Yes, I fell out of *that* tree, and yes, I DID hit every branch on the way down

19 07 2007

Today I did something I have not only never done in my entire life, but thought for sure, without a doubt, there was no way I ever would do it. My mother is going to Kill Me when she reads this: I picked up a hitchhiker.

In my defense, the incident happened 11 feet from the guard shack, which you have to go through to get to our neighborhood, since we live on a military post, with two guards present and in plain sight. Also in my defense, the man I picked up was in uniform. He asked me before getting in if I was going “that way” toward Rt. 1, and I said yes, so he asked if he could get a ride, just to the gate at the end of the road (which is a total of maybe 45 seconds of driving away from where we were). Without even thinking about it, I said sure. That gate? It’s like, 45 seconds away! You are a military man in uniform! You could just as easily be my husband! If I can help you out, then sure! Why not?

It never occurred to me to be at all suspicious or cautious or deny the guy a ride, I admit, because of the simple fact that he was in uniform. He explained to me where his company was located, and that the walk from the gate at our neighborhood to the one at the end of the road would take him 7 to 10 minutes. I thought, “In the muggy 90 degree heat, in his full uniform, and he wouldn’t even be at the hill yet (which I’ve walked before, and it is Steep and Awful)!” He thanked me about 44 times during our 45 second ride, and I assured him it was no problem, I was glad to help him out.

But. Ohhh, but. I’ve now had 12 hours to think about what I did, what I could have let happen. I allowed a complete stranger to get into my car with me and my helpless 2-year-old. WHAT WAS I THINKING? So what if he was in uniform?? He could have picked up that “uniform” at an Army Surplus store or something, it could have been a total fake, and how would I have known? I’m not the most observant person; even now, if asked to describe this man, all I would be able to tell you about him was that he wore glasses. (I think.) And that darn “uniform.” I don’t even know if it was an Army uniform- it could have been Marines for all I know. Based on that brilliant information, the police would have been searching for 99.999% OF ALL LIVING MALES IN THE AREA.

And it bothers me that while this was happening, never once was there a little voice in my head going “Hey, MORON, do you realize what you’re doing? Are you ON DRUGS? You might want to consider what you’re about to do, and NOT DO IT, idiot.” There was nothing telling me that I might be making a big fat mistake here. No negative vibes, no gut feeling. I just went merrily on my way, praising myself for having helped a guy out.

AND I did this with my 2-year-old in the car, did I mention that? The more I think about it, the more mad at myself I get. If it had been a woman instead of a man, uniform or not, I probably still would have picked her up (had I still been in the same place in our neighborhood, right next to the gate guards, that is; I wouldn’t have picked up someone somewhere random, like in the shady area down by 7100 and Burger King, for example). And if she’d been pregnant? Yep. Would have let her in the car.

But what if the pregnant belly I saw turned out to be just a pillow? You hear stories on the news all the time of crazy, desperate women who go after pregnant women so they can take their babies… And that’s exactly how it happens. Through the dumb, naive kindness of someone like me.

I swear, a person has to actually look suspicious in order for me to be suspicious of them. The crazy, desperate-for-a-baby woman isn’t going to appear crazy and desperate for a baby; she isn’t necessarily going to be rumpled and maniacal looking, pushing her cat (who is probably trying to scratch its way out of a little dress and bonnet) around in a stroller. The psychotic sickos out there don’t always remember to wear their signs that say “Hey, Caley, I know how dumb you are, so don’t forget: I’m psychotic, and a sicko. Watch out for me.”

I am very angry with myself tonight. The last couple weeks I’ve been making some pretty stupid, careless mistakes. And I know that 97% of them can be blamed on the pregnancy; I got the same way around this time with my last pregnancy (though I have to say, my dumbest mistakes involved locking myself out of the car and needing Jeff to leave work and rescue my stranded butt, NOT putting my life and the lives of my children in danger). My brain really does seem to be turning to mush. I’m starting to think that I should make one last trip out into the world (with a chaperone, of course; clearly my judgment skills cannot be trusted) to purchase supplies (chips, candy bars, shampoo, yarn and the seventh Harry Potter book ought to do it) for the next 6 or 7 months, and just not leave the house again until the baby is a few months old.


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8 responses

19 07 2007
Hallie

Scary. You are very trusting. I am a wimp. I am suspicious of everyone I don’t know except in a public place. Did he have his thumb out? How did you meet this character?

19 07 2007
Caley

Not “trusting,” Hallie- I think the word you were looking for here was “retarded.”

He didn’t have his thumb out; he looked as though he were trying to cross the street to where the guards were standing, so I slowed down even more (since the speed limit through the gate area is only 15) and waved at him to go ahead and cross. He waved back, telling me, I THOUGHT, “no no, you go ahead.” So I waved back, about to go, when I realized that he was STILL WAVING to me.

In fact, he was trying to get my attention, and since I was only going about 7 miles an hour, it wasn’t difficult, and would have been wierd if I hadn’t stopped.

Don’t call yourself a wimp! You SHOULD be suspicious of everyone you know- better safe than sorry, as my mom says- especially when there are children involved.

20 07 2007
Kim

Caley! Haven’t you learned by now that NOBODY around here should be trusted? What was Jeff’s reaction? You should give that mushy brain a break this weekend!

20 07 2007
Matthew C.

Well you are pregnant. Your brain is not working @ 100% capacity.
That thing you’re incubating is sapping your body of nutrients, minerals, blood sleep, and, sometimes it appears, common sense, accountability and reason. 🙂

20 07 2007
ethans oma

Honey, don’t beat yourself up over this any more than you already have. It won’t serve any purpose. Thank God that nothing happened and then just promise yourself to be more vigilant in the future. I’m proud of the fact that my daughter is such a good, caring person and a wonderful mommy. I know that you will think twice before doing something like that again. I love you ! 🙂

21 07 2007
Kim

Caley, we love you too!

21 07 2007
Caley

Kim: I guess I was lulled into a false (though not entirely false, since nothing bad actually came of the incident) sense of security, given that I was on a military post. Still, that’s not an excuse.

Jeff’s reaction was one of shock; he couldn’t believe I’d done that. It was totally out of character for me.

Matt: I’m going to have to disagree on the lack of accountability; I feel as though I am holding myself accountable for my mistake. I posted about what I did so that I could own up to it and admit what a horrible lapse of judgment it was. I recognize that it was one of the stupidest things I’ve done (which is really saying something, considering just how many of them there are), and am glad that it turned out well so that I can use it as a learning experience to ensure that I never, ever do something like that again.

All the other things you mentioned about pregnancy doing to me were spot on, though. 😉

Ethan’s Oma: Thank you for those nice words!

16 03 2009
Not Me! Monday « Sublime Bedlam

[…] “con” status. But it was still scary. (The whole situation was very reminiscent of the hitch hiker I did not pick up a year and a half […]

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