I’ve processed many short bits of “Breaking Bad” over Tom’s shoulder in the last few months. I know nothing about the show but it seems to involve unattractive people and unsavory dealings in a suburban milieu. I don’t know if it’s the show, or the fact that Portland can’t seem to afford an active police force right now, or the fact that Cuz, recently transplanted from NYC, has commented numerous times about the dangers of living in Portland—yes, Portland—but I’m feeling a bit spooked and under siege in my home.
It started a month ago, when neighbors started emailing around about would-be thieves posing as Comcast employees. I don’t want to get into the details but the incidents were alarming enough that we all took extra care to lock our doors for a while. But time passes, and I forgot all about it, until I went grocery shopping with Cuz and she started talking about a weird Comcast employee who had stopped by during the day, asking her a slew of questions about who she was and how long she was staying in Portland, and where my husband and I were, and for how long. He left a flyer, with a handwritten note to call him about saving money. Bad number. Ugh.
The Comcast story isn’t that interesting, except to lay the foundation for my current, keyed up mood. All of a sudden, I’m buggin’. I see danger everywhere. The morning after I heard about the Comcast guy, I woke up and saw this in my parking strip.
I’m not one to freak out unnecessarily, which probably explains why I am robbed bi-annually. But that is a heavy metal mystery box chained to a tree in my front yard. With a serious lock, and electric wires protruding from it. I didn’t put it there. I thought, for three seconds, that it may have been Tom, but let’s be serious, there are at least seven things in this photo that require mechanical know-how that my husband does not possess.
Plus, I’ve seen a lot of episodes of McGyver. And if I learned anything from that show, it’s that if a box has wires coming out of it and is chained to something, it’s a bomb. Normally, my rational mind would stop me at this point to say, “Yoona, what are the chances that there is a bomb chained to a tree in your yard?” But as I said, I’m keyed up. On top of the Comcast thing, I’d been watching the DNC all week, worrying that someone would try to bomb the convention. So I saw this box chained to my tree, and promptly freaked out. I then proceeded to do the one thing I always do when I freak out, which is, to bother Tom.
But Tom wasn’t taking my texts that morning, either because of a legal emergency, or because he appears to permanently reside in a deadspot that is immune to receiving texts from my phone, unless I’m texting him to ask for his Chipotle order.
When Tom finally did call, he told me, matter-of-factly, that this box is likely a monitor of sorts, a machine that measures speed and other traffic info. He said he saw such boxes growing up in Michigan. Which hardly seems possible, because there are solar panels on the top of the box, and solar technology certainly postdates Tom’s childhood by at least a couple decades. But, per the usual, the more Tom talked, the more it made sense. Once explained, I hated the box even more, because now, the box made me feel stupid. It also made me feel panicked, because it suggested that someone on my street had complained about the speed of driving on my road, which made me wonder if they had called about me.
No time to dwell on it, though, because there was other spooky stuff to get paranoid about. That very night, I opened up Tom’s medicine cabinet looking for some Advil, and stumbled upon this.
I would hardly say otherwise here, but believe me when I say that I am clueless about drugs. Almost the entirety of what I know about drugs comes from local news stories about meth, and my trusty US Weekly. I still don’t really know anything about meth except that it gives you terrible skin and that you cook it, using common household items like fruit roll-ups. As for US Weekly, my most favored news source tells me that prescription drug abuse is running amok through Young Hollywood. Tom’s not a part of Young Hollywood, but Young Hollywood nonetheless sprang to mind when I saw his medicine cabinet.
I had so many questions. What was Patanase? A quick glance at the label revealed that Patanase is a nose spray for allergies. But WHY? I hadn’t noticed Tom’s allergies being particularly intense this year. Why would anyone have that much nose spray? Could my husband be addicted to Patanase? Could the addiction be spiraling out of control? Could the spiraling addiction explain why he keeps washing my yoga pants with towels, and also forgetting to turn the sprinkler off? Could it?? And how about the coupon for $40 off? $40 off a container of Patanase? How much did this stuff COST??? How could he need MORE Patanase? And when would the coupon expire?
Tom says most of the Patanase tubes are empty. Which raises lots of other questions, like why I even allow him to have his own medicine cabinet. But between the fake Comcast employees and the traffic boxes that look like bombs, I’m too tired to think about it.