Invasion of the lemon snatchers

Joey Garcia

I arrived home from work to find three adults in my front yard filling plastic bags with lemons that had fallen from my trees. I was furious because they were trespassing. I also got scared because when I parked in the driveway they didn’t blink an eye. I got out of the car and calmly asked them to get off of my property. One woman apologized but said it appeared as if I didn’t need the fruit because it had been lying there for a while. This freaked me out, because it was obvious they had been watching my house. I live alone and though my neighborhood is safe, there is an apartment building nearby that is really ghetto. I keep replaying the incident in my mind, and although I thought I did the right thing, now I wonder if I should have been more generous. What do you think?

These are difficult economic times. Lemons are expensive, and the fruit was going to waste, but if one of the harvesters had injured herself while picking fruit in your front yard, you would be liable. So instead of criticizing how you handled the situation, focus your attention on how to become an icon of abundance in the future. If you choose to pick the lemons yourself, you can give the fruit to a local food closet, share it with co-workers and neighbors or leave lunch-size bags of fruit close to the sidewalk with a sign that says: “Free lemons” and “Please do not pick your own.” Tell your neighbors about your unexpected visitors and ask them to alert you to the presence of anyone around your home. You should be able to relax a bit knowing that neighbors are watching out for you. And, of course, you can always relocate the trees or erect a fence as long as you accept that neither action is a guarantee of your protection. Safety is best understood as an internal experience, not an external one.

I’m an attractive 54-year-old woman who is divorced after nearly 35 years of marriage. I have no trouble meeting men who are interested in me, but I can’t seem to meet any gentlemen. If I give a guy my phone number, he will call or text at any hour. This seems completely disrespectful, but a single friend says I need to suck it up and join the 21st century if I want to meet someone. What happened to good manners?

As long as good manners persist in you, all is well. But the real issue here is boundaries. A boundary is an invisible line that defines where one person ends and another begins. Someone who is hoping to be invited into your life should not be calling or texting you before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. unless you have suggested it. So do not respond to calls or texts received during inappropriate times. If a man complains, tell him that you do not make yourself available 24-seven unless you are in a committed relationship (if that’s even true). Then, the next time you are tempted to provide a stranger with your phone number, ask for his instead. Take the time to screen him in person and, later, by phone. If you sense a genuine connection, keep going. Otherwise, let him know that you are not interested in pursing a relationship with him. Although being honest is unexpected, it preserves your integrity. In the process you are indirectly offering the men you meet a lesson in how to be a good date. Don’t worry that no man will qualify. Be patient. If you want to meet a gentleman, you must treat yourself like a woman of worth.

Meditation of the week
“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own,” wrote science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein. Are you willing to give without receiving something in return?

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