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JAILED By Karen Lech Ah, here it is spring again! The smell of freshly mowed lawn wafts to my nostrils . My neighbor, with his super duper John Deere tractor that I drool over is out there having fun. I get ready to start MY lawnmower and. Bzzzt.is the sound it makes. OH NO! This will require a call to the repairman.

I make the call and wait. One week later. I am imprisoned in the walls of my own home. I am not free to venture out and get my mail, walk out to fill the bird feeders, bring hay to my ponies, or just sit on the porch. I have no bathroom privileges either. I cannot vacuum my floor, I cannot do laundry which is waiting for me in the basement, calling my name.

Why? The phone may ring and if I DO NOT answer its summons, I will again be bereft of the use of my lawnmower for who knows how long. I am bound by the leash of my telephone cord. My activities are limited to kitchen privileges only, dishwashing, dusting, or I can kneel in front of the shrine I made with the repairman's picture, light the candles and chant and maybe then the phone will ring.

My jailer is the Sears Repair man. Today, that is. Sometimes I am incarcerated by the cable repair guy or some other repairman, i.e.

, telephone company repairman, electric, gas. If you do not answer your phone when they call, they assume you are not there (never even considering you may have to use the bathroom or do anything other than sit by your phone and pray you don't miss the call) and hence, they will not come out for their scheduled appointment. I am often tempted to rent a prison costume to wear when I answer the door, when and if the repairman finally does arrive with a smile and toolbox in hand. Now, had I the privilege of a cell phone or cordless (which my kids have, but hide) I would not be in this predicament.

Had I the knowledge to understand the mechanism of my iron horse of a garden tractor, the capability to actually perform the magical feats of repairing it, tools, and unlimited access to the parts I would need, I would be a free woman. This is like being grounded, watching my friends playing outside. but then. He came out!! He really did! Praise God for the Sears repairman and my reprieve!! And half an hour later. I hate it when he knocks on the door and says, "Ma'm I have good news and bad news.

" Dismayed, I choke back the tears. the good news is? "I got it running!" the bad news is. "You need a V belt.

" Which is exactly what I told the person who scheduled the appointment in the first place. The friendly automated voice tells you to say what you need. Boy, I could record a LOT of answers to that. Since it is a voice recognition thing, though, the canned voice would say they are unable to process my request or something like I did not understand what you said.

(I worry that it is actually a robot.) "It needs a belt, the one that drives the blades." I stated in plain English. So, hopefully, I reply to the repairman, "Well, you have all that stuff on your truck, right? I told them that when I called, that it needed a belt." "Belts are not a stock item we carry on the trucks.

" he smugly replies. Does this mean what I think it does?? "I'll order the part, and schedule an appointment to come out next week. I will call you before I come out.

" He smiles sweetly as he apologizes for the delay in repair, while I biting my lips, cannot even speak. My thoughts stampede around in my brain like an elephant herd! My heart pounds and my temples throb. Oh goody! I think. We can do this again next week! Well, if the part comes, that is. Meanwhile, I watch as my yard is returning to prairie state. Maybe I could get a grant to keep it that way from the Conservation District.

But that could bring on a set of more problems, like the wildlife that would come along with it. I envision beavers and weasels happily romping around my yard. I sigh as I watch my neighbor gleefully mowing his lawn with his goody two shoes John Deere, the one that is operated by handles and can go in circles, while I sit waiting for the parole board of repairmen to make the decision of when I can get out, and I can't for the life of me figure out exactly what crime I committed. Maybe it was failure to hire a landscaping contractor, and give them the right of way into my yard.

I must have disobeyed the laws of nature or something. Meanwhile, I will just sit in my cell and bide my time. Next time I call I am going to ask if I can have conjugal rights and see what the robot says. thanks for reading! Karen A. Lech, copyright 2005 .

By: Karen A. Lech


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