Wrong Side Of The Fence

It had been a long time since I’d jumped a fence.

In high school, we got early release days once a month. My friends and I usually spent the afternoon walking the neighborhood, getting pizza from Nancy’s Pizza in a strip mall near our neighborhood.

We’d walk to a cul-de-sac with homes along the sides and a block wall at the end of it. On the other side of the wall was the back of the strip mall’s grocery store. While it was a place normally reserved for stock boys and delivery trucks, for us it was a shortcut to Nancy’s. Once we got past the fence, we had a short stroll to an opening between buildings and two doors over was a slice of pizza and a soda for just $2.10. Sometimes, the wall had an entrance through it, so we simply had to walk through it. Other times, it was a solid block wall we had to jump. I can’t remember how many times we were surprised by the change in the wall, and I could never figure out why it changed between pedestrian-friendly and solid block so often. Now, I suspect it may have had to do with unwanted teenagers in that cul-de-sac…

I don’t think I’ve hopped any fences since then. So yesterday was a bit of a pickle.

I came home from the office after my fiance, who had dutifully locked the back gate. That’s not normally a problem except this time, my gate key was inside the house – on my desk, right where I’d put it the night before after the neighbor who watched our dog Nala for a few days returned it to me. That would have been fine, except my fiance was asleep on the couch and not answering his phone, so him unlocking the gate wasn’t an option. My options: wait until he woke up, or jump the fence.

Jumping was not as easy as I’d remembered.

This time, instead of having friends willing to give me a boost, I was alone with a 6-foot block wall. Instead of wearing scrappy jeans and an oversized t-shirt, I was wearing one of my favorite dresses for work. And instead of an area devoid of an audience save for my friends, this time I was in plain sight of anyone in my complex returning home from work.


I remembered the step ladder I’d seen in our storage unit, so I used that in place of a boost. When I peaked over the wall, Nala gave me a look, her eyes bright with excitement and her head tilted in confusion. She ran to me then back to the gate with a look that plainly said, “Hey Mom, over here! Why are you up there? You should come in through the gate!”

Did I mention, the other side of the fence I had to climb is Nala’s preferred area for doing her business?

I managed to climb over without much incident and without an audience. I managed to maintain a sense of decency even in my dress. I got a few scrapes but didn’t hurt the knee that’s been bothering me and without landing in dog poop. All things considered, it went well.

Jumping fences used to be no big deal, but now it was a last resort that took strategizing to accomplish. I suddenly heard Danny Glover’s character from Die Hard in my head: “I’m too old for this shit!”

At least I didn’t land in dog shit.


Photo credit: philosophygeek