I'm paranoid. I admit it.
And something happened tonight which has that paranoia on full alert.
The doorbell rang impatiently but as soon as I came around the corner to answer it, the guy peering into the window jumped back and ran away as if I was his own personal demon come to collect his soul for an eternity of torment (possibly watching endless reruns of Survivor).
Now, maybe he was embarassed to realize he had the wrong house ... except for the part where he didn't stop at any of the neighbours' houses either.
Or maybe he was looking to break in and assumed no one was home. It's possible, I don't bother with a lot of lights so the house can look deserted.
This is one of those moments where I will give in to my paranoia. Odds are good, he was harmless. But just in case he isn't, I put the alarm on early.
I watched Gavin de Becker (author The Gift of Fear) when he was on Oprah and he pointed out that fear is a survival instinct. One we humans have taught ourselves to override. No animal on earth will get into a cage with something it considers a predator but we put ourselves in elevators with people who make us feel creepy on a regular basis.
He said that no antelope ever worried about looking like an idiot on the Serengeti for running away from reeds rustling in the wind. No antelope ever worried about hurting another animal's feelings by assuming the worst.
I don't know what was going on with my visitor. I'm not crazy enough to have gone chasing him down the block demanding an explanation. But I will take extra steps to protect myself.
Maybe it's the wind.
And maybe it's a lion.
Either way, I'm running.