Guest Author - Susan Hopf
Those of you that have been stricken by the horse born illness “Equine Obsessive Disorder” know only too well how debilitating it can be. Clinical signs are everywhere but you refuse to accept them.
You are unable to attend social gatherings for fear of hay falling into the appetizers – but why worry? It is after all roughage of the most natural kind – the horrified onlookers really should be taking their health far more seriously.
You become uneasy in crowds knowing that those around you will soon be checking the bottom of their shoes – of course you stick you nose in the air and follow suit – deflection is a righteous move at that moment.
Anxiety grows as you enter the office – your co-workers are gathered in a group, looking your way and whispering – you know that they know you were at the barn yesterday instead of the doctors – well hey it was a beautiful day for a ride.
You reach into your pockets to retrieve your car keys and in the bottom of a pile of pine shavings, horseshoe nail tips and bits of baling twine you see several unidentifiable items. You dig them out, cannot decide whether the brown oval things are ibuprofen or chocolate covered MMs. You pick off the lint, are still unsure of what, exactly, they are but eat them anyway – neither will hurt after the bucking good time your horse just gave you.
You run off to meet some non-horsy girlfriends for lunch – the conversation floats around to new hairstylists and an earthy scented body spray. You glaze over a few minutes in and begin to wonder if you even brushed your hair today and that earthy smell – manure or some new essential-oil bug spray?
Stopping for groceries, yes in muddy barn boots and hairy breeches, you reach in to your designer purse (a gift from a very well-coifed cousin) and extract four half-wilted carrots, a syringe cover, a flashlight and a hammer before being able to find your wallet. The cashier backs up a few steps.
You head to the barn and declare to anyone or all of your loved ones that you’ll only be there an hour or so. As you return home four hours later you wonder what sort of note you may find leaning up against the foyer mirror.
And the worst symptom of all – The Spotless barn/Dirty House syndrome. You head into the house somewhere past dinnertime for most people and your hubbie: you remember him – that wonderfully patient “horse/barn widow” that has helped you all day in the barn stacking hay, replacing fence boards and chasing after that pony-sized escapee for the third time that day??? – politely inquires what you would like to do for dinner. Your response – a very dramatic tirade that makes it clear that you and you alone have just spent all day working in the barn and how could he possibly expect dinner? You exclaim with a great deal of exasperation – “What are your arms broken?” As soon as the words are out of your mouth you realize he really did not ask you to make dinner he just wanted to know whether you would like to eat and if so what.
You sheepishly shrug your shoulders as he calls an order into the pizza place – they don’t even ask your address anymore. You proceed to shove a week’s worth of newspapers and cat hair off of the table and then try to find a few clean dishes to put on the table.
As you bounce back and forth, mumbling under your breath, searching first through your cabinets and then throughout the rest of the house, now looking for your purse, one of the boarders calls the house and asks where the rolled cotton is as her horse came in with a good sized gash on his leg. You calmly ask if your presence in needed. She responds in the negative – thank the heavens – so you instead give her precise instructions as to where to locate, not only the cotton, but every sort of first aid supply she could ever imagine all to the amazement of said hubbie, who after tripping over two pairs of boots, a girth and finally stubbing his toe on the door jamb, is starring at you in amazed dismay with a smirk and a head shake – no words are needed as the conversation has been exhausted years ago – but you do know what he’s thinking – how can you possibly know the whereabouts of every item, regardless of size, contained in a barn that houses twenty horses and a tack room that serves sixteen boarders and 30 weekly students but still, after fifteen minutes of searching cannot find a band aid to put on the finger you just sliced open while rummaging in the utensil drawer in an attempt to find a clean knife to chisel the beer out of the ice tray so you can have a cold one with your pizza.
The hubbie hobbles off to answer the door and pay for the pizza – your purse is still among the missing – and thusly your 14 hour day ends as it began – with a clean barn, a dirty house, a numb husband and hay sticking you in places that no piece of hay should ever find its way to in the first place.