I recently moved to a gated community with a security guard who monitors my life. That’s right—he sees everything and judges! It started when my dog got loose as movers left doors ajar. Retrieving my pup from the entry shack, the gate guard admonished me, “Lucky I’m here—your little one almost crossed the busy street!” Oy! The Gate Guard thinks I’m a negligent pet owner now!
Pizza time! Who doesn’t order a large pie on moving day? When the front entrance phoned asking if I was expecting food, I guiltily granted permission to allow Dominos in. “Extra cheese, eh??” the Gate Guard asked me in an accusatory tone. Oy! The Gate Guard knows I have high cholesterol now! As restaurant deliveries occurred nightly, the gate guard (which I shortened to ‘GG’) formed an opinion that I can’t cook. “Broken oven!” I felt obliged to inform him. “Uh…sure,” GG nodded shrewdly. Oy! GG knows I tell white lies now!
GG also scrutinized which genders visited. “I wonder why so many men see Stephanie?” I imagined him contemplating luridly. “I have a clogged toilet and a hornet’s nest on my patio so that’s why “Buzz Hoff” and “John Flush” are here,” I explained feebly. “Not my business,” GG said glibly. Oy! GG thinks I’m running a house-of ill-repute now!
GG also familiarized himself with my mom, probably thinking it lame she dropped by 18 times in a week. “We’re Jewish!” I shouted, driving past his shack, hoping that justified things. He only looked bewildered and yelled back, “Oh! Shalom?” Oy! GG thinks I’m a religious fanatic now.
As I jogged one afternoon, GG (who also rides around on a golf-cart patrolling our neighborhood) exclaimed, “Getting some much-needed exercise after all that pizza?” Oy! GG thinks I’m getting fat now. What Chutzpa! “I have two hungry teenagers,” I countered. “And I only eat veggie toppings, spitting out the cheese and crust!” Oy! GG thinks I have an eating disorder now! When he passed me by two hours later, he asked incredulously why I was still running? “I can’t stop until my cellphone says 5.5 miles or 5:55 pm.” He sped off, nodding oddly. Oy! GG knows I have OCD now!
Last Thanksgiving, I noticed GG burning the midnight oil after my guests departed so I brought him a care-package because everyone deserves turkey and pumpkin pie. After he slid open his glass door I said, “You’re the same age as my son who moved to Tokyo. Please enjoy!” He thanked me, adding his own mother was keeping dinner warm for him. He emphasized the words, ‘OWN MOTHER.’ Oy! GG thinks I’m some sad empty-nester wanting to adopt him!
Soon a survey came, requesting feedback on the gate guards, of which there were several. I commented specifically about GG. “GG does his job okay, but he’s presumptuous and jumps to conclusions about my lifestyle. Very nosy and invades privacy. Have him keep his opinions to himself or dismiss him because he makes residents uncomfortable.” I realized I didn’t know GG’s actual name so they wouldn’t know which guard I meant.
At 2 am, I knocked until GG opened the shack door. I leaned in closely to scrutinize his name badge—he instinctively took a few steps back. Oy! GG thinks I’m Mrs. Robinson trying to seduce him now! “Relax, I just need your name.”
“I’m Gregory Garrison, but my friends call me GG. By the way, your pumpkin pie was better than my mom’s, you’re an excellent cook, and the nicest, most interesting resident I’ve met working here. They said if I don’t get enough good reviews, I’ll be fired. You’ll be the one I’ll miss most.” I stood with my mouth agape, completely dumbfounded. Oy! GG knows I’m shy and at a loss for words now!
But I wasn’t. Rushing home, I deleted my comment on the survey form. In its place I typed these emphatic words. “Gregory Garrison, (GG) is an asset to our community and should be given a raise for his competency…. but especially for his sweet, caring, personable behavior. We need more like him in this world!