Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eleventh Hour

"You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else."
-Albert Einstein

Life has a most peculiar way of flinging various people into our path- sadly without the exception of those we would much prefer to steer clear of.
Most recently, I spent fourteen consecutive months in Ireland, and on each trip with Mater to the nearest village I would keep a wary eye for a neighbour that grated, albeit unwittingly, on the nerves, one whom I had not encountered in many years- due, mostly, to my being far away in another country and thereby almost out of earshot.
It is a tedious business to deal with neighbours who wish to know all the affairs of those around them while continuing to reveal none of their own.
During my final twelve hours before taking flight and leaving home again, I was gathering, with Mater, some last-minute items from the store when there resounded a shrill cry from across the street: "Well! As I live and breathe!"
I seethed, I shivered, furious at fate's cruel and careless hand. The hairs on the back of my neck prickled at the chance meeting that was surely a result of anything but chance.
Out of four hundred and twenty five days, I had succeeded in navigating the village safely for the first four hundred and twenty four of them; it was on the last and most sensitive- time-wise and emotionally- of days that the demanding neighbour struck.
"Well! As I live and breathe!" There was simply no getting away from a battle-cry of that magnitude; her tone carried the deep conviction of a triumphant eagle that has, after much effort, seized upon its prey and is resolute in finishing the task at hand.
As I live and breathe, I know it now: there is no escape from a thoroughly determined neighbour. Though she might wait and hover and bide her time for years on end, she will emerge on the eleventh hour to accost the long-lost traveller.


paulmerrill said...

You have such a lovely way with words.

So sorry that bad neighbor showed up. Part of life is those people around us who stretch us - when we don't like it. Sigh.

Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

Paul, thank you for your kind comment. That's always nice to read :)
Yes- she's one of those that is, pardon the phrase, "in your face" all the time, and quite a lot of work to deal with. Luckily I didn't have to deal with her for 14 months but how she got me on the last day I will never know!

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