It appears the universe has no intent of ceasing the rain long enough for me to mow the yard and mulch the leaves one last time.  Today was wet.  Soppy wet.  I cannot tolerate a wasted day, and began milling around the house eyeballing of all the things that needed to be made tolerable as we enter the season of being cloistered indoors.  The giant amaryllis and peace lilies that had been outside all summer needed to find comfortable placement.  The kitchen counters seem overwhelmed with various sizes of 75 year old bale jars storing grains, nuts, salts, and other bulk goods.  There has to be a better way to organize that.  If I’m going to be forced to spend more time inside, I might as well have things the way I like them.

During a brief easing of the rain, I decided that the heretofore forgotten carrots should probably be harvested.  The rainy stint had been good for them, and the ground was very courteously willing to release them.  Purple, white, and orange, the carnival carrots always amaze me.  As I pulled the last root from the ground, my dogs began to fuss.  Barking with intent.  Hackles raised.  My girls are very good judges of character.  I didn’t stop them as the man walked into my driveway.  My fella was outside with me.  We called the dogs to us, they promptly respond, and the man thanks us for not letting him ‘get bit’.  I suggest that if he didn’t want to get bitten he might have chosen not to walk into the driveway with the two large dogs.  He continues toward us, explaining that his car broke down close to a mile away.  He wanted a ride to his father’s house on another nearby road.  He asked if either of us were willing to take him there.   Something felt unsettling, but my good-hearted fella, who knows the area very well, agreed.  I immediately ask him to join me in the house and tell the man to wait where he stands.  As we walk in, I immediately scoop one of our firearms.  I make sure there is a bullet in the chamber, check the safety, and put it in my pocket.  There was no way he was going alone.  My gut is not okay with this.  There are alarms going off in my head.  He asks to see the weapon.  I hand it to him.  He checks it, and pockets it himself, telling me to wait here.  “It’ll be fine.”  As we walk back out on the porch he directly asks the stranger where he broke down.  The man repeats the same location he had indicated before.  When asked, he provided details as to where his father lived, and how to get there.  I’m mapping in my head.

They pulled out of the driveway.

Immediately, I holster another weapon, grab my keys, purse, and phone.  I don’t like this.  In my mind I set a time limit.  I know where they are going.  I also know that it would be easy to lure a kind-hearted neighbor to an isolated rural location and rob them or hurt them.  My mind starts to go to dark places.  It’s been raining.  Why wasn’t the guy soaked if he walked such a distance to our house??  His hair was dry.  Why didn’t I ask his name??  He could have just lied.  I make mental note of his clothing, haircut, bushy eyebrows, odd speech mannerism…..

After about 5 minutes (the amount of time it would have taken to get there) I call my fella’s phone.  DAMN IT!!  He has an app that automatically refuses calls and text once his vehicle reaches 30mph….and doesn’t resume them until it is under that speed for 15 minutes.  This whole situation shouldn’t have taken 15 minutes.  Minor panic….thinking terrible things….but I have a plan.  I grab my keys, stand up to walk to my vehicle…..and there he is.  He pulls in the driveway.  Home safe and sound.

When I lived in Virginia I used to pick up hitchhiking Appalachian Trail hikers all the time.  I’d give them a ride up the mountain and share some granola bars or crackers I kept in my old Pathfinder.  I didn’t pick up ALL of them that I saw, but had no reservation in helping out a man or woman going form the bottom of the mountain to the trail at the top.  Why was this different??  Because my GUT said it was.  I didn’t make this judgement call, and don’t hesitate to tell you that I wouldn’t have done the same thing.  Does this make me an uncaring resident of my community?   NO.  It makes me skeptical on behalf of my own health and safety…and that is perfectly okay to be.

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