Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Have Never Been So Scared In My Life

I'm still shaking and can't stop crying yet. It's been about 20 minutes since the police left.

I was sitting here reading Eckhart Tolle when the front storm door opened. Huh, I thought. It's a little early for the mail. UPS usually comes later too. I'm not expecting anyone. Just the storm door opened, then nothing. for about 30 seconds or more.

Then the door handle starts jiggling. and keeps jiggling. for way too long. ok, now I'm starting to get scared. Hmmm. . . keep a calm head, don't panic, I say to myself. Deep breathing. . . door handle still jiggling.

Alright, what is going on??? What should I do? The phone, grab the phone. I'm sitting in the office, and the office is right next to the basement door. Down the stairs. Heart pounding. Breathing heavily. Dialing 911 as I quietly go downstairs to the basement. Oh, light. not good. Unplug grow light sustaining my tropicals over the winter so I have darkness on my side while talking to the lady at 911 dispatch. Hide behind storage boxes.

Door handle still jiggling. Ok, now I am starting to panic. I mean I am scared. Funny the things a person thinks of in a moment like this. Still talking to 911 dispatcher who assures me officers are on their way. I'm thinking to myself how grateful I am that I've never had this experience before. How lucky I am that I've gotten to be 50 years old and this is the most terrifying moment of my life. I'm thinking I've lived a very sheltered life and will I be able to handle it if something bad is really about to go down? I'm getting pissed. I'm thinking if this is really something bad happening, they better be careful messing with me because I plan to do everything I can to make sure I'm gonna be around a few months from now when my oldest daughter gives birth to her first child.

I come out from behind the boxes and grab a hammer and a screwdriver out of the antique desk that's been in our basement since I moved the last of my stuff from my beloved Georgian after marrying my husband. Sh*t!!! What was that bang??? Did they get in the house????

The dispatcher is telling me to calm down. Yeah, right. YOU hide behind boxes in YOUR basement with a screwdriver and a hammer in your hand while it sounds like someone's been trying to break into your house for the past 3 minutes at least, and let's see you stay calm. Anyway, it's not like I'm totally freaking out. I'm not crying (yet.) I'm talking softly, I'm still thinking clearly. So what if my voice is shaky, very very shaky in fact. SOR-RY, but this is the best I can do right now.

You, lady, who knows better than me that situations like this one don't always end well - I'd like to see how calm you stay if you were in my shoes right now. I know, they probably always say that, "Calm Down Ma'am." I'm sure the reminder to stay calm probably did help me stay focused, but it irritated me anyway. But not as much as it would have irritated me if something really bad had happened. So I am grateful. I'm grateful I had her to talk to me and hold my hand over the phone, even if she did irritate me a little.

Hmmm. . . the rattling stopped. And I hear the sound of the storm door closing. I hope that doesn't mean whoever is messing with my front door has gotten into my house.

"The noise stopped! I'm scared! What if they're in my house?"

"Calm down hun." (There she is with that 'calm down' again!) "The officers are there. They're outside now, and they're walking around your house. If they come into the house I'll let you know first."

I feel a little safer now. Help is here. I'm able to take some deep breaths again, and it helps. I'm still shaking like I've never shaken before, and here it comes. The tears. Great. Now I'm crying.

"Ok hun, the officers are coming to the door. Go ahead upstairs and open the front door."

Up the stairs I go. My whole body is shaking. My legs feel like rubber as I climb the stairs and go to the front door, which is still closed and locked. As I open the door for the officers, you won't believe what I found:

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Well, I'm already crying, so problem solved. Ok, now I am P*SSED! I let the officers in. We're all glad that it was nothing more serious than it was, and they reassure me I did the right thing by calling. Just as a matter of routine, they go through every room to make sure everything's cool. They leave. I've never been so happy to see police in my life. Thankfully this little nightmare is over and it was a false alarm.

And I am still P*SSED! I hope I don't offend anyone here. I have nothing personal against Jehovah's Witnesses. They have a right to practice their beliefs. And they've come to my door many, many times before. But they always ring the bell or knock. This time they didn't. And I never remember them messing with the front doors for the excessive amount of time they did this time. Normally, they stick their stuff in wherever they can get it to stay in the door handle or between a storm door and the door frame, and they go on to the next house.

I don't know WHAT the heck they were doing screwing around at my front door for that long. I'm sure they meant no harm. I'm glad I live in a country where people are free to practice their religious beliefs. But one thing I can tell you for sure. When someone does something as stupid as what they did at my door this morning, loitering for far too long and screwing around with my front door and almost literally scaring the sh*t out of me, I'm not going to be quiet and suck it up.

So at the risk of offending someone, I'm putting this out there for the internets. Please Jehovah's witnesses, next time you're out going door to door, probably busily and obliviously sharing pleasantries with your door-to-door companion, remember me. Because I'm sure these people at my door this morning meant no harm. I'm sure they didn't intend to terrorize me. But for a brief 5 minutes this morning, probably because they were absorbed less in what they were doing than they were in themselves or their conversation or whatever, Jehovah's Witnesses, you scared the hell out of me. And knowing a little bit about your beliefs, I'm sure that was not your intention, especially since you don't even believe in hell.

So please, be more considerate and aware of what you're doing next time. Because there might be someone behind that door, like me, and if you loiter too long, you might be scaring them. And I'm sure that is not what you mean to do.

Still, you should know, it will make a difference in how I respond to the next Jehovah's Witness who comes to my door.

And whether it makes any difference or not, the Kingdom Hall in our area will be getting a friendly phone call from me today. I hope this never happens to you. Or if it ever does, I really hope it's the worst thing that has ever happened to you. I feel so lucky. A few weeks ago some women shopping at Lane Bryant one morning were not so lucky as me.

14 comments:

  1. OH MY GOD. I was reading the entire entry with my mouth hanging open. I was so worried about you! I came to tell you I love your pic - you're so pretty, and then there I am - in bloghell - reading about something so terrifying. OH I am so sorry. That is inexcusable. I don't care who it is. If it were the Girl Scouts selling cookies even, I'd be placing a phone call. Are you recovering? And yes, the Lane Bryant thing was horrible. You know? this is just a bad day..lots happening, and now this with you?
    Please rest and take care of yourself. Any Valium handy, please administer at once. LOL. I'll be back to see how you are. sheesh.

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  2. Unbelievable. Why would they stand there that long messing with the door handle? Why wouldn't they just ring the bell, wait, and then leave their pamphlets under the door mat? Or just leave? I am glad you are fine and agree you did the right thing by calling the police.

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  3. Oh, thank you Hinsley! I've gone back and forth about posting a picture. And thank you Carol!

    I'm doing alright now, still actually pretty shaken up. I'm kind of surprised I'm still feeling so upset. I still keep getting teary. I was so scared. Well, I guess that's redundant, huh? I think it's pretty obvious by the post I was terrified.

    I wish I did have some valium, to be honest! There's not even a bottle of wine here.

    Wait, I just checked the fridge, and there's beer. I seriously could use a beer or two, maybe that would help me calm down. I'm feeling perfectly safe, don't really understand why I still feel so awful so much later. But yeah, rest and beer sounds like a good idea. Maybe I'll snuggle up with a blankie and a beer on the sofa! And if that doesn't do the trick, I'll try another beer. At least maybe I'd get a nap in!

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  4. p.s. as i said i would, i called the kingdom hall earlier, and talked to a very nice man who was very compassionate and very concerned. apparently i got the wrong kingdom hall, but he promised me he would convey exactly what I told him about what happened to me today, and that it would be a subject for their ministry school meeting which they have every week. he also said he would convey my messsage to the people in charge of the correct kingdom hall and urge them to make my experience the subject of their ministry school as well. he was very concerned. i would have emailed their headquarters in new york to tell THEM what happened too, and I may still contact them. the only reason they didn't get an email from me today is because they have only a form where you can enter contact info, no way I found to send them an email or message.

    I really don't understand why they stood there messing with my door like that. The only thing I can think of is they were distracted by talking, or just somehow lost in their own little world and not paying attention to what they were doing. I don't get it either. It was a very strange experience. Maybe they were talking and fiddling with trying to get the pamphlets in the loop of the door handle where I found them, or maybe there were kids and they thought our door handle was cool, I really wish I had an explanation for their really thoughtless behavior. The message I wanted to get across to the man I spoke with is that something like that should NEVER happen. The people who go door-to-door should be way better trained and know way better than to do something so stupid, no matter what their reason or non-reason was! (Can you tell I'm still riled up?)

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  5. I'm still not sure it was a JW. Weirdos have all kinds of ways of getting you off guard. I think you need to stay on guard. I came here to thank you for a few folks you sent my way. Blotanical is having some changes going on. I can't see who has added me and who fav'd me--but the new changes will be good. I'm adding you to my site. I would porbably be eating my favorite chocolate right now if I was as stressed as you.

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  6. That was difficult to read - I was so relieved to know that you were okay. Good thing that you kept your wits about you and phoned 911. I think you've done a good thing letting people know they have to be more careful about approaching peoples' houses.

    I agree - your profile pic is great!

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  7. Holy jumpin dyin twist! At first I thought you had an earthquake or a tornado happening...and while the relief washed over me when I found out it was 'only' the Witnesses (or as we call them, the witlesses)...I was also furious on your behalf.
    Now, what you need to do is get a bathrobe with moons and stars on it, and rubber boots, and an iguana. Put them all on the next time you get such visitors (the iguana goes on your head). Guaranteed they will never, EVER come back. I did this about nine years ago just after we moved in here--put Moonshine, my son's green iguana on my head (her favourite perch) and went to the door in bathrobe and rubber boots. Iguanas have this perfect way of looking contemptuously at anything they think is unimportant, and that's a bit unnerving to proselytising religious types, I guess.
    I'm making light, but that was a frightening reality check. I'm just very grateful you're okay!

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  8. Anna, I know what you mean. I do think it was JWs, but I couldn't agree with you more about being on guard. After hearing what happened last night, my husband is already making plans to beef up security here.

    Kate, I know what you mean about it being difficult to read, it's hard for me to go back and read, and I lived it! Sorry for the heart-pounding post! I'm looking forward to getting back to talking about flowers and spring!

    Aw, thanks for the compliment!

    Jodi, thanks for your empathy, I really didn't mean to make people 'feel my pain!' I guess the intensity of the situation came through a little bit, huh? Sorry! I love your idea to make them go away and never come back! I can just see them walking away, mumbling and writing things down in their little black book as they walk away from my door for the last time! Ha!

    Actually, the officers suggested a 'no solicitors' sign. I never felt the need for one before, but as of yesterday I've officially changed my mind!

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  9. I'm so sorry that happened to you .I wonder what happened also. If I was in that same situation I would have been scared too. I'm not sure that I would have been as calm as you were. I'm glad you are okay though. If only there was a way to know for certain what happened. It's rather odd for someone to be jiggling the door knob for a long amount of time.

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  10. Aw, thank you Vanillalotus. I'd really like to know exactly what was going on too! At this point I'm just so grateful nothing really bad happened - just a bad scare, and thankfully it's over with no real harm done (if you don't count the extra ten gray hairs I probably got!)

    I visited your blog yesterday and again this morning, and enjoyed it. It's really cool to see someone so young already so interested in gardening. You're living proof that a person can garden just about anywhere - even an apartment balcony can become your own little piece of gardening paradise! I look forward to seeing where your gardening passion takes you!

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  11. Geeez! I had my jaw dropped while imagining that door handle move. And then, OMG. I'm still sort of pissed off with finding out the outcome. I just had a vision of myself beating the hell out of whoever it was with those watchtower leaflets. But on the other hand I'm glad you're ok and it was a JW, and hopefully that'll be your last and worst intruder experience. We had people break into our estate a few times, but they didn't get any further than dogs. The difference is that our police is nowhere near the reliable help that it's supposed to be and it's usually always pizza that gets delivered to my home before the police.I agree with Anna though, you never know what sort of a cunning disguise those crazy individuals can have, and this would be nothing ingenious. Hearing about all the weird trespassing cases from around the globe, you hardly ever expect it to pop out at your front door one day. Is it me or does the word 'watchtower' have a point here? That's why I always have at least one dog out in the garden, on the watch-out. Bottom line, I was trying to comment on your beautiful blog and garden while reading all about your green thumb passion between the lines, when I was rudely interrupted by jiggling of your door handle. I was mesmerized by that awesome photo of untouched wilderness. Anyway, looking forward to see just how beautiful your garden will get when the spring takes over.

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  12. Viooletj, thank you for visiting! I am so grateful this experience was a false alarm. I had never before thought about what I would do if I was ever in this kind of scary situation. Now I'm taking the time to think about what I would do if something like this ever happens again.

    I'm glad you like my blog. The next time I visit my mom and her husband, I'll take more pictures of their beautiful wilderness to share here. It is so beautiful there.

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  13. I just read this story. Geez. Your reaction was totally normal! I probably would have peed my pants.

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  14. That was a very scary experience. I'm really glad my big black dog is back home with his ferocious bark! He's very protective, and I've felt a lot more comfortable with him here.

    I used to think after George I probably wouldn't get another dog, only because the kids are grown now, and it would be nice to come and go as we please without being concerned about getting back home to take care of a pet.

    I'm not so sure about that anymore. Besides how much I love him, I hadn't realized how much more secure I feel with a big dog around until this incident. I think with him barking on the other side of the door, this situation probably wouldn't have happened - they probably would have left instead of hanging around jiggling the door, oblivious that they were scaring me half to death!

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