I had an in-home behavior consultation scheduled yesterday with a client who lives way, way, way off the grid. I followed the winding, treacherous road deeper and deeper into the woods. Even my GPS threw its virtual hands up and surrendered. I was on my own. It was late in the day and there was probably just another 30 minutes of daylight left.
I drove at a snail’s pace in order to remain safely on the narrow road while attempting to read faded mailbox numbers. I tried to follow the natural order of the numbers but I guess that in keeping with the spirit of the winding, strange road, the numbers didn’t make much sense either.
Getting a little creeped out, I decided to call the client to get more specific directions but I couldn’t safely call while on the treacherous road. I was about to just pull into a random driveway when I finally saw it – number 29998. Well, at least I thought it was 29998. The mailbox actually said 9998 but there was a broken off piece of a number before the first 9. It had to be the place. The owner had said she lived in a brown house with a gravel driveway and there would be a horse in the side pasture. Brown house… check. Gravel driveway… check. Horse… check.
I got out of the car and looked around. Visions of the movies Psycho and Deliverance were flashing through my mind. I slowly walked up to the porch – or rather, what remained of the porch. Weather-worn wooden slats criss-crossed in a splintery fashion that made taking each step a good chance for a broken leg. Looking at the front of the house I couldn’t imagine this person had the money to pay for a consultation but it wasn’t my job to judge so I pressed on toward the front door.
There was just a hole where the doorbell used to be so I knocked on the door. I heard movement behind me and spun around as carefully as I could to prevent falling through the front porch and wishing I had remembered to carry pepper spray with me.
Directly behind me were several very straggly-looking cats.
“Are you the official greeting committee?” I asked weakly to the feline group.
I knocked again on the door but still no answer. I looked through the tattered curtains on the door. The inside of the house looked as unwelcoming as the outside. I glanced over to the side yard and saw a relatively new car. Someone had to be home. The hairs on the back on my neck were calling out meth lab, kidnapper, and serial killer. If this owner was really having a cat behavior problem, it was something we’d just have to take care of in a phone consultation. It was time to get the heck out of there!
I carefully but very quickly made my way off the death trap of a porch, past the cats, down the driveway and into my car. Locking the door immediately, I then put the key in the car and roared out of the driveway. I figured I’d drive back down the road a bit and then pull over into a driveway to call the client and announce that I’d be happy to do a phone consultation at a later day. For right now, I was heading back to civilization and safety.
I found a safe looking driveway and started to pull in when I saw it. Right there on the mailbox. 29998. Oops. Brown house. Gravel driveway. Nice-looking horse in the pasture. Nice looking house. Safe porch. I had been at the wrong house.
I turned into the driveway and scurried up the porch to ring the front door bell.
“Sorry I’m late,” I said as I was greeted by someone who didn’t look as if she was operating a meth lab or had a body buried in the basement.
If the person who lives at the other house happens to read this, PLEASE get your mailbox numbers fixed!