Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nice To Meet You, Please Don't Kill Me.

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 rope
two shovels
several tarps
The 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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51 comments:

  1. I'm sorry but I was so laughing at your misery...
    I'm still laughing...

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  2. I think I can speak for us all when I say that we'll be very disappointed and sad if you blow up your lady parts.

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  3. YOU are too funny Marsha!! I get so excited seeing a new post from you every time, you got yourself a "stalker"! So beware, but you'll invite me in for tea right? I'm sure you still have those cookies you brought back from Japan that you hid from all your relatives that you can share with me, right? Marsha? Are you there?

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  4. I'm very suspicious, too. In fact, I suspect that you've cracked me up with this post.

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  5. Would it frighten you if I voiced my suspicions that we just may be related?

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  6. i am dying.. laughing my ass off here! that is SO something that i think LOTS of us would do. lol.. oh man. whore!

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  7. I must admit.... The second I get a package in the mail (or envelope, or whatever) I tear it open like a kid on Christmas morning.I can't help myself.

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  8. I was JUST thinking this last night, as some dude knocked on my door purporting to be a meat delivery guy.

    He motioned over to his truck and said "I'm done with my deliveries for the day. I've got $60 steak in there -- my price to you, $2"

    It's highly possible he was just being nice. I, of course, assumed he was tempting me over to the truck so that they could lock me in with the meat and take all stuff.

    I am lame.

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  9. I'm dying here. My office mate just asked me if I was okay, since I was laughing so hard I'm crying.

    This is totally something I would do. But I admit, I'm with Rigel - NO WAY would I have told anyone about it.

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  10. See this is why we love you. You share! *laughing hysterically*

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  11. Well, Rigel is right...you're brave. Course, curiousity is always stronger than fear.

    That's why all those people in scary movies try to find the source of the scary sound, right?

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  12. This must come along with having kids because I'm the same way and this is very strange for me. Its as if you're fear radar kicks up a couple of notches when you are a parent..

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  13. Hey, if you want to go halvsies with me on a robotic package opener thingie, I'm game.

    Once my kids reached the age that I could say, "I've done my job," I got braver. I was so brave when I was young, then I got pitiful for a while, now I'm getting all brave and bold again. You know, super brave. When I'm on the 10 and a souped up, low-rider honda civic cuts me off, I just give 'em the finger and dare them to shoot me. Did I mention some people think I have senile dementia?

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  14. Moose: You may want to rethink that. Remember, I'm related to Yoko Ono.

    Jonathon: I hate to admit it, but I would have taken the risk of kidnapping and bodily injury just to get my hands on all those steaks.

    Lin: That was YOU on the 10 I saw?

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  15. Your blog's been down for awhile, but I just had to come back and tell you that that was the craziest story I've ever heard.

    Please contact your neighbors. I'll pay them big money for any video footage.

    -annie

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  16. I wish I was your neighbor. I think the same way. If my son is one a bike, I can think of 500 ways he could hurt/kill/maim himself. I so understand!

    Nice to know I'm in good company.

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  17. This so reminds me of something I would do. And then I would have to tell my husband because when I do something that, in retrospect, seems spazzy or crazy I have this intense urge to tell someone (it's the Catholic in me). He already knows I'm a freak, so he's the best person to tell. My mom is also good, b/c she's a freak like me (plus she and I share the philosophy that you can never be too safe, even if it makes you look stupid...)

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  18. Hmm, Pookie would say that I'm not suspicious enough. I would, in turn, tell him to kiss my butt.

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  19. Your Neighbor10/26/2006 8:32 PM

    Oh, is THAT what you were doing out there. I thought it was just the aftermath of your lunchtime martini.

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  20. Oh my gosh .. now I sincerly know what ROFL means .. because I was doing just that.
    Sorry for your misery .. but you made my day!

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  21. I'm with Patti the Domesticator... packages send me into some sort of freakish trance wherein NOTHING is as important as opening them. There is no reading of labels or noticing if they are missing. There is no smelling of sulfur. Only a barely audible message of "Open me. Open me" purring in my ears. And... yeah, I kinda believe in aliens, too.

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  22. I don't feel so crazy anymore!! I am so paranoid. I'm convinced the guy in the duplex across from ours is a drug dealer, don't like answering the door when I'm home alone with Leah, and freak out a little inside any time a stranger approaches me in public.

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  23. I would have had the bomb squad here. Or, I would have called my neighbor whom I don't get along with, and told her she had a package here and she needed to pick it up.

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  24. Irons, I'm suspicious of people ironing clothes. You never know what someone's going to do with one of those. If someone turns to me while holding an iron I duck and cover. My brother does the same so it's a family thing.

    You are hysterical.

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  25. I thought I had it bad. Now I know different. the iron comment? whoa. Guess that perscription of sedatives is doing the trick. Now if only my neighbor would put a shirt on and stop cackling outside at strange hours.

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  26. I make my wife open up any suscpicious packages. I'm tough like that.

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  27. The poor inner city youth who come to my door to sell cleaning products that are going to help lift them by their boot straps to a better life in the world of business and marketing? Those guys think I'm a paranoid psycho. But hey, one time a guy on a bike in ripped clothes knocked and my door and offered to paint numbers on my driveway curb. I didn't see any paint supplies anywhere, so after I recovered my stress-induced blackout, I slammed the door in his face and vowed never to answer it again. So the inner city youth selling cleaning products don't have to deal with me anymore - lucky them.

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  28. At last! Someone to whom I can confide that the neighbor's dog is really a covert CIA agent in disguise whose mission seems to be using every opportunity to try to get into my backyard where he can take secret pictures (cleverly using that fake flea collar to hide his camera) of my dryer vent where it is assumed I'm hiding terrorists.

    Excellent entry! :)

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  29. I don't think you're crazy. I wouldn't have opened it, why would they just knock and leave it there? That alone would have sent me into a paranoid coma...
    But then again, as someone said I've only become this paranoid since my son was born...

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  30. That radar can be a powerful tool, I say don't ignore it as long as it doesn't interfere with, ummmmm, normal functioning!!!

    Okay, lame comment. Have a great weekend!:)


    Carrie

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  31. Oh, I'm the same way. A poorly labeled package would've had "bomb" written all over it to me, too.

    When I sell things on Craigslist and someone is going to come to my place to look at the item, I'm always thinking, "Should I have the large kitchen knife readily available just in case my visitor is not Cindy but Steve the Mass Murderer?"

    And why is it that the non-blogger in the family always has to say something like "I'd never tell anyone if I did that." Don't you hate that? I hate that. I LIKE TO SHARE, OKAY? Well, not me personally these days - I am done with the sharing - but you know what I mean.

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  32. I always hate when a guy has to come to the house when I'm home alone with my daughter. I always make sure I'm on the phone with my husband. Not sure what that's gonna do........but it makes me feel better.

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  33. dooong-dooga-dondondon...we're caught in a trap...i can't walk out...

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  34. Tee hee hee.

    I see a package and I pounce on it!

    ...erm...that didn't come out quite right.

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  35. i think everyone is out to get me as well. i'm not sure if this is a sickness or not, but i choose to think, i'm a very cautious person.

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  36. Love it. I am so the same way. I would probably have opened it by probing it with a long stick while wearing safety goggles and a hazmat suit.

    While I admit I have always been somewhat twitchy, I think becoming a mother made me all the more twitchier. Maybe it's all biologic-becoming more cautious to protect our young. Don't fight evolution!

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  37. I'm all about paranoia, so I applaud your suspicious approach to all the "what ifs." What if...you were right? Doing doing (think: sound they make on that cop show).

    It's the complacent, trusting ones who invite the serial killers in for tea, you know. (Excuse me while I go draw my curtains.)

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  38. I've got some turnips from my garden. I'd like to send them to you; what's your home address?

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  39. I am awaiting my replacement battery from Apple and now, thanks to you, I don't have to make a nusiance of myself with our local police force by insisting they come over and confiscate my letter bomb.

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  40. I think that having kids rewires your brain...Being careful is good.

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  41. I have the opposite problem - I'm too trusting. I think it's better to be too suspicious than too trusting. Cuz you just never know about people!

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  42. i just found your blog!
    you are funny + popular!
    i was wondering about that amy sedaris book. sounds funny!

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  43. hahaha!! you think like me! i call the police if someone knocks on my door after dark. they think I"M the one smokin something!

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  44. i'm afraid of everything and it started after i had kids. loving children equals constant state of fear and anxiety. it's all fun and games.

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  45. (Still singing 'Suspicious Minds' thanks to Tracie B.)

    I'm more on the 'childishly naive' side of the suspicion spectrum. Even after being mugged once. I guess I figured I'd met my victim quota and I'm good for the rest of my life.

    Let you know how that turns out...

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  46. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean people aren't out to get you....

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  47. LOL I'd have probably been dumb enough to open it up in my house away from all the nosy neighbors and their cameras.

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  48. I have found that having children exacerbates many of our issues. If you're only slightly a control freak before children, afterwards, you're a total control freak. I think there is something about the birth of a child (or Okapis) that can be a major trigger of issues for many, many people.

    At least that's my excuse. ;-)

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  49. Reading through the comments from your readers has made me feel so much better! I, too, am suspicious of everyone and everything. This newish-found quirck in my personality can, in fact, be traced back to coincide with the birth of my son.

    Great. Along with hemmoroids and those strange red blood-warts all over my body I now discover another parting gift of pregnancy. Just great.

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  50. I heard that the new trend in package bombers was to package it was a battery for an electrical device that has a 48 hour activated delay switch.....

    don't turn on that Power book:)

    Chris
    My Blog

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  51. You are too funny. I would have done the opposite. I would have been so excited to get a package, I'd be without arms and a face right now!

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