A few years ago when I looked a bit less decrepit than I do these days, I was in the post office. Minding my own business. Waiting in line to mail a package. When out of nowhere swoops in one of our grander dames of the valley. Those were the years when they were building McMansions and asking insanely high prices in hopes that we’d get some of the wealthy carriage-set professionals to move to our neighborhood.

You couldn’t miss them: these were people who went to the grocery store in high heels and makeup. They were clearly a new invasive species. This one was after me.


“Is that your car in the handicapped space?”


“You don’t look handicapped.”

My jaw flapped open. “I don’t suppose you noticed the handicapped placard hanging from the mirror?”

“No, I was looking for a licence plate.”

“Well, surprise, lady. Most people don’t get the licence plate so they can take their pass with them into any car in which they are riding. And who the hell are you to judge me? You got x-ray vision?” I sputtered to a conclusion and she sputtered out. Apparently her “business” at the post office could wait.

We’ve had another memorable incident during which we (really, my son … I was supervising) were moving rocks from an old stone wall deep in the woods where it probably marked the edge of a field, maybe a hundred years ago. We were building a rock garden. A newly arrived “local” pulled up into our driveway and proceeded to berate my son for moving historical rocks.

“They aren’t historical,” he said. “They are just big rocks. And they are OUR big rocks. Because this is our land. I would ask you to please leave since you are trespassing. On our property.”

“There are laws,” she cried, as she stormed off.


No, there aren’t. There are no laws pertaining to the use of big rocks taken from your own woods and moved to a different part of your property. I’m not even sure there are any laws if you take rocks from along the road and put them ON your property.

People make a lot of assumptions based on what they think they see.

The see me on my feet, so I couldn’t be disabled. They don’t see a handicap, so it must not be there. And the obverse: my son is using rocks from an old stone fence … so he much be doing something illegal. Surely Massachusetts has a “Department of Historical Rocks” to protect them. Because, you know, rocks are an endangered species.