I live my life constantly ready for battle. I try to operate on a level of awareness reminiscent of man preparing for war. Okay- I actually don’t know what it’s like to go to war and I can barely keep my cool while killing a household centipede but what I mean is, I am always primed for all unforeseen and/or violent scenarios that may occur in life. For example, when waiting to cross the street, I always consciously stand roughly one metre from the curb and I am never too close to train tracks lest some lunatic decides today is the day they’d like to meet Jesus and throws themselves (along with someone else) into oncoming traffic. Yes- I’m always at the ready, constantly going through all the what-ifs of how to escape dangerous situations. If you think I’m nuts and completely morbid, you’re not wrong. I blame all the true crime episodes of Dateline, 48 Hours, Nightline and 20/20.
That’s why, when a news story recently surfaced about a home robbery in a northern suburb of my city, I freaked out. A female homeowner had opened her door to what she thought was an innocent woman delivering flowers only for two men to barge into the home and rob them blind. This was around the time of Valentine’s day so the thinking was the homeowner opened the door assuming her sweet husband had gotten her flowers for the occasion. My immediate thought was that I, myself, would never open the door; not only because I’m hyper vigilant about stranger danger but because my husband would never have flowers delivered to me (ha). I joked with my girlfriends that if I ever had flowers delivered around the time of Valentine’s day I’d immediately look for an escape route- God forbid there were other gifts too.
- Me peeping out the window: *sees roses and other accoutrements* “Holy Mary Mother of God, BABE WE’RE BEING TARGETTED! Move, move, move! Get the rifle!!”
- Husband: “Um, we don’t have guns. And we’re not American.”
- Me: “Oh… right. Okay, go out there and say you’re sorry aboot all the trouble we’ve caused and offer them some sapling from our maple tree out back then.”
These scenarios always remind me of a hilarious video of comedian Sebastian Maniscalco describing the state of panic and fear one flies into when the chilling doorbell rings.
In all seriousness, something like this would never happen only because my modest, detached home also comes with a porched-in area lightly secured by a lockable vestibule door- one of the features I love about the house. I am always obsessively checking and rechecking to make sure that door is locked so solicitors of all vendors/religious groups can’t even get to my doorbell to ring it.
Even if they were able to easily break down the flimsy flip-lock of the vestibule door, I already have a well thought-out, somewhat-rehearsed plan in place. I’d grab whoever I was in the house with (lately it’s been my husband and child) and we’d run upstairs to the spare bedroom which faces the street. We’d use a good amount of muscle power to move my husband’s heavy ass, childhood oak dresser to block the doorway. Then we’d frantically wave and scream at anyone on the street for help including our neighbor, Mrs. Tony (we don’t actually know their last name and never seemed to catch the wife’s first name).
And while the robbers are rummaging through our home, they’d probably be hella pissed because there’s not much worth stealing here other than expensive, hefty Amish furniture (we’re not Amish) and a ton of recycling (if they were interested in accumulating used cardboard materials, that is).
- Robber #1: “What the heck?? There’s nothing here! They don’t even have toys for the kid! It’s just recycling!”
- Robber #2: “What do you mean??”
- Robber #1: “The kid plays with frigin’ egg cartons and yogurt tubs, man!”
Heck, I’m so starved of social interactions with people outside my household I may just invite them to stay longer, you know, just to chit-chat a bit! This pandemic is doing it’s damndest to isolate us from our social axis and jeopardize our very identities. It’s actually causing my usual standoffish self to be more open to real talk with complete strangers. I’m even taking time out of my day to engage in lengthy conversations with people who call me regularly.
- Phone Scammer: “Good Afternoon, Ma’am. Would you like some duct cleaning?”
- Me: “How many ducks do I need to have to qualify for the service?”
- Scammer: “No- not ducks, DUCT!!” (I could hear the spittle on the phone at the other end.)
- Me: “Yes, I know, I heard you. DUCKS. I have one duck, can you clean just the one DUCK?”
- Scammer: “Oh my God. DUCTS. DUCTTTS. We clean DUCTS, you know, like dust in pipes??”
- Me: “Well, Sir, I don’t know how much dust is in my duck’s pipes but how much for ONE duck, my God?!?”
- Scammer: *expletive, expletive, followed by loud bang.*
- Me: “My goodness, duck cleaners are soo rude!”
Or the time I made the most awkward small talk with the Starbucks barista near my work. I reckon it’s probably in their job description to memorize every caffeine addict’s name and drink order. And as superficial as I know that is, it still makes me feel like my barista is invested in our relationship, and somehow it makes me endeavor to push myself to break down my tough exterior walls too.
- Barista: “Oh hey! How’s your morning going, [my name]. How was your weekend?”
- Me: “Oh you know, same old. The days seem to blend into each other, don’t they? Oh wait! I just remembered, I had to drive my daughter down here on the weekend to get her nose swabbed for covid.” (At this point, I nervously rambled on for another twenty seconds or so before realizing that my order had already been processed and she was moving further back from the plastic partition- the only thing separating her from possible death, me.)
- Also me: “NEGATIVE!” (I nearly screamed at the barista so as not to classify myself the social leper, threatening everyone around me with potential covid fumes.) “We’re all negative!” I then steadily backed away, hurriedly added, “okay have a good day now!” and proceeded to cower in the corner where I waited for my beloved pike roast with two cream and two sugars.
Pandemic or not, perhaps I am the danger to strangers!
*Please note, no ducks were harmed in the making of this post.
**All conversations above (except the embarrassing Starbucks encounter) are imaginary, fictional, and mean no disrespect. If you are American, a telemarketer or someone who burgles homes for a living, please know I meant no harm. Thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe!