21 July 2013

Out, damned spot!

Ten days ago on Twitter, I wrote:
As though a reward for deciding to do a second lap up & down my street, I spotted a blackberry bush & picked a handful. #tasty #summer
What I didn't say is that this bush is overhanging and growing through a fence of some neighbors [Allegedly. Remember these are Taller Than Average Tales.]. It's actually just a piece of fence that makes a corner by their driveway. Maybe waist high? It's fairly traditional in the Northeast, wood posts every so often with two long rounded pieces of wood connecting the sections. Their security system lawn sign is a better deterrent. In any case, I never stepped off the public road.

Also, I kept an eye on the bush to see if anyone else was picking them in subsequent walks. It didn't even look like animals were getting into them which surprised me. It seemed a waste so I picked another handful from the side further from their driveway. And another on a subsequent walk and sometimes just a few stray berries I popped straight into my mouth.

There was a huge crop of berries facing their driveway which I left alone. The next day their trash and recycling bins were within a couple of feet of the bush. If they don't notice them when they're right next to them, I'm not going to worry about picking them.

The following day, one bin was back but the other was still out. Inconclusive. I'll give it another day.

This time, I went for a walk with my Dad. The neighbors who live across from the blackberry bush owners were out so I said hello to them. I also noticed someone sitting on a bench by the driveway of the blackberry house, so I decided not to stop to pick any. The other bin was gone.

In a stealth move, I grabbed two as I walked by. There's a bunch of trees behind the bush and lining their driveway so I was out of view. Once we were out of view again, I handed my dad a blackberry.

"Oh, is this where you've been snitching berries?" he said all too loud for my comfort.

I scowled at him until I was sure we were out of all the neighbors' earshot. I chastised him for his obliviousness. He hadn't noticed the man in the driveway and thought nothing of saying that in front of the other neighbors. So much for family loyalty.

Then it was Saturday. I was out early for a warmup walk before my workout. I grabbed 4 and ate them.

Finally, today. The fully ripe crop of berries facing their driveway remained untouched. I couldn't take it anymore. I started picking from the far side, reaching through the brambles getting the occasional scratch. I pulled my hand back and my forefinger looked like it was covered in magenta-tinged blood. Fortunately it was just blackberry juice, but it looked pretty damning. I picked the blackest berries along their driveway that they'd ignored or not noticed for several days.

Then I heard a door open at their house and someone walk out. I was still out of view but decided to beat feet. I'd picked so many I needed to cup my other hand over the one with the berries so as not to drop any.

I never looked down their driveway or towards their house so I don't know if he or she looked my way or not.

Usually, I'd walk all the way to the other end of my street and then back home but I felt highly suspicious walking with my hands full of berries. I stopped back home, rinsed the berries off and put them on a clean paper towel on the kitchen counter.

I washed my hands but my juice-stained finger wouldn't wash entirely clean. Out, damned spot!

I gave it up and went back out to finish my walk in the other direction without incident. I may lay low for a few days though.

Would you know blackberries if you saw them growing wild? I can only guess they didn't notice them, don't know you can eat them, or don't like them.

Two years ago on TTaT: Still absolute scum

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