Pam Stone | Squatter takes advantage of lax security

08/02/2014 12:00 AM

07/24/2014 2:39 PM

It’s very possible one can develop a feeling of apathy regarding the security of their home and belongings, here in the country.

Guilty as charged.

I have left the house, on occasion, unlocked just to dash out to the store and have even forgotten to bring the car keys in with me upon arriving home. Why, even in town, it is not uncommon to see engines running, with keys easily visible inside, at the post office! In a town of 2,000 inhabitants, many of which are livestock, it’s easy to feel a false sense of safety. That old, “nothing will happen way out here,” sentiment, healthy and well.

But, oh, gentle reader, it has happened to your Aunty Pam. My negligence in failing to roll up the driver’s side window of my truck last week resulted in a violation I had only read about occurring in cities:

Squatting.

The occupier was not a 12-year-old boy, fleeing from gang violence in Honduras, or a family of eight, evicted from their prior home, owing to nonpayment of rent. This brazen female, all 0.32 (according to Wikipedia) ounces of her, had worked steadily through the night, flitting from the branch of the Pin Oak, to the steering column of my truck, carrying twigs, leaves and moss (quite similar to an appetizer I recently had at a vegetarian restaurant in Asheville), building a nest that, from its sheer size, made me leap backward upon opening the door the following morning.

What to do, what to do? If I turned the wheel at all, the entire thing would crash to the floor, which would be a good opportunity for the truck’s annual vacuuming, which, actually, consists of opening both doors, standing back and turning on the leaf blower, but if I let it be, I simply wouldn’t be able to drive.

“This must be how it feels when humans lose a home to a tornado,” I said to Paul, as I dismantled the nest bit by bit. “There’s your house one moment, and the next, poof! Gone.”

“I don’t know that they reason that far,” Paul replied, his leg holding the terriers, eager to see if any rats were involved, at bay.

“Who knows?” I remarked. “Maybe such a tragedy makes them begin to question all their beliefs — ‘is there a God? And if there is a God, how could He allow this to happen?’ When all the time, it isn’t God’s fault at all — it’s just a human being tearing up their home because it’s an inconvenience in my truck.”

“Way too early for this,” said Paul, rubbing his eyes. “I haven’t even had my coffee yet.”

“Well, it’s got me thinking,” I replied, warming up. “Maybe humans should stop blaming God when a disaster happens. Maybe it’s an invisible being, or aliens, or global warming responsible for hurricanes and tornadoes or volcanoes, and all this time, when a town gets leveled, everybody says, ‘Where is God?’ what’s really going on is that we’re just settled on a giant, cosmic, steering column, maybe.”

“Maybe,” Paul said, turning to walk across the yard in search of coffee and sanity, “you should roll your window up, Grasshopper.”

All right, maybe. But the next time I feel that fault line that runs through the Carolinas rattle beneath my home, I’m going to look very closely at the ground and see if I see the words, Dodge Ram, printed anywhere. You might laugh, but I have it on very good authority.

A little bird told me.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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