What it feels like to be an invader.

For the last few days I have been dog sitting for a co-worker/friend (I hope we are friends) that lives out in the Middleton Hills. Rachael and her cute family recenetley adopted a Jack Russel Terrier named Timber and within days of picking him up, Rachael had asked me if I could be their official dog sitter should the situation ever present itself. So when they planned a trip back to their former home in Vancouver, I was more than happy to help out. I am not exactly sure how old Timber is, but if I had to equivocate his age to something, I’d say he’s in the “Stillwell Angel” phase. If you were priviliged enough to watch A League Of Their Own religiously during your childhood, then the reference will make sense. If not…well…Stillwell Angel was the toddler with chocolate all over his face, running up and down the moving bus aisles, terrorizing every human he could, and screaming at the top of his lungs. Just as Stillwell was only motivated by chocolate – Timber only responds to “treat.”

It is sometimes an odd experience dog sitting for someone. I am not just dog sitting, I am house sitting as well. I brought my dirty laundry, I bought some groceries, I’ve been using the guest shower and the coffee machine. House sitting can be a time for reflection, good studying time, and also a chance to feel like a complete outsider. Like a fly on the wall, creeping in somewhere you arent meant to. Seeing things maybe you aren’t meant to see. Or frankly, ready to see. Like white picket fences, porch furniture, and baby strollers. It burns my eyes.

The Middleton Hills are the epitome of suburbia. The entire neighborhood centers around jogging paths, parks with baseball diamonds, and a cute shopping center with a Starbucks and a tap-pas style restaurant. Today while I was taking Timber for his morning walk (AKA Timber chases birds and refuses to go potty), I counted six joggers. Fit, trim, mainly blonde women. They all were accompanied by dogs. Two of them had baby strollers. One of them had a baby stroller and a toddler, who was struggling to keep her Dora Explorer backpack in check while they walked to the local elementary school less than a block away. Then there was the white-collar working father, blue shirt, yellow tie, out walking the family golden retriever with a steaming cup of jo. And yes, the sun was shining and birds were chirping and everyone was smiling.

Annnd then there was Melissa. Sitting cross legged in the field. At 7 AM. Holding my head up with my hand. Fleece sweat pants. UW sweatshirt. While Timber did barrel rolls in the dandelions. I’m surprised this neighborhood doesn’t have an “INVADER ALERT” alarm that goes off when a foreigner enters. BEEEEP BEEPP COLLEGE STUDENT POTENTIALLY DRUNK AND ARMED BEEEP BEEEEP. HIDE YO KIDS HIDE YO WIFEEEEEE HIDE YO DOG TOOOO.

I’m sure when they take their dogs for evening walks they will curse about the poop I left behind because I forgot the doggy bag. Sorry I’m not sorry. Doggy bags are too adult for me.

And when I say poop that I left behind, I assure you I am talking about Timber.

It’s bad enough being an obvious outsider when I am out in broad daylight. But even inside the home, I am reminded of my invader status. There are windows all over this house, and since it is suburbia, you pretty much eat dinner with your neighbors because your kitchen sink is 4 feet from their patio door. Yesterday I opened the fridge to naturally check out the goods – when a neighbor spotted me. So I ran to the bathroom, convinced he would tattle on me if I even thought about trying some of the guacamole.

After the coast was clear, I did go back for the guac. But I noticed that there were intricate patterns in the guac, clearly made by a wheat thin sized cracker. So…I tried to mimic the guac art. Took just enough to satisfy the urge, but not enough to make it look like someone had been there. Crucial invader technique.

While perfecting the art of being an invader, you often are spun out of your element and get a unique chance to see how other people live. It’s pretty damn fascinating. How about this fact: RACHAEL DOES NOT OWN A MICROWAVE.

Um…what? Ya know, when she told me she didn’t have a TV, I jokingly laughed about how that might be a deal breaker for house sitting. But NO MICROWAVE? All jokes aside, that’s just not okay. Caused quite the problem this morning. I was thinking ahead last  night, brewed an extra big pot of coffee so I wouldn’t have to in the morning. Poured my cup this morning and then…….remembered the no-microwave predicament. I may or may not have driven downtown with a mug of cold coffee in my hand. The addiction took over before I could reach my microwave on Bowen Court. Drank that cup cold. And no, it didn’t go down smooth.

There may not be a microwave, but there is quite an impressive collection of top-dollar blenders here. Some people prioritize microwaves, some prioritze blenders. I ain’t here to judge. I am just making an observation. Being an invader is kind of like people-watching. Except thing-watching. And its super entertaining. And I’m getting paid for it. So suburbia can eye me up all they want. And Timber? Go ahead and try to steal my underwear again. But I am here to stay.

Until Sunday.





About Melissa Faulkner

1. If I blog, someone will eventually discover me. 2. If someone eventually discovers me, I will become rich and famous. 3. If I blog, I will become rich and famous. Follow me for shorter, daily doses! @melisslyss
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