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Source of Amusement

By Maggie Turner

Monday, March 6, 2000

Source of Amusement

I was sitting in my comfortable chair, wearing my comfortable pajamas, wrapped in my comfortable robe, enjoying the aroma of my first morning coffee and preparing to take my first sip. I glanced out the window at the tree tops just welcoming the first rays of sun. My eye swept down to the birds at the feeder across the street in "J's" yard. That is when I saw the smoke.

Billowing clouds were rising from the basement window on the far side of "J's" house. At first, I thought it was probably a cloths dryer vent. I could not remember ever having noticed billowing gases rising from his house as they were now. We have lived here for more than five years, surely I would have noticed a dryer vent during this time. "Well," I thought, "it could be a fire. What if it is a fire? What if it is a dryer vent?" As I am wont to err on the side of caution, I leapt into action.

The temperature was too low to permit venturing out of doors in my nightwear. I was surprised how quickly I could dress under duress; it took 15 seconds. I did not stop to put my socks on; I slipped into an old pair of shoes, grabbed a coat from the hook, and hurried over to "J's" front door. I knocked very loudly. No response. I knocked a second time; again no response. Heading around to the back of the house I could hear the radio and could see that the kitchen light was on. No one answered the back door.

"J's" adult daughter lives in the house beside his; no one answered the door there either. Back at the other side of "Js" house the billowing continued. I tried the knocking on the front door again. While waiting at the front door, I decided to check once more before taking more drastic measures. The smoke was gone and no longer hid the dryer vent from sight. My coffee was still hot when I got home.

Later in the morning, "J" was out working in his yard. Grabbing my coat, once more I went over to let him know who the maniac at the door had been earlier this morning. He had not heard a thing and thought it very amusing that I had mistaken the emissions of his dryer vent for smoke. We both agreed it was a very good thing that it was steam rather than smoke. Appearing foolish seems to be something I am rather good at; at least it amuses the neighbors.


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