Mike limped back inside. “What’s going on?” I asked.
“I’m taking care of it,” he said. “Just stay here.”
But I’m bad at staying put, so I went outside where two women in uniforms stood between our knocked over garbage can and our trailer.
“Not again,” I said quickly, vowing to pick up the garbage as soon as I figured out why these women strutted around our trailer as if it were an animal they’d captured.
“We’re with the city! Someone reported you. You’re in violation of code—“
I didn’t hear the rest because I’d gotten lost on the “someone reported you” part. I immediately thought of our neighbor who’s called the cops on us before. She’s the same woman who won’t let her kids play with ours because we aren’t Mormon.
“So we need to move our trailer?”
“Yes. And we’re writing the ticket right now.”
“Wait!” I said. “We’re having a really hard time. My husband bought this to fix it up, but then he broke his foot. Then our SUV—with the hitch—broke down and is in the shop…so we can’t move the trailer.”
It almost looked like she rolled her eyes.
“And—and,” I went on, “I have stage 4 cancer.” I’d said it. The ultimate trump card.
She studied everything about me, as if she didn’t believe a single thing I’d said.
“And if this garbage isn’t picked up within 24 hours, you’ll get a ticket for that too!”
I immediately started putting the trash in my garbage can. But every time I bent down, the pains grew, and I started crying from the tumors in my spine. Mike came out then with some sort of paperwork. He handed the code enforcement officer a copy, then started helping me pick up the trash.
After we finished, Mike grabbed my hand and led me back toward the house.
The taller woman said sarcastically then, “It just sucks when we have to do our jobs. Darn it.”
I’m embarrassed to say that my anger got the best of me, and still within earshot, I whispered, “Wannabe cops!”
Shockingly they didn’t ticket us for the trailer (I guess it can’t be parked in front of our house—even though a church bus down the road gets a “pass”). A friend moved our trailer to the side of our house, our SUV is almost done getting fixed, and Mike can hobble without crutches. Yay!
I just keep thinking about those callous women and how they treated us even though we’re experiencing trials. I guess that doesn’t make us exempt, but you’d think they’d be a little bit kinder. If people could simply understand the struggles of others—and help them instead of kicking them while they’re down—this sure would be a better place.
I still don’t know why she didn’t ticket us. But I really am thankful. That’s the last thing we needed right before Christmas. Thank God for warnings.