Life in suburbia can be so surprising. Yesterday morning, when Kay from next door came over for a coffee break, as she came in the front door she said, “G, take a look at your hedge.” So, poking my head out the front door, I took a look. There was a gap in the hedge, five cedars worth. It looked like the gumline of an aging derelict. The downed cedars lay crushed inward on what passes for our lawn. I called Rumpole out to look.
“A hit and run, fly-by-night kind of thing, ” he announced, “it must have been some drunk”.
“Yeah,” I grumbled, ” whoever it was sure took the corner early, like 20 feet early.”
Kay says, wisely “you need to put some great massive boulders out there. That might save your cedars and give injury to sloppy drivers’ cars.” Sure, and look like we have landscaping a la Flintstones, I’m thinking. What we need is a suburban fortification? A neighbour a block away has a course of huge rocks lining the edge of his property. Every time I walked by with the dogs it would not have surprised me to see a TV shoot for the original Star Trek with Captain Kirk and Bones huddled fearful behind a boulder, requesting Scotty to beam them up to the Enterprise. It is that kind of cheesy effect that one might like not to emulate on a suburban plot. Rumpole likes the idea of rubble out front. But over my dead old body will this happen!
Once back inside, Rumpole leaves it up to me to problem-o-solve. As he maintains “I do Law, you do House.” I search out Bob’s phone number from the side of the fridge. Bob does the yearly cut of our vigorous hedges, and has done so since Rumpole ended up in Emergency after tackling the hedge trimming with his brand new electric hedge-clippers a couple of years back. Bob is very efficient and not nearly so dramatic as Rumpole at carrying out this task.
As Kay and Rumpole sit and drink their libations, I phone Bob.
“Is it an insurance claim?” he asks. What, for a hedge, is he kidding? I’m thinking. He arranges to come over next day to quote on the replacement of the missing cedars.
I mention the possibility of an insurance claim to Rumpole and Kay. We sit around sipping coffee and scratching our heads. Hit and run hedge killing? Seems a bit far-fetched. We go on to discuss more interesting things.
Later in the evening Dry Sherry calls. She has now a permanent job at the big Gallery as an animateur. Happy with this posting. I pass on to her Martha’s compliments on how well she led a group of high school teachers through the latest exhibition on a workshop. DS is glad of positive feedback. We talk about how difficult it is for DS to continue to train her horse for dressage competitions, now that she is working full time. For some strange reason I bring up the downed cedars and just how irritated I am at this turn of events.
“You have an ICBC insurance claim”, she says. ” My father-in-law, just down the street from you regularly has to replace parts of his hedge. When drivers lose control of their cars over the bridge before his property in the wintertime, he has the same dilemma. Make your claim through ICBC.”
The penny dropped. After I ended the call with Dry Sherry, I mentioned the possibility to Rumpole in his den. We kind of gazed at each other, somewhat stupefied. We can do this? It seems so frivolous an action. We finally crunch numbers on the cost of replacing the cedars and determine since our insurance costs are so high we may as well make use of them somehow. Still, it seems somewhat an odd claim.
Today I phoned ICBC. It is not such a simple matter as talking directly to an insurance adjustor. You call, get put on hold to listen to Wayne Newton crooning “Feelings”, then some other elevator music for about a half an hour until “Thank you for continuing to hold. Our operator will be shortly with you” is announced, and you hold onto the phone with a death grip, waiting and waiting. When you “do house” and arrange for help for anything, you tend to do a lot of this holding for the next operator.
The Adjustor finally comes on line. “Have you callled the police?” he asks.
“The only living thing that died was a number of hedging cedars. Do the Police care about this?” I ask.
“Madam, we will determine whether you will need to call the police.” he replies. What? What? Do the police really have time for this, I’m thinking?
So the upshot is, later this week an adjustor will come out to take pictures of our downed cedars, make or not make a suggestion to have the police involved in a drive-by cedar downing. The whole thing is ridiculous. Surely there are better ways to spend one’s time than on something this frivolous. I mean it’s just a bloody hedge.
I am really having a hard time with this. In suburbia, one does what is required to keep up appearances, and has an insurance claim to be able to do so. There are people who cannot afford medical insurance. I feel as if we exist in some weird dream world with skewed priorities that make no sense.