Wary

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It’s Sunday evening, maybe around 7:00 or 7:30 pm, and the light is just beginning to take on that evening glow. I’m sitting at my table, trying to get organized for the coming week, when a car slowly drives up the driveway. We live outside of our small town, at the top of a hill up a fairly long driveway, and I’m not expecting anyone. Kurt just left to go to a meeting a few minutes ago. Who is this? 

I’m sorry to say, but I go straight to suspicious. Last week on our town’s Facebook page, someone reported a break in, right down the road.  There’s been a lot of community chatter about people stopping by, unsolicited, strange cars circling areas, etc.

Who’s in this car? Is it a coincidence that they are pulling up now, right after Kurt left? Are they scoping out the house?  Or are they going to try to sell me something? Try to convert me? Why are they here?

I open the door hesitantly, well aware that I’m the only one home. I walk outside and eye a man and woman who are getting out of their SUV. The woman approaches first with a big smile. “Hi!” she calls, cheerfully. The man hangs back, smiling but silent.

I have no idea who they are. 

“Hi,” I say. I wait but she just continues to smile at me and walks closer. “Can I help you?” I finally ask.

“Well, I noticed you have those beautiful blue flowers going up your hill. I wonder if you’d mind if I took some,” she asks.

“Oh,” I pause for a second, recalibrating. “Sure, that’s fine,” I say, but then the ugly, doubtful part of me jumps in again. In my mind, I see my beautiful blue hillside ransacked and hear her saying, “Well, you said I could take some.” Maybe I should clarify.

“Um, how much did you want to take?”

“Oh, just a small clump to put by my bunny’s cage,” she says. This woman is clearly not a threat.

“Ok. You’re welcome to take some,” I say.

“Thanks so much,” she says. She and the man turn to walk back to the car.

“By the way, they’re called Siberian Squill, or Scilla,” I call after them.

“Thanks,” she says again, turning back toward me. “I’d noticed them a couple of times and thought maybe you wouldn’t mind if I just took a small bunch from down near the road. They’re so beautiful.”

“They really are, aren’t they?” I say. “Help yourself.”

They get back in their car, wave and then turn around, clearly taking care to avoid driving on the grass. They disappear down the driveway.

I’ve been thinking about this encounter a lot, feeling unsettled by it. Even once they had shared their purpose, I had been cool and reserved. I kick myself now for being wary, instead of warm and welcoming. What has happened to me? I didn’t introduce myself to them or ask if they were neighbors.  I didn’t mention how often I’ve wondered who planted the scilla bulbs and when. I didn’t mention how we noticed their sweet scent perfuming the air just yesterday. I missed an opportunity to connect. I realize now that I’d chosen my stance and then I had a hard time shifting it.

But when did wary become my “go to” stance? When did I begin to doubt people and question their intentions? When did I become so suspicious? Is it just me or is it our world? Either way this isn’t the way I want to be in the world. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that, but you can be sure I’m still thinking about it. DSCN3433.jpg

14 thoughts on “Wary

  1. jcareyreads says:

    This rings true for me many times. I never really thought about it but your writing has me pondering the same questions as you pose here. Maybe it’s the oversharing that comes with social media-maybe we hear too often about the not so great things happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mukhamani says:

    I think this is happening everywhere. It is sad but true. The flowers are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ureadiread says:

    Those flowers are lovely blanketing the hillside. Maybe it will take all the beauty in the world to soften us again to each other. You were wary, yes, but perhaps you’ll notice that small clump of blue in a neighbor’s yard and leave a friendly note. Change can start as small as a blue flower.

    Like

  4. margaretsmn says:

    I think this is not a sign of the times. Humans are designed to be wary. I think of my dog. In most instances, he is friendly, but when he is unsure or unprotected, he is wary. You were feeling vulnerable. It’s only natural.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. dmsherriff says:

    First off, what a well written slice! You wove description and conversation and inner thought together seamlessly. I was on the edge of my seat – feeling wary, too! I think your feeling of unease is natural. Of course, in hindsight, you could have asked more questions and gotten to know them, but you were kind in sharing your flowers and your knowledge. I have a feeling your paths will cross again. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your description of the encounter brings me right there with you. I, too, have become more wary over time. This week the NY Times posted an article about how humans learn to trust. The issue is not so much learning to trust but learning not to automatically “distrust.” Modern times…

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Diane, that sounds like an interesting article! I really didn’t like that my go-to response was “distrust.” I’m going to work on not automatically going there.

      Like

  7. It’s a precarious bridge to be on…do you trust or do you automatically be wary? I totally understand and feel like I walk this fine line every day. I generally tend to be a trusting person, but I’ve been taken advantage of and it’s not a great feeling. It’s not easy and yes, I do feel that technology/social media has a bit to do with it. I wish I had an easy answer on what to do in this difficult situation, but I don’t. And, like you, I will be pondering over this question for awhile as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. I like to think of myself as a warm person, and out and about in the community, I constantly strike up casual conversations with strangers. I suppose the difference was in being at home and feeling uneasy. It just bothers me that I couldn’t easily shift out of that. Still thinking here…

      Like

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