It Is Only Water

He was standing there with a look of surprise on his face, or should I say he was crouching next to my hose. A teenage boy, at best in his early 20s was using my hose to fill up a water bottle.

Perhaps it is more appropriate to say that we were both surprised. I had walked outside because I was preparing to leave to pick up my dinner and I am certain that he never expected to encounter anyone.

For a moment I was silent as I tried to assess the situation. He spoke first by saying that it was only water, but there was something about his manner that bothered me. I said that it was more than just water. I pay for that water. It is not free, it comes from my pocket. I know that I had a harsh look on my face and an edge in my tone.

I told him to turn off my hose and stand up. As he did so I confronted him, peppering him with questions.

“Why didn’t you knock on the door and ask, do you need money, what makes you think that you can just take it?”

And in return he said that he was sorry, but it was just water. The lack of sincerity in his voice further incited me. I noticed that he was heading to a car parked across the street. It had three or four people inside it and as he walked I told him to get in the car and leave.

He mumbled something at me and kept walking. I stood and stared while he flagged down cars to ask for assistance with his vehicle. Apparently it was stalled on my street and for a moment I considered walking over to offer him some water, but I just couldn’t do it.

He was willing to stop cars to ask for help so I wondered about why he couldn’t have knocked on the door and asked for help or at least permission to use my hose. It took me a moment to realize the source of my anger. It stems back to the incident at Target when my son shouted “Daddy, they have mommy’s purse.

The more I thought about it the more that I realized that I felt violated again and though it might seem trivial, some of the anger/frustration comes from the first incident. To him it may have “just been water” but to me it was something more.

I was angry. It bothered me that he was willing to flag down cars in the street to ask for help but that he was unwilling to do the right thing and knock on my door and ask for permission to use my hose. For a moment I wanted to stop him in his tracks to get some clarification on this but it wasn’t going to happen.

He wasn’t going to allow himself to look any more foolish in front of his friends and I wasn’t going to engage in further dialogue because I really did want to let it all blow over because I didn’t want to make the situation worse.

What I mean by that is that I had to be concerned about what this kid might do to my home later. It is a sad statement, but the reality is that I had to consider whether he would choose to come back and vandalize my home in some manner.

In the time that has elapsed nothing has happened so I am cautiously optimistic that this is nothing more than a story, but I admit to being disturbed that I had to worry about any of this.

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  1. Jack's Shack September 19, 2005 at 8:02 pm


    It doesn’t make sense.

  2. Ezzie September 19, 2005 at 6:59 pm

    The water story is weird…

    PT, break-ins in Milwaukee? And here, everyone always says that Milw has no crime…

  3. bornfool September 19, 2005 at 6:42 pm

    Very Strange. I just don’t understand why he didn’t just ask.

  4. dorothy rothschild September 19, 2005 at 5:58 pm

    There’s something creepy to me about just walking up into a stranger’s yard and helping yourself to his/her water. The proximity to the house. Going right up next to the house to turn on the faucet. I dunno. That would feel like a violation to me (and if it happened in certain parts of the country might make the violated shoo you off the property by way of a bullet). And even without what you experienced at Target, I can still understand feeling aggressive/threatened by someone being in your yard like that.

  5. Jack's Shack September 19, 2005 at 4:54 pm


    Because of the incident at Target I think that I reacted more strongly than I would have, but at the same time I didn’t totally fly off of the handle.

    But had I felt threatened I most certainly would have responded aggressively which is probably related to the first incident as well.

    Next time I’ll compromise and just turn on my sprinklers.

  6. PsychoToddler September 19, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    I was going to say something smart here like, “Did you also stick your hand in your pants and tell him to get off your lawn” but reading through the rest of the story made me think the better of it.

    You’ve obviously got some emotional scarring from the incident and it’s good that you have a blog where you can externalize some of this. I’ve been having some similar feelings since our vehicles have been broken into a number of times this year and I’m getting angrier and angrier with each new incident.

  7. Jack's Shack September 19, 2005 at 4:46 pm


    I really hope that it was him because I really let him have it.

  8. Ezzie September 19, 2005 at 4:35 pm

    Sorry. And if it was him, great. If not, ouch…

  9. Jack's Shack September 19, 2005 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Ezzie,

    They paid for their purchase that day using my cash. I wish that I could say that there was a happy ending, but that is not how this story ends.

    Although I could add that I think that the man showed up at my gym and played in my basketball game.

    I was fairly certain that it was him and I did a fair impression of Bill Laimbeer that day.



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