Saturday, June 16, 2012
That One Time When I Stood Up To Two (probable) Attackers To Defend My Baby
Yesterday Michelle, Luke and I were at my parent's house alone. Someone knocked. Michelle looked out the peep-hole.
Me: "Who is it?"
Her: "I dunno. A big, Mexican guy. I don't know him."
Me:"Don't answer it."
Already you must ask. Was this interaction racist?
Firstly, if the guy had been large and white, would Michelle have referenced his race at all? Would she have said "I dunno. A big, white guy. I don't know him." No. She probably would have said, "I dunno. Some big dude. I don't know him." Now, I don't know that that necessarily implies racism. I think if Michelle and I were black (and let's face it, we've both got an inner, fabulous black girl) and a strange white person had knocked on the door, we would have undoubtedly referenced his race. HOWEVER; the underlying fear I had in the pit of my stomach...was THAT racism? Or was it just stranger danger made more prominent on accounta the helpless baby child that I am sworn to protect?
Let's explore the issue further:
A moment passes. The man rattles the gate again. (Fun fact, our doorbell is broken and we keep our front gate locked so as to keep strangers at a distance when we answer the door. It becomes a problem that people can't knock. Or ring a bell. Or in any other way signal their desire to converse with the dwelling's inhabitants.) He rattles again. Michelle and I both look at each other with a, "I wish he'd go away, he's making me nervous" face.
Then....he yells. "Is anybody home??"
"What the crap?" I say, traipsing with my baby over to the peep-hole. I peer out. I'm shocked and worried to discover that he has removed the fake, plastic rock that offers an aesthetically pleasing cover for the myriad of wires and other such uglies that sit in the front yard. That's when I notice there are two of them, and they're rummaging through the wires and such.
"What the crap?" I repeat. And I fling the door open, my heart beating a million miles a minute as I cling tightly onto my helpless baby child.
They look up, surprised. They stutter and seem ashamed for some reason.
Me: "Um. Can I help you?"
Them: "Yeah. Uh. Your...the man...your dad? The guy who lives here...he wanted us to do the yard."
In my mind: 'We have gardeners already. Why would my dad have hired new ones? The old ones were here yesterday. I'm so confused. These guys are totally ripping us off right now. I have no idea what to do in this situation. They're probably going to ask to come in and I'll have to let them because I don't know how to say no. Then, they're going to steal Luke. I can't let that happen! I must DO something! I must say no! I mustn't let them rape me! I need to say something, I've been standing here thinking for about 5 minutes now in complete silence!'
Them: "Uh. Can we talk to him?"
In my mind: 'Crap. He's not home. I don't want to TELL them he's not home...then they'll know there is no man here and there are two of them and they're big guys and we're all helpless and female-like. They will undoubtedly force their way in through the metal gate -undoubtedly they have the strength of Herculean gods and will merely pry the bars apart. However, if I tell them my dad will be home in five minutes, they will come back in five minutes. And he won't be back in five minutes. But I can't tell them that. They'll steal Luke! I must stop them! I mustn't let them rape me! Crap. I need to say something, I've been standing here in silence again.'
Them: *Awkward shuffle*
In my mind: 'I should probably figure out if they're imposters. I have a fool-proof way to decide. Ha! At last I know what to say. And I will sound intimidating and fierce and assertive and I'll probably scare the pants off of them.'
Me: "Um. Whatcha doin' with that rock?"
Them: "Oh. We're...it's the...the sprinklers. We're supposed to fix the sprinklers."
Michelle: "Oh yeah...dad did mention that the other day. Here, I'll give you his number so you can call him."
And then they fixed our sprinklers.
And I felt stupid.
And a little racist.
And a little like a fierce mama lion; ready and willing to protect her youngling by any means necessary.