably wouldn’t have told me, anyway.

I was mad again. What was she doing stealing my rocks? My rocks? From our walks in the neighborhood, nobody else’s rocks have been stolen, just mine. I felt insulted. And I wondered if she was some kind of crazy-cat-lady type, stealing rocks and plants and kittens and babies and who knows what else. Do other people know her? I was almost ten-thirty. I knocked on a neighbor’s door, his downstairs lights were on. No answer. Figures, I thought, only crazy cat people come out at this time of day. I knocked at the next house. This neighbor was awake, too; I had seen him at his computer minutes earlier. No answer.

Great. All that yelling and none of my neighbors even heard it or cared, if they did. Even Matt and the babies were still asleep. The cat lady could have clawed me with her yellow fingernails and nobody would have seen it. I walked to another neighbor. He was awake, his curtains wide open. We talked. Nobody had stolen his rocks. In fact, his front porch is full of toys and nobody’s taken so much as a teacup, although somebody took some planters once.

I felt insulted and picked on. I slept fitfully that night, worried that the crazy rock-cat-lady was going to come back and take all my rocks. She didn’t. The next morning I picked up all my rocks and stuck them in the garage. What they’ll do there, I don’t know, but at least she can’t take them. Toddler behavior, maybe, but I can’t help it. Those rocks aren’t hers to take.

And what is it of the water balloons, the paint, the dog poo, the trash? My mother would give me that junior high lecture, that the kids teased me because they liked me or because they were jealous. I had a hard time believing that lecture then, although I do feel some resentment from the people who live in tiny apartments toward those who are light-skinned and can afford to live in “casa grandota” houses adjacent to them. Sometimes I see the children trying to peer into my garage, staring at our shiny double jogging stroller, or into my windows, and I feel ashamed that I have so much, and they so little.

Still, why pick on my house, humble and awkward by some standards, and not someone else’s? I wonder.

Tags: Home Ec · Weird

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Click here to write one.

Leave a Comment