5/24/07

Alternate Universes and a Sensibility Tug O' War

The past 48 + hours have been completely bizarre. I almost feel like I have been wandering around in an alternate universe.

Let me set the stage first by saying that every month, my PMS symptoms intensify. And I really need to get to a doc. I feel like every month, I'm presented with a test that I always fail. I get sick. Very sick. Each and every month. Sick as in, it is leaving me unable to function.
So, that sets the stage just a bit.

Let me start, also, with mine & Rav's late, late, late night on Tuesday. Rav works the second shift on Mondays & Tuesdays. He called me late into his shift on Tuesday to say that he would be late. He & some other officers had to take in an offender to court for an active warrant. And she was claiming that she was having a miscarriage. So, this wasn't going to go smoothly. He said he would call after they were done at the JP Court.
Fast forward to 11:30 (his shift was over at 10). He calls me from the hospital. He tells me that the woman started flipping out in court. She urinated herself and said her water was breaking. Rav & the other officers take her to the ER. The offender is giving the hospital staff the run-around in regards to her due date, how far along she is, etc. So, they (Rav, other officers and offender) were just waiting for the doctor to do the test to determine if she had, in fact, urinated herself or her water did break.
Long story short, Rav finally got home at 2:30 a.m.
And this seems to mark the start of everything weird.

I have to back up just a bit.....to get to the weird part that involves me.
Last week, on a particularly beautiful day, I went outside to wait for Connor's bus. I was pruning some of the plants in the front yard. I was working on my fern hanging baskets. At the same time, I see a woman walking down the street. And I really didn't think much of it. She yells something. She yells again. This time, I realize she's talking to me. She walks up my driveway. Compliments my ferns. And then asks is she can use the phone. I give her the phone. She makes a quick call.
I ask if she's OK. She says Yes. It's just that my legs hurt. I just took my medication. Can you give me a ride? Just to the corner.
My pulse quickens. It's not that I don't want to help her. But I have one kid inside of my house. I have one that I'm waiting for. And I hate to say it, but my judgements got the better of me. Because see, she looked a bit.......questionable.
I tell her hat I can't leave. My daughter is inside & I'm waiting for my son to get dropped off. What I was leaving out was that Rav was upstairs with Gracie. In my heart of hearts, I was hoping that this would turn her away. She then asks to sit down. So she sits on my front step.
I look over at her & say If you can wait a few minutes. I'll take you to the corner. But I have to wait for my son to get home.
She agrees.
Connor gets home. I deposit him in the house. I shut the door quickly.
We get in the car, I drive her to the corner. And now the corner turns into the next street over. The next street over turns into the next street over from that one. I drop her off at a house and leave.
To be perfectly honest, relief at the fact that she's out of my car. And relief that I'll probably never see her again.

Boy was I wrong.

Last night, Rav & I begin the slow descent into veg-ville. We're both exhausted from the late night of the early morning hours we had kept due to maternity offender(more so him than me, but as he wasn't home & in bed, I couldn't sleep). Our front door was still open as it was not quite dark yet & again, an especially beautiful evening.
We're just entering deep veg mode when there is a slight knock on the door.
Rav gets up & I hear her voice. She says to Rav Is the lady of the house in? I think to myself God, she's good. She's got every line for every occasion.
I'm sorry, but I thought once Rav saw her, he would prevail. He was so good at lying to the little boys next door when they came a-calling. I thought surely I'd be off the hook. He says Yes, she is.
I swear, my bottom jaw hit the ground. My eyes were big as saucers. I figured at this point, he was just letting me lay in the bed I had made.
I go to the door & she starts with her usual. A compliment.
Then she goes into some story about how this guy says she has to be in by 9. She told him no it's 10. She needs a ride. Can I give her one? Oh, here's the guy. He's following me. Your ferns are so pretty. Can you give me a ride?
I tell her to hold on a minute. I come back in the house & am in full panic mode. There is no way out of this one. And I can't think of any good reason - for myself or for her - to tell her no. I just cannot.find.the.words.
I grab my shoes, I grab my cell. I deliberately leave behind my purse (I'm terrible, I know).
I take her back to the same house.
Now let me stop there and explain that when she approached my house last night she was wearing jeans. And the fly was WIDE open. I will spare anymore details.
So, of course........no one is home. She asks to use my cell. She makes a few calls. And she locates who she is looking for. Just a few minutes away. She tells him (HIM) to stay there, she's got her "girlfriend" with her & we'll pick him up.
Again with my jaw to the ground and my eyes as big as saucers.
We begin our drive.
By this time, it's taking way longer than Rav would've expected. I know that he's a bit peeved to begin with. I'm trying to be vague on the phone with him.
I get off the phone & promise to call him back in two minutes.

We get to the house. She gets out. I get a glimpse of the guy I'm to give a ride to. He's drunker than drunk. The woman who answers the door at the house says straight away to my "girlfriend", He's being an asshole.
I roll my eyes. And say to myself Oh, hell no.
I begin backing out of the driveway. But there is a bunch of traffic & I can't back out in time.
My new "girlfriend" is yelling at him, there is a bit of a scuffle. She gets him to the car & deposits him in it. He reeks. He's trying to be charming. Again, with the compliments. My new girlfriend tells him Be nice. She's straight.
Again, with being out of my element.

I fly as fast as I can to get these two anywhere. I just want to be back in my little, messy, kid-filled house.
I drop them off. And now he begins with wanting to "repay" me by kissing me. On both of my cheeks. I chuckle.
And as I drive away, relief washes over me that, for now, this is over.

I get home & recall the events for Rav, who is shaking his head at the whole thing. And then I say to him, We can't keep the front door open anymore. Because in a few days, she'll be back.

I need to find a way to stand my ground. What can I say to her?

Let me wrap this whole thing up by saying the whole dynamic is a bit much for me right now. And the reason is this: I've always had a hard time saying no. My mom & I have been on "the wrong side of the tracks" for our fair share when I was growing up. Not only that, I've always been a safe person for people. In school, I was always picked to be the buddy for the kids who need help, the peer counselor for the spec. ed. - which I totally enjoyed. But honestly, being in 6th grade and having someone see you have the capacity for something you don't even know you have yet is a tad overwhelming. The list goes on.....teachers felt safe with me to entrust me with these tasks of fostering a safe relationship with others. And I'm not complaining. It's just that I've always had this role. But with this role, I never learned to be politely assertive. It's a weak point.
Now add to this, a dash of law enforcement in Rav. He sees the ugly parts, the scary, unsafe parts. He has seen needles pulled out of body parts where they were kept for safe-keeping. He has seen weapons and drugs and violence on a regular basis. He just wants me to be safe.
And I want me to be safe too. I'm straddling a fence between my caring, underdog fostering and sensibility.
And I'm not sure which one of me is winning.


**I've deliberately left out the story of me making a bag lunch for a homeless man I saw yesterday before my road trip with my new girlfriend and the discussion that started between Rav & I. Because, quite frankly, this post is way too long as it is. I'll have to get into that another day.**

10 ripples in the pond:

jen said...

well, the rest of this story demands to be told.

tab, all i could think was, trust your gut.

thailandchani said...

I would definitely stop responding to the woman. Dont answer the door to her or talk to her any further. In a few weeks, she will have moved on. There's no way to have a constructive dialogue with someone like that so I'd definitely use avoidance in this case. :)


Peace,


~Chani

Rav said...

Let me just be blunt. The woman is a crack whore. I could see the tell-tale signs all over her. I was remiss in even letting her speak to Tab last night. I should have told her to bugger off. But I didn't. The whole time Tab was gone, I kept thinking that if something happened to her, it would be my fault. I was so tired (only 3 hours of sleep in 48 hours), I just couldn't think straight. Tab and I don't always see eye to eye on certain subjects. Tab wants to help people, but doesn't always consider that it may not be the safest thing to do. However, if she knocks again when I am around, there will be no avoidance. I will handle the situation the way I should have handled it last night. Needless to say, she will not be getting anymore rides from us, unless of course it is in the back of a police car.

Oh, The Joys said...

In my view, you can engage where you feel safe and not where you don't.

Slackermommy said...

Tab, you've got such a big heart but it may be time to let her know that you helped her when you could but your family needs you. Let her know that you feel there isn't enough time in the day to spend with your family as it is. I fear for your safety. Addicts can be so unpredictable.

Denguy said...

Whoa, that's ... whoa.

I can't say that I would feel comfortable with my wife doing that, Rav must be busting.

deb said...

You have to say no Tabba. It's okay to say no. Say it loud, say it proud. I don't mind helping people, I'm often happy to but the woman can walk. I don't even drive my own kids that much:)

Pippajo said...

You know, I sat reading this with all kinds of comments zipping through my head, and then about a third of the way through, I thought, "I can't wait to see what Rav had to say about this!"

I agree with him, you see. There is nothing wrong with being kind to strangers in need, but there is a difference between that and being taken advantage of by someone who could clearly be a danger to you. And I don't think judging people is always wrong. I think we have gut reactions for a reason.

You have small children who need you. And a husband who, like you said, knows of which he speaks. I think you should heed his advice.

Next time she shows, I think you're going to need to put your foot down, kindly, but firmly.

Keep on making sandwiches for the homeless, but don't get in a car with a crack whore!

liv said...

What Deb said. You have a family who needs you and cannot afford for one second to put yourself at risk. Maybe just don't go to the door if you can't stand confrontation, but don't go anywhere like that again. Please.

Tabba said...

I want to thank all of your for your insights/thoughts/etc.

I've given this situation a lot of thought. I've looked at it from every possible angle that I can possibly think of. And in this case (because of her hard living and manipulation as a means to just get by), I feel that I have to be swift and direct. I feel I have to say NO and shut the door.

When I was relaying this story to my BFF and her daughter. I said, "You know, I was saying to her 'I can't have him in my car.' But the thing is...I didn't want to be "rude"." How ridiculous is that?

But I feel in this case, I almost need to be. Otherwise, she'll just keep trying to take advantage.