The strangest thing happened. My Spidey-senses were activated again.
Just before dinner there was a knock on my front door. A young woman stood on my doorstep with a folded up Google map in her hand and a small backpack on her back, looking for an address. I told her she had one more cross-road to go before she hit those numbers, about 10 minutes up the line.
“By car, or by bike?” she asked.
I peek my head out the door and see her 10-speed sitting in my driveway. I figure it would be more than double that by bike. When she groaned a little I asked her where she was coming from. Barrie, she said. That’s about a 30 minute drive by car, but on a main highway and as they say – as the crow flies. On a bike she would’ve needed to use county lines and smaller roads all of which are winding and hilly – which is great for a Sunday drive, but not so much for pedalling your 10-speed. My husband asks her how long she’s been on the road.
“I got on my bike at 12:45.” She groans. She is looking slightly haggard, and it’s no wonder – it was well after 5pm. This woman (who by no means looked like she normally spent much time on that bike) had been riding for more than 4 hours straight.
“I’m going to get a puppy,” She explained to us. “The guy said if I make my way there, he’ll give me a ride home, and the puppy will be my reward.”
Okay, so for those of you who might not have over-active spidey senses like me, this is the moment my brain catches on fire and explodes in my head.
The whole thing was already weird. Our house is set back more than 400 feet up a long driveway. It’s obscured entirely – you can’t even see a roof peak from the road. You have to drive through a tunnel of cedars – which looks romantic and quant for anyone coming to visit their dear friend Noelle, but can be completely creepy for someone who doesn’t know what’s on the other side. Both of my neighbours on either side have normal 50-foot driveway with a house in clear view. Either of their homes would have been the obvious choice for an inquiring traveller. But she chose my house. My set-far-back, can’t-see-it-for-anything house. So the whole thing already has my senses on alert, but now this? Getting “rewarded” with a puppy for driving all over green acres out to the middle of nowhere?
Am I alone is this so far? Does anyone else out there have the jeebies at this point?
I ask her if anyone knows she is doing this, and she assures me her CMHA worker knows about it. By fluke, my daughter, who lives 2 hours away, happens to work for CMHA so the acronym wasn’t lost on me. And this new bit of information didn’t help ease my concern in the least.
To streamline the story, she admits she’s desperate for a bathroom and since both my husband and I are home, we let her in and I offer to check the address online for her so she knows how far to go. Except there is no such address. So she gives us the Kijiji ad where she got the info and we call the number listed (which by the way doesn’t come up when we 411 it online). I call the guy listed as Fred, and let him know I have woman here looking for his address to pick up a puppy he promised her. He says he lives on the next line over.
Except that isn’t what his ad on Kijiji says.
He seems surprised by that, and starts giving me directions to his place that is the same number as listed on the ad, but an entirely different line number. I put my husband on the line. William gets on the phone with his best policeman’s voice (the same voice that sends me into frenzy when he tries using it on me during a fight, but in this type of situation works quite brilliantly). He clarifies that indeed the man has puppies, that he is driving the woman home to Barrie. (and that we know this now as well) We get the directions and the woman heads outside to journey onward, but not before I slip her my number and ask her to call me to let me know she arrived home safely.
But she’s hesitating. She’s hinting that the ride has been really long and she hopes it doesn’t take too long to get there. And the kind-heart in me wants to drive her there, get her puppy, and drive her home. But the survivor in me screams BAD CHOICE. I would never put myself in that kind of crazy-ass situation because I have a healthy fear of strangers who live out in the middle of nowhere who offer me rewards and rides home. I don’t want to venture there anymore than I want her to. So I don’t offer. I battle in my head and my heart, and I don’t offer.
My husband quietly asks me if he should drive her. The kind-heart in me wants to say yes. To send her with my big bodyguard so I know she gets home safely. But the cynic in me says this could go horribly wrong. That someone with no sense of fear, no sense of personal safety, and odd boundaries isn’t who I want my husband escorting in case somehow a kind favour turns into a mistake that changes our lives.
I don’t want to admit it, but I know that the fact that she made us privy to the fact that she in fact has a CMHA worker plays a part. I don’t want to admit it, because it means I am discriminating against her. I am judging her. And I hate it, because I don’t want to be that person.
I want to be that kind-heart that helps someone. Who doesn’t make assumptions and judgements.
But my gut is balled up in resistance-mode, and thought it may have taken me many years, I have learned to listen to my gut. I have learned that those Spidey-senses deserve a voice. And guilt can’t shake it. And good intent doesn’t trump it. And kind-heart loses out to it every time now. Even though outwardly, that makes me less of a kind-heart.
So the girl rode off. And we watched her go. And then I cried, because I felt like my hands were tied in an awful bind. And then William panicked because I rarely cry, and he’s never quite sure what to do when tears are shed.
And so, he comforts me, then drives out the address, arrives before the girl, and meets the man with the puppies. When the woman rides up she challenges his arrival.
“You were following me the whole time, weren’t you?” She says.
He assures her that he’s just arrived, and after meeting the man and seeing the puppies, his intuition tells him it’s all good and he comes home. And he tells me it’s all good. And I want to believe it, so I do, because what else can you do?
My oldest daughter, Heather, laughs at my over thinking the whole thing. She knows me well enough to know I believe some cosmic force drew that woman to my set-far-back, can’t-see-it-for-anything house. So I would know she was going, and so I would step into the circle, which I can never seem to help doing, and let him know, that in fact I know.
Which is marvellous if the puppy-giver was a sex-offending murderer who was going to kill her and feed her body to his pigs. But it’s pretty crazy if in fact it was just a kind farmer trying to give a woman a dog.
It’s actually pretty exhausting being in my brain. Unfortunately, it’s all I’ve got.
Do you have Spidey-senses? May 17, 2011
The strangest thing happened. My Spidey-senses were activated again.