Fishing for Signs of Life.

I have never wanted a pool boy as much as I do at this very moment.

That’s right, I said it. So let’s just spend a second or two indulging this little fantasy, shall we? Hours spent lounging poolside in a bikini that you have worked all winter long to squeeze into. Frothy liquid concoction, high-powered sunblock and summer’s must-read release on the side table. A not-too-perfect man to apply lotion to those hard-to-reach spots.


So, you can keep that version because I want a pool boy so that he can actually tend the pool. Like right now. Because I am more than a little concerned that if I fall in I might accidentally come in contact with it. And by it I mean the swollen lizard that is frozen in a grotesque pirouette at the bottom.

Did it not see the mouse? What about the other mouse? The tarantula that was sent flying over the wall? (Don’t judge me – it was early so the odds are slim that anyone was walking down the sidewalk. And for those of you keeping count I can now say that I have, in fact, used the shovel.)

It’s not that I am squeamish. I’m not. Any scorpion, cockroach, millipede or centipede that might consider crawling in usually ends up on the wrong end of my Swiffer, and my husband was willing to bet on me if “Survivor” was ever gutsy enough to drop people at one of the poles. It’s just that there is no one on whom to foist the task of recovering this slimy little creature.

Something inconvenient, expensive or beyond either my physical or technical capabilities has continually interrupted the already disrupted cadence of our lives. Like the broken garage door opener that left us stranded outside. Or the fire alarm hard wired into the ceiling and repeatedly short circuiting, well out of reach even from ladder’s highest step. The burnt out TV light bulb was an unpleasant drama that stretched for weeks. Plugged toilets, jammed garbage disposals, replacement refrigerator filters and car problems. Small creatures at the bottom of the pool.

When the sun sinks and the garage doors open on our street, it reminds me of a secret society meeting. The rolling wheels of trash cans a signal that a meeting has been called and garden sheers, leaf blowers and oil pans are the instruments of formality. They search for hammers and before disappearing back into their houses to hang pictures that have waited too long to be hung. They return to carry trash bags to the curb and I wonder how many small creatures are inside. I notice the recycled boxes of replacement filters, new appliances and furniture “some assembly required.” I see their irritation and I hear the invisible, frustrated and weary voices that sent them out here.

They think they know frustration and weariness. But they are not standing here angrily fishing for signs of life.  


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