Friday, September 30, 2011

Stranger Danger

My roommate has a man staying with her next weekend. That is, staying with us since we live in the same university apartment. He’s 33; that’s 11-years-older than she is. He’s driving from Pennsylvania. She met him three weeks ago—Online.

Now, I realize that in the day of social networking, video chatting, and, it’s not that unusual to meet a significant other online. My best friend met her new boyfriend online. And my aunt met her husband online… and then she met her other husband online…

The world being as big as it is and as populated as it is, logically you’re probably not going to find ‘the one’ two doors over, at the local corner store, or in the front row of your biology class. Odds are (or should be, if you draw up the math) that you may need to venture outside your city, or even your state to find this special person. ‘The one’ might be planting corn fields in Delaware, mixing coconut-filled drinks in Hawaii, ice fishing in Greenland, or picket-signing bull fights in Spain. Why not? 

But a 33-year-old you found 3 weeks ago online who’s driving from Pennsylvania to spend the weekend in a student’s apartment? 

This guy is obviously going to kill us. And not a conventional, on the five-o-clock news kind of kill. This is going to be a bad teenage movie: hide-in-the-shower-butcher-knife-and-masks-not-even-one-out-of-the-four-of-us-can-get-away-and-somebody-is-in-their-underwear-the-whole-time-for-no-reason-at-all kind of murder.  

Did you catch that? If not, just check your movie listings.

This pretty much goes against everything we were taught our whole lives regarding stranger danger. Such as:

Don’t talk to strangers.
Don’t get into a stranger’s car.
Don’t tell a stranger where you live.

It’s a much better idea to meet in a public place, have some sort of escape plan, “Google” them for felonies, and to not invite them to spend three days living and sleeping in your bedroom before you actually see them in person. 

Since I have no choice in the matter, I’ll be barricading my door and sleeping with the kitchen knives.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


In 2007, my grandfather died. He had cancer.

Four weeks ago, I started writing about it. In piecing together what I remembered, I found my quotations missing lost words from conversations that I wanted to erase at the time. I guess it worked. At the fourth paragraph, I put it away.

When I was in high school, my grandfather introduced me to Johnny Cash’s “When The Man Comes Around.” He had to explain the symbolism. In my mind, my grandfather and the songs are the same. 

When he died, I took off school. I told my teacher the day I would be back. When that day came, we had a lesson on death and symbolism and poetry- I wanted to run from the classroom.

When my grandfather died, my mother read a book called ‘A Guide to Bereavement,” or something like that. I learned that bereavement was a nice way to say ‘grief.’ Kind of like ‘friendly fire’ is a nice way to say that you went to war and blew your friends and neighbors to shreds of once-human pieces. I thought that a guide to bereavement would be no more helpful than a book that explained how you already feel. I didn’t need to read what I was already feeling; but I hoped it helped her.

Last Wednesday, I was told that my Pappy, my paternal grandfather, was put in the ICU. He has cancer. I was told “it doesn’t look good.” 

Today, I am again experiencing precipitating grief. A term that I read about in Family Science two years ago. I wonder why we study the experience of precipitating grief when, whether we learned about it or not, we all experience it. To me, learning about a feeling before we’re blessed or cursed to feel it holds no benefit. It’s like learning about ‘taste’ before we are allowed to take a bite.