Yesterday someone knocked on the door and when I opened it there was a package on the steps. It was a small box, with my name clearly typed on the label but no identifiable return address. I then did what any normal, rational human being would do - I decided that it was a letter bomb, and set about deciding how I could open it without losing a limb or even worse, scorching my eyebrows.
I took the package outside onto the front porch. I saw a documentary on letter bombs on TV, and knowing that my blood and severed digits had the possibility of shooting several feet, I decided that detonating the box inside the house wouldn't be smart - you're looking at a few hundred dollars just to clean the walls and hardwood floors. That's me - always thinking ahead!
I pointed the box away from my body and slowly opened it, pushing it away from me after each rip so that once I reached the fuse I would have at least a few seconds to hurl my body out of danger and minimize the carnage. If any of the neighbors saw me and the obvious peril I was in none of them stepped up to help me - no doubt they were all just waiting, camcorders in hand to record the explosion of human tissue and body fluid so they could post it on YouTube. Those sadistic bastards.
Finally, after a few agonizing minutes during which my life passed before my eyes and I had rehearsed what my last words would be to Rigel and the girls ("Sorry for the mess. By the way, we're out of milk.") the lid of the box flipped open. My heart pounded. Sweat dripped from my forehead. I glimpsed a piece of foam padding and an ominous-looking grey object.
It was my new replacement battery for my PowerBook.
When I told Rigel this story last night he laughed for second, got really quiet and then said, "Wow. You're brave. Because if I did anything that loopy, no way would I even think of telling anybody."
I take full credit for my neurotic, doomsayer tendencies. That huge, old tree in front of our house that's withstood a thousand years of earthquakes and storms? Clearly minutes away from smashing us to smithereens in our sleep. The guy at the park who I thought was about to snatch a kid and whisk him away in his stolen van? I sneered at him for a solid hour before I found out it was actually my friend's husband. The gnarly-looking crew that showed up to do some yardwork? Certain that they were all escaped convicts, I called Rigel at work to tell him that the one with the glass eye and skull tattoo was not only eyeing me but our patio furniture, too.
I wasn't always this suspicious. I used to be trusting and naiive, and while I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, I certainly had no trouble just getting right into one. During a solo trip to Seattle to visit friends I took a ferry alone to catch a shuttle that would take me to the airport. Weighted down with three bags, a backpack and walking through a rainstorm, I accepted a complete strangers offer to take me to the bus stop. And while I became uncomfortable when he professed his belief in UFOs, I didn't think anything of it when he opened the back of his truck cab and I saw:
a thick coil of ropeThe Holy Trinity of mass murderer accessories in his truck - no problem. Crazy talk about alien beings - Hey, back-off psycho man!
While I can't begin to figure out the origins of my fears, my near-death experience at the hands of my laptop battery has got me determined to confront my suspicious nature. I've decided to make a conscious effort to be more trusting from now on. Strange letters in the mail that have no return address and smell of sulfur? Bring em on! I'll not only open them in the house, I'll carry them around in my pants for an hour first! Strangers approaching me on the street? I'll no longer assume they're out to steal my children, but hug them warmly and offer them a mint. Heavily tattooed, breast-gazing men who show up at my house to haul away greenery will be shunned no more! Now, they'll be invited in where I'll offer them coffee and the password to my online banking account.
I'm a work in progress, though, so those of you who've never met me, don't be surprised if I eye you warily at first. Try to ignore the retina scan, and please be understanding if I summon law enforcement if you attempt to approach me and my children to set up a playdate.
Most importantly, if you plan on sending me any computer accessories, make sure to mark the package clearly.
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tags: fear | suspicious minds | powerbook battery | doomsayer