Josh's aunt agreed to babysit the other night so Josh and I could go out to dinner (!!!) with a few of Josh's colleagues. Although I would have loved to have a night alone with him, I was happy to get the chance to spend a bit more time with colleagues because I try desperately to stay connected into his work life and his time away from us, especially since I am staying home with the kids for now. I don't want my one and only topic of conversation with him to be the kids, so I'm always interested in his work gossip and new projects. Or at least, I pretend to be interested, you know?
Anyway, we were driving home from the restaurant and decided to split up and try two separate routes because we disagree on the fastest way to get home. My route, I think, is faster because I don't have to cross through this messy traffic circle, but it does take me through a not great area of a neighboring town. Not terrible, but not great.
I pulled away from him and started down the road, following a black Honda Civic as we sped through the dark streets. A few minutes later, the Honda Civic pulled up to a stop sign, on a street full of untended homes and packed with parked cars. In an instant, he'd stopped the car, opened his door, and started to walk back toward me. I had a moment of total confusion- why was he stopping his car, why was he walking toward me, what could he possibly want- before I reacted.
I slammed my hand down on the car door locks, threw the car in reverse, and started to back up faster than he could walk toward me. I groped with my other hand for my cell phone, ready to call 911 if he came any closer.
I don't know if he could see my face and could tell how frightened I was, or whether he reacted from his own realization that I must have been afraid, but he put his hands in the air, the way you would do if someone was pointing a weapon at you. As he came closer, I saw that he was young, maybe 19 or 20, blond, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, looking like a local college student.
"Your headlight is burnt out!" he yelled through the closed window. "What?" I yelled back. "Your headlight, one of them is out! I just wanted you to know. Sorry!" I felt a rush of embarrassment, but I still wasn't getting out of the car, or letting him get any closer. "Oh, thanks! Thanks! Sorry!" He quickly ran to his car, put it in gear and drove away.
I spent the rest of the drive feeling sheepish, and wondering what the world is coming to that I thought a good Samaritan was trying to car jack or assault me or something. But really, what else could I think? The alternative, waiting like a sitting duck for a strange man to approach my open car window on a dark street? That doesn't sit well either.
Truthfully, you still never know, I guess. My headlight was burnt out, but what if you got out of the car to look and it was all a ploy to get you to exit your car? I don't know, I guess this is my mind going to dark places, but unfortunately, I do think you have to be careful these days. I'd like to think the whole thing was a misunderstanding on my part and he was just a nice kid who wanted to tell me about my broken headlight. Would you have done the same thing? Was I overreacting?