‘On the couch’ with Jasminda


DEAR Jasminda,

Our neighbours have gone away for three weeks, and they’ve asked me to water their plants. I thought I would also use the opportunity to take daily swims in their pool, but they have padlocked the gate (I guess as a safety measure).

They’ve given me their keys in case of an emergency, so I could easily unlock it.

With these high temperatures, it seems like a reasonable thing to have a quick dip after I build up a sweat watering their garden.

What do you think?
Corrine L.


Dear Corrine,

A padlock seems to give a pretty clear message as to the status of your role in the neighbour’s backyard.

I would assume that they are expecting you to maintain the hedge, water any potted plants, prune stray or dying branches, perhaps give the lawn a quick mow, and top up the bird bath.

The padlock sends a strong signal that they are not expecting you to be languishing in the pool on their inflatable flamingo (pina colada in hand), dragging your toes through the crystal-clear water while the portable speaker blares out the best of 2021’s Deep House and Chill Music, and a pool boy named Julio gives you the occasional neck massage and feeds you grapes.

I think they have given you the keys as a form of temptation, and you have been drawn to that temptation like a middle-aged woman wearing gardening gloves and nursing some RSI from pulling out one too many weeds in 35-degree heat while the dappled turquoise hue of their inground pool seduces you through the seamless glass pool fence.

What you could do is to accidentally throw a native animal (nothing too major, not a koala, maybe a lizard?) over the pool fence and then you would have an excuse to rescue it from drowning.

You could then legitimately unlock the fence and wade in the cool, calm water until you reach the poor, helpless wretch.

You could then contact your neighbours to let them know you had to use the pool key to save a drowning creature and it would be no trouble to add this duty to your gardening jobs as a lizard (or worse) finding its way into the filter box could be a real issue if left for too long.

Just make sure they don’t have any CCTV cameras pointed at the pool, or you’re just going to look like a sweaty psycho throwing native fauna into a chlorinated environment.

That’s going to be a bad look, Corrine.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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