September 3, 2016: The Day I Apologized and Lived to Tell the Tale (Part 2)

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I followed Will into the house. As expected, the interior looked like a feature spread in House Beautiful magazine. The elegant foyer led into an opulent living room decorated with luxurious furniture, trendy wallpaper, landscape paintings on the walls and marble statues on the display shelves. A baby grand piano gleamed in a sunny corner.

The room was beautiful...objectively. Though I appreciated the aesthetics the same way I'd admire a historic church or metropolitan museum, I didn't feel the house was a home. Maybe other people can live happily in a museum, but I'm more of a "shabby chic" type of girl. Rather than an opulent mansion with three garage doors buffered by thirty acres of trees and crops, I'd prefer to live in a cozy three-bedroom within biking distance of downtown. And waterfalls are impressive and all, I'd feel more comfortable in a low-maintenance back garden where I can sip coffee in my pink pajamas.

(Yes, I know I'll never be able to afford even a cramped one-bedroom condo on my salary. Thank you for reminding me how poor I am, Diary.)

"Your home is lovely," I said out of obligation.

"Thank you, on my father's behalf," Will said. "He put a lot of work into it. I haven't done much since he passed away. When my sister is ready to move out on her own, I plan to sell everything and move closer to work."

"Really?" Though the home wasn't to my personal taste, I was surprised Will was so eager to let it all go.

Will invited me to put down my bag and hat. He grabbed a lightweight cotton robe off the back of a chair and put it on. "I don't use half of the rooms, and managing the land is a big time sink. In summer all of my free time goes into the yard, and in winter it all goes into plowing snow off that wretched driveway."

I nodded in sympathy. That asphalt road through Will's property is really long. Shoveling my parents' average suburban driveway is onerous enough; half the time Dad doesn't even bother. He just guns the engine to slide up the icy cement and hopes he doesn't slam into the back of the garage.

Will said, "Ideally I'll find a place close to downtown. I don't need more than three bedrooms, and I'll be happy if I never see another water feature in my life. Never again do I want to spend two vacation days crawling around in mud, trying to unclog a waterfall pump. I just want a small, manageable garden where I can have my coffee in the morning."

Hearing Will talk about life dreams, which happened to match up perfectly with mine, made me feel weird and anxious. I interjected, "I'm sorry for showing up unannounced. I hope I didn't ruin your plans for the day."

Will said it was no problem, and he didn't have any plans. I should have stopped there, but I felt compelled to follow up with, "And I swear I'm not a stalker."

As I realized after I spoke, there's no better way to convince people you're a stalker than to insist you aren't one.

To dispel the disturbing impression I'd just created by babbling, I babbled even more. "I mean, I didn't follow you home or anything."

There. All better.

Will's mouth quirked. "I assumed you looked me up on DIAL."

I have since learned, Diary, that DIAL is the Deschutes County property information database. You would think, with the all-capital letters and whatnot, that it is an acronym for "Deschutes" something or other. But "DIAL" is, in fact, a meaningless name the government made up.

At the time I had never heard of DIAL. Seeing my confusion, Will said, "Property ownership is a matter of public record. Anyone can look up my address on the Internet, so I didn't think to ask how you found mine."

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