I went to my mom’s house tonight for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. We ate dinner and then my son called. He had been reffing in New Jersey and was with his dad. It was already 8:00. They were an hour away.
“Please don’t invite his dad to come over,” I asked my mother. “It’s late. Let’s see Jesse another night.”
She didn’t listen. She begged them to come like she always does. So they were on their way.
I decided to go home. I told my son that I loved him but that I wasn’t going to stay.
Feeling bad, I called him when I got in my car. I said it was too difficult in that house for me. The caregiver and my mother were always at odds and I couldn’t take it. I burst into a good heaving cry. I could barely see the road through my tears, but it felt good to let my sadness and frustration come out.
I said goodbye when I got home. I got out of my car and started walking to my cottage. Almost at the path that leads to my door, I heard someone behind me. A guy was walking down the path towards me. He was mumbling incoherently, sort of at me. There was no one else around. I got a really creepy feeling but I had already turned towards my house.
“Shit, he’ll know where I live,” I thought. I hurried down the path. “What could I do?”
“Honey, let me in,” I said to the empty house. I knocked on the door, pretending I was being let in. I wanted him to think there was someone here with me. I closed the door and and looked back out through the blinds. He was still standing at the end of my path. The hair on my arms was standing up.
I called my son and told him what happened.
“Call the police,” he said. Normally I would feel funny, but this time I did it. While I was telling the operator what happened, the call dropped.
Surprisingly, my house phone rang a minute later. It was the woman from 911. She asked me a bunch of questions.
“Should I go outside and see if he’s there?” I asked.
“No. Absolutely not. Stay inside. We will send an officer out.”
I felt strange, so I called my son and kept him on the phone until someone knocked. I peered out the blinds making sure it was the policeman.
He asked me what happened and I told the story again. His beeper rang.
“It’s another complaint,” he said. “We think it’s your guy. He’s down by the sea wall harassing people in cars. Your instincts were right.”
Normally I don’t trust my instincts. I think I’m just paranoid, overly fearful or worrying needlessly.
But I just finished “Talking to Strangers” by Malcolm Gladwell. He talks about how we err on the side of thinking people are good, and don’t trust our instincts. That we are “not accurate ” at judging people. We trust the psychopaths because they are smooth talkers, and the innocent nervous people we think are guilty. It was very interesting.
I also heard a segment on Oprah that said that most people want to be “good and nice” instead of trusting themselves when their gut says danger. They are afraid to get the bad guys mad and get into trouble because of it.
Tonight I listened to myself. I’m proud, albeit a little shaken.
It’s been an emotional night. After seeing my mom, it’s sometimes difficult to see that she’s not the same as she was. And to know it’s not going to get better. It makes me miss my Dad. I feel like if he was still here, it wouldn’t be so hard.
I remember standing next to my dad at temple all those years. We would recite Yizkor, the prayer for the deceased. I felt bad that he had to say the prayer because his parents were dead. I knew intellectually that one day I would be the one saying the prayer, but I didn’t REALLY think that day would ever come. I expected my dad to be next to me at temple forever. It was OUR night. As he got older, I loved holding his hand when he needed help walking into the temple. It made me feel really close to him.
I know that death is part of life, but on the holidays, I miss him the most, especially reciting that prayer.
Hey Dad, it’s been a really strange year. This year we said the prayer to our computer.
But the policeman said I did good tonight. Are you proud of me?
I love you.