I wouldn’t quite understand the expression, “here’s mud in your eye!” except that I’m related to the Dr. Mudd who fixed John Wilkes Booth’s leg. I’ve always known that “mud in your eye” means disgrace.
This week, mud has taken on a new image for me, as my neighbor’s front yard becomes a growing mountain of muck. A new sewer line has been tucked into a twenty-foot crevice.
In the meantime, I’ve navigated the debris a few times, but last night consigned myself to park on the street behind the worker’s truck with its little blue heeler lounging on the tool box waiting to be fed and taken home. I’ve interacted with the pup’s owner three times. I’ve mentioned the handicapped spot in front (he moves the truck only as long as it takes me to go into the house) and waited while he pushed clods of dirt out of my path. Yesterday morning, I assured him that I would not be back until 6:30, and invited him to use my driveway.
At 6:45, I pulled alongside the mess, glancing at the digger still straddling the shared asphalt. I rolled down the window while the guy with whom I’d been conferring all week ambled over. I asked how long before they planned to quit for the day. He shrugged. His eyes met mine. I could see that he desperately wanted me to understand their dilemma. No work, no pay; and the sun still shone.
I said, Pull your truck forward, would you? I’ll park here for now. I can pull it in back after you leave. Gratitude oozed from his grin.
As I walked to the house, he told me his name and took off a grimy glove to shake my hand. I asked him to let me know when they quit for the day. I’ll holler at you, he promised.
But of course: When the sun had set and the motor of the old Ford rumbled to a whisper, the driveway could not be used. Piles of mud drifted across its surface. I stood on the porch listening to their anxious promises that they would clean it tomorrow. Could I stay on the street tonight?
I nodded. I don’t like it, but what can I do? What can they do? We shake hands again and I watch their weary bodies cross my yard and slip into the battered truck. With the dog alert in the space behind the front seat peering from the window, they pulled into the night and began their journey to rest.
It’s the tenth day of the forty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.