About Pets, Empty Garages, and the Need to Call Ahead.

One time I gave our entire support spiel to another family’s dog.

Ok, not really, but he was the only one home, and though he seemed more interested in sniffing my crotch than in listening to my pleas for cash, it was a fleeting thought. I also considered taping my business card to his head.

We made the appointment about a week early, and even though our support coach and common sense would have frowned on it, we didn’t call to confirm our appointment the day, hour, or 15 minutes beforehand. Any of the above might have sufficed.

Instead we drove the 25 minutes through the rolling South Carolina foothills, probably rocking out to a Keb’ Mo’ CD in the beloved Altima (may she rest in peace), enjoying the adrenaline surge that comes before a support appointment.

The first red flag was that the garage door was wide open, with space enough to park a minivan. Given that it is a known law of thermodynamics and/or state government that all non-vehicular space be filled by clutter in any garage, we were immediately skeptical that the family was both home and really good at organizing.

But what’s the first rule both here at ATB and on any support appointment? That’s right: assume the best. Before declaring them a no-show, we needed to assume one of the following scenarios. (1) Home and organized. (2) Home and car in the shop. (3) Home and in possession of a magical device that shrinks their car into a child’s toy when they are not using it.

I went with number 3, my wife went with number 1.5 (whether the car was there or not, that was one organized garage.)

We rang the doorbell. Which brings me to a brief aside regarding doorbells. Am I alone in thinking that there should be some exterior indicator that you have correctly rung the interior bell? I propose an LED sign that reads:

“Please don’t ring the bell again. I have a sleeping infant, I heard it the first time, and you were lucky enough not to wake him. I will be 43% less likely to tackle you if you refrain from ringing the bell again. I’ll be right there. Most likely, I am putting on a shirt as you read this.”

After waiting at the door for the requisite “45 seconds longer than you think you should,” we determined that they were not home. I then took off the metaphorical “missionary” hat and donned my “sketchy guy walking around the house” hat (also metaphorical, unless you want to really sell it, then a ski mask would work best). I strolled around the back of the house, did a cup-the-hand-over-the-eyes glance into the back window, and picked a flower from their garden for my wife. (It’s the least they could do…)

The dog, at this point, was curiously following me around, wavering between interested and irritated, and wouldn’t get close enough for me to pet him (unlike how he acted in the front yard, where he repeatedly violated my personal space with a well-placed snout in the pants.)

What would you have done? Stuck around for 15 minutes? Left immediately? Played fetch with the dog? If 15 people comment, I’ll tell you what we actually did. 🙂

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