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July 12, 2009 / Brittany Hendrick


The Absent-Minded Professor is in the house. I’m sharp, but am I also absentminded and scatterbrained, which could be disastrous… yet hilarious.

The day started out fine. Woke up on time, gave myself an injection per The Hatchery’s instructions…


…then fell back asleep and had the most incredible dream(s). I remember a lot of my dreams, but I don’t remember this particular one. All I know is that it was fantastic, lengthy and colorful, as my dreams are. Suddenly, I awoke at 10:35 a.m. Ten minutes before I was due at The Hatchery for an appointment, 35 miles away. Threw on clothes, called The Hatchery to let them know I was running late, and sped onward. I’d never been so late for an appointment!


On the way back, I grabbed a chicken salad from Zaxby’s. I hadn’t eaten all day yet. Then I headed to my brother’s house. His family was on vacation, so I was in charge of their wonky cat, Chelsea. She had a stroke or two some time ago, so she’s all crooked and limpy and mangey looking– yet has the wherewithall to strut to the front door and greet me upon arrival, every time, like a dog.

I parked in the driveway and gathered my things: Zaxby’s bag, drink cup, my purse and a pharmacy bag with Lupron in it– which must be refrigerated– and locked up the truck.

There are three steps leading to the porch. By the time I hit the second step, I said, “Oh, no. No…” and felt around. I unloaded everything from my arms, onto the porch. Dismayed, I walked back to my truck. There they sat, on the console: my keys.


Never, ever in my life have I locked my keys in the car. I’m a pretty calm person, so I just sighed and wondered what I was going to do. How was I supposed to get in the house?

My mom has the extra key to my truck, but she can’t leave work– too far away. I couldn’t call her anyway– my cell phone battery was about dead. And I wasn’t in the mood for the “charge your cell phone” speech.

I couldn’t do the old credit card break-in trick, because the front door’s deadbolt was locked.

My next option was a neighbor who I know has a key to my bro’s house. I think she only works part-time, so she should be home. She’s an OK lady, but also your typical nosy neighbor, nervous, neurotic, gossipy and chatty. Last time I saw her, another time my bro’s family was on vacation, two nights in a row, she hot-footed over to the house within minutes of me being there. Kind of like she was wondering what I was doing. At my own brother’s house. For which I have my own key.  She rambled on about their new dog, five minutes straight. I paid attention to her for the first minute, but after that I just smiled, nodded and said, “Wow… yeah… awww… that’s nice…” at moments where I thought it appropriate. Meanwhile, “Do you think I’m going to have a moving truck backed into the driveway?” was going through my head.


Anyway, I walked over to her house and rang the doorbell. No answer. Oh, of all days. Maybe she’s taking a Xan-nap (suburbs, you know). Rang the doorbell again. Great, not home. It was mid-day, so no one was home.

This truly was a Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm moment, where all I could do was think “Huh.” I went back to the porch and sat down in the chair, in silence.  Could I really sit here for four hours in the heat? I looked around at the neighbors’ houses. I looked at my ice-melting drink. I looked at the bag with the warming Lupron. I looked at the bird’s nest with three screeching chicks perched on a column underneath the porch roof. Every time I walk by, the male bird gets pissed off and does his wide territorial swoops: across the street, through the stoop, through the railing, looking right at me. I was waiting for him to fly right into me any minute.


I’ve had an incident like that before, a few years ago. I’d walked by a tree with a bird’s nest, and next thing I knew, this bird flew down and hit my head. “I heard this threatening chirp, and then it attacked me!” I told my friends. They rolled with laughter. Not because a bird poked or clawed me, or whatever it did– but because I used the phrase “threatening chirp.” Such a thing exists– I heard it with my own ears!

I giggled as I recalled that incident. Huh. I could try breaking in the basement door. I wanted to wait until the garbage truck was off the street, so I didn’t look suspicious to them, going from sitting on the porch to strolling to the backyard.

Then… oh yeah! Maybe the garage door is unlocked. I can break in that door leading to the house. I pulled up the door handle… oh please… success! After that, getting in was a cinch. I’d never been happier to see that half-dead, scraggly cat inching towards me.


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