People have so little to do in Dowagiac, they make up stories. The tales are much more colorful than anything that actually occurs here.
When something interesting happens, the real events are eclipsed quite rapidly by rumors that sprout like poison mushrooms, mutating spontaneously into child-devouring pods that transform everyone under the age of three into blood-thirsty zombies. This is far more intriguing than the annual cherry pit spitting contest at Tree-Mendus Fruit.
I let it slip that I'm having surgery on my elbow and wrist. I didn't reveal the date. I'm not that stupid.
Within 24 hours I was besieged. No one had heard that I'd been in an auto accident or had slipped in the shower or taken a spill down the basement stairs. I hadn't gotten drunk and fallen out of my stillettos in public or anywhere else. My bicycle is still in the garage, with two flat tires.
They also have lots of time to concoct imaginative "perfectly legal" schemes. Because someone else may beat them to the courthouse, time is of the essence. My phone is ringing off the hook. I now have 200 daily emails to review from friends of friends of friends of someone who just learned I live here. They can't afford to pay me, but they're confident we can work something out. They know a guy who knows someone who lost his job and his home and he has a friend who has a car and they want to know if we can negotiate a deal so they can sue everyone in their family and the cable company. They didn't suggest they'd help me get to and from the hospital the day of surgery, but that's the veiled inference.
Uh, no thanks.
The organizing committee for my class reunion, like those who have a pressing need to initiate legal action, requires an immediate response to the invitation to our class reunion. The questions are, for the most part, straightforward: "New York Strip or Baked Chicken." If you're going alone, the cost is $20. If you're part of a couple, you both get in for $30. (Let's not go there).
"Number of children."
"Number of grandchildren."
The last question, though, is a doozy. "Passions - what do you most enjoy? How do you spend your time?"
I replied, simply: "I baked a lot of bread, before my bread machine broke. I've since learned anything typically used as sandwich filling can be eaten on a cracker. I'm also writing a novel."
I'm fighting fire with fire.