I feel naked. Vulnerable. Exposed.
We have arrived in New Zealand and are settling into our new home. Its lovely and all. But so….OPEN. Back home in Samoa, I had a ten foot chainlink fence with barbed wire. Two padlocked gates that were barred every night. Four dogs that barked ferociusly. And a significant other who harboured a somewhat illegal number of firearms. I felt safe. Sheltered. I felt strong. And powerful in my citadel of security.
But now? Now I have a little wooden picket thing running on the edge of my front lawn that a toddler could fall over. I have no gates, no chainlink, no guard dogs ready to rip your leg open, no wire, guns, no NOTHING. Anybody could just walk down the road, turn into my driveway, sashay on up to my front door – and hack it to bits with a sledgehammer. Or put their fist through my window, climb in and help themselves to the homemade choc chip cookies. I dont get this place at all. Drive around most neighborhoods and there are lovely stately homes. Luxurious and grand. With not a fence in sight. Some areas even have laws against fences, walls and barriers. Do you know that I am not allowed to put up barbed wire around my house? It makes the neighbors uncomfortable. And the neighborhood might resemble a prison. And a robber might scratch their leg while theyre hopping over it on their way to rip us off.We could get sued. HRH can build us a fence but it has to be pleasing to the eye and aesthetically pleasing. (meaning that electric zapper wire and booby trapped walls are out of the question.)
I am a woman bereft without her Samoan-style citadel of security. Because robbers are not the only reason why we need fences. On our first day here, we met our new neighbor Linda. She likes to sit in her van. All day. Watching us. She came over and said Hi. ELEVEN TIMES. In one day. I exagerate you not. ‘Hi this piece of plastic blew into my yard…Hi i brought your kids a puzzle i got from the Salvation Army…Hi i wanted to tell you about this recipe i tried this morning using herrings and creamed corn…Hi do you want these packets of jelly for your kids…Hi I love your skin color and your hair, where are you all from?…Hi do you want to buy a solar-powered briefcase for 20 dollars? Its worth 200…Hi…..’ On her final visit, Linda proceeded to fall off the edge of my two meter high cement step and pass out on my front lawn. Totally dead drunk. She reeked. We had to help her back home. “Oh just leave me here in my van, I’ll be fine.” Linda is now limping with a bandaged leg from her fall of my step and so has not been able to come over since.
Giving us some time. To put up a fence. It wont have chainlink or a single scratch of barbed wire. ( unfortunately) But fingers crossed it will at least keep the intoxicated neighbors out.