This morning I awoke to a strange sound coming from the street. As I shook off the grogginess that I endure every morning, due to my nightly Bendadryl dependence from crippling allergies this year, I deduced that the sound was a truck. A big truck. Oh!! It was the rolloff truck that I'd ordered last Thurs. to come pick up the manure dumpster for the farm. And I had neglected to move the Chevy Tahoe that was parked in the driveway, blocking the path to the dumpster. Ordinarily, I'd get dressed and leisurely feed the throng of screaming pets before I lolled my way to the barn to feed the horses. Today was different. Let me explain something further, the man who drives the rolloff truck (I'll call him Bud), is a short, brick of a person, with arms like Popeye, no neck and a big, blocky head, who I've been told has anger management issues. Picture a tiny version of The Incredible Hulk, minus the shredded clothes and green skin. For the two years we've been here, I've been terrified of sparking his ire. He's never been rude, nor has he ever really shown me his temper, but it's fully palpable in his demeanor. He's like a volcano, silently simmering underground, with the constant threat of blowing lava all the way up to the sun. I had to act fast. I threw on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and skidded through the furry bodies of my pets to the bathroom, where with shaking hands I coerced my contacts into my half opened eyeballs. Of course, one contact had to give me trouble and I cursed at the folding, flaccid lens, frantically trying to probe it into a shape that would attach to my eye. Contact don't do frantic. They respond only to gentle cooing, re-wetting and steady hands. With some effort, I controlled my emotions and somehow got the damn thing to adhere so I had some semblance of vision before I galloped down the path to the barn.
My first stop was to get the keys from the tack box, where they'd been stowed for safe keeping. The Tahoe isn't always here, but since one of our customers goes on frequent vacations, she kindly allows us to use it when she's away should we need to hook it to her trailer in an emergency, or just to go on a field trip with the horses. Keys in hand, I ran out of the barn, like a Kenyan marathon runner and jumped into the driver's seat, just as Bud was spotted, stalking around the corner of the rolloff truck, arms stiffly at his side, hands clenched in fists of pure iron. Meekly, I waved and he looked at the ground ( I think he was counting to ten, no doubt a tactic he's learned over his anger riddled years to keep himself from losing his shit and committing unwarranted murders). The new dumpster was already dropped into place in the driveway, blocking me from getting the Tahoe onto the other side of the barn, but I quickly maneuvered the SUV over toward the stable and safely out of the way. Bud gave me a terse wave and with some effort barked, "That's good". He was still looking at the ground.
I sat in the driver's seat for a moment, adrenaline coursing through my newly woken up body, absorbing the fact that I'd come within seconds of certain death. Crisis had been averted. A narrow escape. I would live to see another day. Of course, I'm exaggerating, but it makes for a better story. Humor me.
Once our month worth of horse shit had been hauled off, and the horses had been fed, I headed back up to the house to feed the wailing pets, make some tea and prepare to waste an hour on Facebook (it's my day off, not my normal practice. Again, humor me). As I settled into my desk chair, steaming cuppa tea in hand, I noticed that the answering machine was blinking. When I pressed play I heard breathing. Labored, intense breathing. Angry breathing. I checked the caller ID and it was Bud's number. Apparently, he'd been calling the house number just as I'd arrived to move the truck. I can only imagine what the message might have said if I'd been 20 seconds later. It would've been delivered through clenched teeth, in a high strained voice, with veins pulsing in unprecedented rage. I'm almost sad that I missed it. But then again, I'm not. Bud the rolloff driver is a force to be reckoned with, he's a bad hombre. When you run a stable with a manure dumpster, you don't mess with the irritable man who takes the shit brimming dumpster away. It's just bad form. Horseshit is a fact of our lives here and trust me, you do not want to piss off our rolloff truck driver, who hauls it away. I dodged a bullet, people. It was a good day.