To say I am easily spooked, would be like saying Itzhak Perlman plays little violin ditties well: the understatement of the century. I never progressed beyond age five in the bravery department. My one and only horror movie, The Exorcist, was attended just because I was dating Steve—a crowd was going to the midnight show and I didn't want to wimp out. Luckily, in the darkness, no one could tell my eyes were shut and my ears plugged.
The kids’ teens gave me ample opportunities to be fearful. Sher, at 18, moved downtown to an apartment, solo (Curtis did not have dorms). I tried not to think of the peril he undoubtedly put himself in, but thought of little else. One night, late, he called to "chat." I enjoyed our phone visit at first. When conversational topics ran out, and we were looping back to The Weather, Take Two, and still he talked...something was capital W Wrong! Finally, he said, "I just turned my key in the lock, Mom, I'm home. There were two weird guys walking behind me all the way from the train station, and I felt safer talking to you." "Oh, honey…" I began, horrified. "OK bye," he hung up, next stop Dreamland. I, of course, was awake all night.
|Rose and some of the sinister people of Thailand|
You'd think after that, I might lighten up a tad when she decided on college in Boston. Not a chance. Just before her departure, I sought out mace or something similar. I was surprised to find that the likeliest local spot to purchase was a nearby gun shop. I crept in, looking quite the opposite of a seasoned firearms buff, and asked the clerk if they carried pepper spray. His immediate response? "Where is your daughter going to college?" Wow, how did he know?
Needless to say, I don't think Rosie carried the pepper spray once. She has never agreed with my vision of the world as a Dark and Frightening Place--and neither have the other kids.
How much of life is perception? Why is my perception often skewed in a negative direction?
When will I stop being so scared?