We can begin on a positive note.  Unlike Alexander who years ago shared with the world about his terrible, horrible day,  I did not go to bed with gum in my mouth only to start the day with gum in my hair.  However, my day did begin similarly with a call to my bank about mortgage issues.  In case you are new around here, we are building a house. Mortgage acquisition is a hot topic these days. We’ve done much research which has included time on the phone.

 Over the span of my adult life, I have found most phone calls to banks, about any topic, tend to induce a spirit of drudgery.  Ugh.  We have moved often these last 25 years.   And along the way, we have had long and frequent banking conversations requiring computers at one or both ends of the line.   Sometimes in our modern world filled with this miracle technology, things go awry.  Can I just vent here?  Humanity on this earth is now totally at the mercy of computers.We pay engineers loads of money to make our lives easy and seamless and quick.  This bank I use is driven by just such a state-of-the-art system, just as yours is I’m sure.

Today, as this bank representative and I worked through my issue, her computer system  kept hiccoughing…..and stalling…….and not spitting out needed information. Over and over.  I sat with my phone to my ear for over an hour, patiently waiting. Finding this an unusual situation for my bank, I held on.  She asked for the same information over and over again.   I endured.  Gritting my teeth.  I knew that if we hung up we would have to start all over at the beginning later.  So I persevered.

Somehow the younger set, I’m afraid,  has never experienced the ways of old in which a bank patron would actually shower, travel by car to the bank, and talk to a real, living, human person about an issue only to wait days or weeks for all the paperwork to process through a ‘system’.  We watched our parents do this, some still do.  The current generation has instead migrated toward a digital lifestyle with glee.  We hang our financial, professional, personal hopes to a mirage life preserver of cyberspace.  This migration has also led to a metastasized disease of impatience.

So, yesterday, my unshowered self fumed that I was made to wait on my cell phone for a bank rep to input figures.  Each time she does, we both breathe lightly, hoping that her computer will cooperate.  Sometimes it would, sometimes we had to begin again. (Through this whole process, my impatient unshowered hands never actually touched a physical piece of paper.)

As I worked through this conversation, I haphazardly watched my dog just outside the back door.  I speak here of Elijah the Wander Dog – the one who is on Puppy Prozac to prevent him from escaping every day from my yard. Just to enlighten you, this prescription mainly helps with his radical weather anxiety, but also helps to calm the wandering gene that he was born with.  We only discovered this medication a couple months ago and it is a miracle drug for this mama.  Now, instead of looking for him every other day when he escapes, I must only search the neighborhood about once every two weeks or so. <Sigh>  We watch him extremely closely if he is outside when clouds hint at coming weather as I think he can sense a storm – or even just rain – when it barely hits the Pacific coast.  Yes, we live in Utah.

Yesterday the sun was brilliant, so my “Where’s the dog?” sensors were switched off. The last time I remember seeing him, he was lounging on the patio immensely enjoying the morning birdsong.

After the first terribly exasperating bank conversation, my college boy, away in summer school,  called to ‘discuss’ a forgotten parking ticket that now requires more money to fix.  And yes, this led to a second rather ‘in-depth’ conversation.  Do I need to expound here?

Basically I told you that story to tell you this one:  I got caught up in my phone conversations and forgot about Elijah.

Sometime later we discovered his absence from the backyard.

This common ‘realization’ always calls for the immediate revamping of my brain to reschedule everything I had planned for the day. I summoned all troops available for duty.  (Today that meant only my oldest college kid who is happily summering with us from school in Texas.)  I quickly put my unshowered hair up in a baseball cap and my college girl and I darted out to roam the subdivision and look for the dog, in her car. ( My hubby’s truck was being repaired and so he had taken my car to work, leaving us with the college car.  Trust me. This detail is important.)

We have this down to a science, this dog search protocol.    In every neighborhood we’ve lived, we’ve met our neighbors by searching for Elijah – The Wander Dog. We always find him with people.  He just loves visiting  and especially adores children. On several occasions, he has seen an open front door and took that as an open invitation to come in and make himself at home.

My neighborhood sits in a hilly area with mountain views in all directions.  One side of the subdivision contains streets more densely populated than the other side.  This is where we’ve found him most often, so this is where we always start when we go looking. We’ve lived here a year and honestly I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve performed this same routine. Since Elijah is often found in a house or garage, my daughter kept telling me today to slow down so she could really look inside the numerous open garages.  And, since we were graced with beautiful summer day, we also found lots of children outside playing.  We’ve learned to always ask anyone we encounter if they have seen Elijah – out wandering.  More than one jogger has related how he was a great running partner.  Even a very young child will know if he’s just seen a stray dog. This simple trick sometimes cuts my searching time in half.

It is always helpful to have an extra pair of eyes to scan the horizon for a white moving blob.  Sometimes we have more than one vehicle to look, but today we only had the one, the college car.  We looked, looked, drove, looked until an hour morphed into two, and then three.  My phone number is on his tag, which is mostly how we retrieve him.  Someone will call when they find him and find the phone number on his collar.

My daughter needed to do something back at our house so I dropped her back at home and proceeded to set out again down our hill to look in a different spot.  That was the moment I eyed a county police car at the cross street.  I noticed it because I rarely see one in our neighborhood.  I coincidentally turned in the direction that he was headed and I saw that he had backed into a driveway a few houses up.   He seemed to be  waiting for an oncoming car to pass so he could come toward me, the other direction, effectively turning around. However, when I passed him, he pulled out of the driveway just behind me.  At this point, since I know there is a cop behind me, I was aware that my speed was well within legal limits.  AND,  I stopped completely at the next stop sign I encountered. I am a good citizen, okay?  Interestingly, as soon as I pulled away from the stop sign, his BLARING lights went on.

 Puzzled,  I pulled over, without a clue as to why.  My brain has already gone back to the parking ticket from the earlier conversation while simultaneously scrambling to find all the necessary paperwork in the college car’s glove box.  He gained my license, and retreated back to his car. Endless moments passed as I stared at the BLARING LIGHTS in the rearview mirror.  Finally, he returned and told me there had been reports of my car, driving slowly through the neighborhood.
 I stared at him taking a moment to let that sink in.
 He stopped me because I was driving slowly.
 I told him I was looking for my dog.
I think it was about this time that ANOTHER patrol car, ALSO WITH BLARING LIGHTS pulls up behind both of us.  Two cops.  Because I was driving slowly.
I told him about my dog and his never ending quest to explore the neighborhood. Then it hit me.  The car I currently occupy is adorned with out-of-state plates. And I was prowling the neighborhood in it.  Oh wow.  I explained  where I lived and how this was my daughter’s car, who attends college in this other state.  I told him how I had just dropped her off and I was still out looking…blah, blah, blah.
 At that point, with this other piece of information, he smiled and chuckled and told me that the report was of two females in my car.  I told him we always ask everyone and anyone who is outside if they have seen my dog, including kids.

I am slowly realizing that someone has reported me to the police because I am driving slowly through the neighborhood and talking to children.

As he laughed, he asked for Elijah’s description so they could both keep an eye out through the neighborhood. He went back to his car, the one with the BLARING LIGHTS in front of the OTHER one with the BLARING LIGHTS, promptly extinguished them and left.

I just sat there for a minute, unnerved.  Apparently I looked suspicious with my black cap and unshowered self. My slow, careful driving and occasional conversations with a child or two scared someone. I could launch here on the fact that I did absolutely nothing wrong and could be offended and angry.  Ok, I was for a bit.  But the fact remains that I looked like someone who might want to snatch another mother’s children. What?
 So, to the lady who thought me suspicious since I kept driving slowly through the neighborhood, and called the police, who then sent TWO patrol cars with BLARING LIGHTS:
As cute as they are, I DO NOT WANT your children!!!
I am raising four of them and have somehow survived the stage of having to watch them play in the driveway.  I am sad that our world has succumbed  to such fear.  I don’t blame you.  I am new to your neighborhood, am eternally frazzled with my life of raising and tending to various creatures and preparing them a place to call home base .   I am just your neighbor who was somehow chosen by God to  to be the mother  of ELIJAH the WANDER DOG.   Bless.