Trust your gut…

8/15/2017

I do not usually put the date at the top of my post but this is the day it happened.

It was about 7pm, still day light on a hot summer day. I was working at the shop when two young men walked in.  One was wearing a white dego T-shirt with black Adidas pants that laid right below his buttocks so his dark blue boxers showed completely. The other guy was wearing jeans that hung low but not as low. He had a colorful jean jacket on with a large afro that had an indent on the left side.

The white dego tee guy walked up to the counter saying something. I looked directly at his eyes and said “I do not understand what you are saying?” I always give eye contact to people I feel might be trying to intimidate me. Even if I am scared it makes the other person think twice about my strength. He replied, “I was singing a song”.  I said, “Oh, good”. And I continued working.

The other guy lingered around him looking around, not talking at all. He had a toothpick in his mouth. Dego T guy asked if I give samples of the froyo. I said, “Sure”. And handed him one sample cup. Usually I give people 2 cups but I didn’t feel like these folks were here to buy anything.

They both walked to the back by the machines. Just past the machines is a short wall with a bathroom to the right and a water fountain outside the bathroom. Directly ahead is a door with a sign that says “Employees only”.

Recently in the neighborhood news there was an article about men in groups of 2 or 3 coming into businesses, asking to use the bathroom and sneaking into the employee’s area to steal purses, money or merchandise. Because I was uncomfortable with these boys I watched them closely from the counter.

There was a woman with her two kids sitting at a table near the machines, a woman and her child at the counter and a single woman sitting by the front door. As the woman and her daughter came up to the counter to pay the man with the toothpick went into the bathroom while the dego T guy sampled some froyo. He was taking heaping piles of froyo and reusing the sample cup. I noticed later that he would just let the froyo pump out without even catching it leaving a mess of froyo in the drain trays.

As I was about to ring up the woman and her child I noticed my back door opening. I ran over there and yelled at the man to get out. “You know exactly where you are going, get out of my store right now!”. The man turned around and began walking towards the front door, slowly. The dego tee guy stood there taking more froyo. I turned to him and said, “You get out, too. You two are together. Get out!”. He stood there finishing his generous sample of froyo and told me to wait. I said again, “Get out now”. I was standing maybe 15 inches away from him blocking the machine. I stared right at his eyes while his profile was facing me. He slowly turned to look at me and stared right at my eyes.

I told myself at that moment, “Don’t look away, don’t look away!” In that moment I thought he could sucker punch me right now and lay me flat. I thought of my son John and how sad he would be to see me hurt. I thought of the girls that work for me and thanked God they were not here and I am. I thought about how it was my brother birthday tomorrow and I just want to talk to him. I prayed he didn’t have a weapon. He finally looked away, tossed the used sample cup away and walked towards the door. I walked tightly behind him as he looked back at me twice. I stared at the back of his head as he walked out. I wonder what he was thinking when he looked back at me.

When they left all the tension in my body released. I started to shake. The woman at the counter said “Wow, I don’t know if I could have done that. Good for you”. I rang her up while my hands were shaking, handed her change and said Thank you.

I walked outside to get some air. There was a family sitting outside. They come every week with the kids and order pizzas, froyo and drinks. He asked me if I was all right. I gave the dad a short story on what happened and he encouraged me to call the police. Why didn’t I think of that?  Call the police!

The first set of police arrived fairly quickly. After explaining what happened the police officer asked if I want to file a report. I was confused, still a little shaky and said “I don’t know”.

The officer said, “If you file a report you will need to go to court, are you prepared for that? Also, do you want your business to be known as a place where the police are called? Media and community meetings get a hold of this and news spreads.” All while nodding his head no with his lips pierced together trying to look concerned.

That thought scared me and I said No. They ended up leaving.

About 15 minutes later two different police officers came in. The officer asked what happened. I told him again. He said, “You know we found them in the alley, we think they ditched a gun or a knife but our hands are tied because you didn’t file a report. These boys are from the west side and come down here doing this all the time. They are juveniles.” The officer was angry.

I told the officers I would file a report if they came back. Before they left the officer softened up a little and said “Good job sticking up for yourself. I doubt they will be back. But, if they do make sure you call us!”.

Since this happened I have been thinking about why I make the decisions I make.

Why didn’t I file a report?

Why didn’t I tell the 2nd group of police officers how the 1st group talked me out of filing a report?

I felt manipulated by the first set of cops. I felt like a child being scolded by the 2nd set of cops. In both cases, I was people pleasing. I made a decision based on what I thought they felt was the best choice. Deep down I knew otherwise but did not change my mind. While this was happening I was scared and looking for guidance. I didn’t know what to do but I knew what was happening didn’t feel right. I remember having feelings like this as a child, and at that time I didn’t protect myself either.

Trust your gut. Pause…stop and think about what the right decision is. Sometimes in these situations we can’t stop or pause. But, I wish I had trusted my gut. The most frustrating part of this now are people telling me “You should have…”. Everyone else seems to know what I should have done.

I just have to believe that it’s God’s will that this happened this way. I keep replaying the scenario in my head and thinking of all the bad things that could have happened. I also keep thinking, what if I had filed a report? They would have brought those boys back to the shop for me to identify, I would have had to go to court. Would someone retaliate against me?

I’m glad it’s over but it’s still lingering in my mind. I can’t seem to let go of the idea of them coming back.

Strategic thinking…

Today is neuter day for Boss, the dog. Poor little guy was so confused this morning. “Why aren’t you feeding me?” He tried to eat the flowers Kevin brought me over the weekend. I had placed them in a vase on our living room corner table. A table that was actually a bedside table for the huge bed and room we had at our last house. We downsized a year ago and life has never been so free of useless crap!!

Anyway, a neuter means a trip to the vet. It’s just Johnny, Mom and Boss. I have been planning my strategy to get out of the house as smoothly as possible since last night. I changed the plan a few times. At the end I did it a completely different way. Which means all that planning, scripting and thinking was a waste of time. Well, that’s how I roll when it comes to thinking.

I put Boss outside so I could prop the front door open without him making a runner. I was just praying John didn’t let him in while I was doing it. He is a slippery one that Boss. With the door propped I can get the push chair, lunch bag and back pack out the door in one pass and into the car. Return, let boss in and get the boys out the door. I have Boss’s leash in one hand and John’s oxygen tank in the other. I use one hand to guide John into the direction of the door while Boss pulls me to the door. It’s a funny scene.

Once at the car I get John in and walk over to get Boss in. He needs to be picked up into the car since I have a high SUV and he’s still too young to jump up. He doesn’t like getting into the car. Probably because the only time he gets in the car is to go to the vet. This trip will definitely be the final straw for him.

On the way into the vet office the strategy is the same but reversed. Johnny and I agreed he was working for 10 water balloons if he behaves in the office. When we arrive to the front door I opened it too soon and caught Boss’s paw. He made a loud dog crying sound at which time John chanted the F word at least 20 times. John does this anytime a dog barks or cries. I waited till John was done chanting before we walked inside. Once inside John was screaming at the dog to get down in a “level 4” voice. Level 2 is normal talking voice, which I encouraged him to use but this seemed useless. I began taking water balloons away, “9 balloons, 8 balloons, 7 balloons…”  With each balloon he decreased his sound level. But, it went right back up as soon as Boss became excited or jumpy. The receptionist at first was a little shocked by the noise but realized john is Autistic. I was so impressed with their acceptance and understanding. The one receptionist immediately put us into a room, hoping it would help John relax a little. In the room he became more anxious and aggravated with Boss’s level of excitement.

Finally, the vet came in to give me the estimate and papers to sign. We were out of there.

At this point, John lost all water balloons so we headed home to wait for bowling at 11am.

On the way out the door of the Vet John said, “Scared”

I asked him “Why were you scared?”

“Dr. Lestrud”

Dr. Lestrud is John’s Pulmonary Doctor. I believe John thought he was going to the doctor for himself.

When we got into the car I sat there for a few minutes trying not to cry. I wanted to cry because the people in the office were so nice. I wanted to cry because John thought he was going to the doctor. I wanted to cry because John didn’t feel safe and I didn’t prepare him for the Vet visit. I wanted to cry because this was just so overwhelming.

I cried because this was what I seen….

John at Vet

You wouldn’t event know how hard the last 15 minutes were by looking at him. He is in the car, safe and content. He knows he is going home where he is safe and happy.

How does a parent prepare their child for the hard world when they can’t get them out into it?

Death of a Chameleon…

Death of a Chameleon 

I miss the beginning…

Closing my eyes and running forward not scared of what is ahead of me.

Being held up by my “friends”

Carefree

Loving myself

Being able to look in anyone’s eyes and feeling something

The excitement

The smell

Barcardi

A chameleon

Until one day the end came….

Open my eyes, now I’m scared

Losing all my friends

Heavy hearted

Hating myself

Scared to look, feeling ashamed and scared

The fear

The smell

Barcardi

Death of a chameleon

Is a new beginning

That wasn’t me; One of my favorite songs that really describes what it’s like to change from this chameleon to the real person I am today. That wasn’t me who made all those promises and created all that drama. This is me, today! That I can live with!