Do you see this tree? (The one on the right)
Isn't it pretty?
This neat little tree that acted as my kids' tree climbing training wheels before they graduated to the oak tree in our backyard is now the site of my greatest aggravation. It's not the tree's fault nor is it the fault of the avocado it yields late each summer.
No, it's the psycho lunatics that have been drawn to it for the last month that have been driving me batty.
You see, it's not an ordinary avocado tree. Apparently this tree produces magical fruit that either makes otherwise normal people lose all sense of decorum, manners and upbringing or has the power to suss out people who never had any of those things to begin with and draw them to our house.
We've lived here for nearly 10 years and each summer PB keeps a close eye out for the first signs of ripe fruit. Once the avocados are ready he begins bagging them up to take to church, to work and to share with family and friends. Oh and there's a steady supply of freshly made guacamole in the fridge for about four weeks. Our neighbors know they can help themselves and our next door neighbors always bag up quite a few to take to their church.
Even though I don't like avocados it's fun to enjoy our version of a harvest season.
Until this year.
We've always had a handful of people knock on our door each year and offer to buy a few avocados but we decline their offer of payment and tell them to help themselves to a few. And usually we catch one or two people each year scurrying away from our tree when we pull into our driveway because they don't want to get caught taking fruit off a stranger's property. PB and I would roll our eyes over their attempts to be sneaky as they scamper away.
Oh how I miss the sneaky people.
At least they had the sense to think that taking something from another person's property is something you should hide your face about. We have been astounded by the brazen behavior we've witnessed this year. It started with an unusual level of interest from people about our tree, people knocking on the door regularly, some as late as 8:30 or 9:00 at night. A city groundskeeper stopped me on my walk 1/2 a mile from my house to ask if he could get some avocado. I began to catch groups of walkers milling about the tree when I came home from running errands. Just weird stuff.
But then the scale tipped from weird to crazy rude.
The following anecdotes fall under the category of utterly bizarre with a rude "taking without asking" cherry on top:
- A woman actually climbed the tree to get to the higher fruit since the lower fruit had already been picked. Then she asked PB to get the ones she couldn't reach. I'm not kidding.
- A husband and wife we've never met approached PB while he was working in the yard and while the husband was talking to PB the wife started picking avocados. When PB asked her (politely, trust me when I say he never does anything rudely) not to take too many because we're giving them to friends, she got all huffy and told PB she wasn't taking that many. I'm still not kidding.
Yesterday, PB was grilling our dinner when he noticed a woman drive up and get out of her car with a POOL STICK. When he went over for a closer look the woman explained that her husband had told her to come prepared since the lower fruit had already been taken by the guy mowing the lawn. Or as we like to call him, PB, the homeowner. She wasn't embarrassed by her behavior at all, only irked that she couldn't reach any fruit.
I'm. Not. Kidding.
What, what, what is happening? If that's not a picture of the whole I'm entitled, I deserve it, it's all about me mentality this country is coming to, I don't know what is.
The fruit is pretty much gone now so we have 11 months to come up with a plan before people start pilfering the fruit next year.
A few we've come up with so far:
- Run outside with a camera and tell them I just wanted to post a picture on Facebook of the person stealing from me.
- Ask for their address and then go to their house and ask for something of theirs.
- Reach into their car and take something off their seat and when they get mad say, "Oh, what? I thought that's what we're doing now."
Okay, not really. But they're tempting.
I'd love to hear your suggestions: both what you think we should do and what you'd really, really want to do if there wasn't that whole gotta be a good witness thing.
It's making me crazy and that's sad because it's such a pretty tree.