I’m either entertained by or completely stressed out by people. Most of the time, I try to observe and be entertained. It’s more fun that way.
My sweet little postmaster entertained me today when I stopped in to mail more packages. She’s young and quite innocent. We’ve gotten to know each other this last year, so I enjoy talking to her, but wow is she young and innocent. When I got there today, the first thing she said to me was that two separate people had told her that we could get twelve to forty inches of snow next week. She was wide-eyed and worried about it.
Now, it wasn’t my job to tell her that for something like that to happen, many things have to line up perfectly. We really aren’t in a place for forty inches of snow to fall in a twenty-four hour period. But she was ready to believe and no protestations of reality will change that. I smiled and went on my way.
Earlier this morning, a telemarketer called me. She was insulting and then asked that I donate money to her cause. She implied that I had donated before and I just needed to give her my address again so she could send a pledge card. I knew full well that the phone number she used is not on any list and I do my best to protect it. She was using a random list of numbers.
Many years ago, when my sister, Carol, was young and innocent, she was fun to play with. One of our paper salesmen was chatting with us at Insty-Prints and he gave me the look. You know, the one that says, play with me here, this will be fun. She was a perfect foil. And it was one of the simplest tricks.
“Carol,” he said. “Did you know that the word gullible isn’t in the dictionary?”
She looked at me in shock and I nodded. It took longer than I thought for her to recognize we were playing with her because the next thing I knew, she was reaching below the counter for the dictionary. We let her get the thing open before she looked into our faces and realized we were messing with her.
I live with three cats that epitomize these characteristics. TB is skeptical of everything. He never relaxes unless he is certain that everything around him is safe and it takes so little for him to think that it’s not safe. When he sleeps, it is always with one eye mostly open. I feel like it is my purpose in life to make sure that he is always safe. But after four years with me, he still worries more than he should. The UPS truck scares him into the deepest, darkest hiding place he can find, even though it’s been here numerous times and has never done a single thing to harm him.
On the other hand, Grey is the most relaxed feline I’ve ever known. She drops into my arms, knowing that I’ll catch her. She curls up against TB and stands in front of him when he’s being pissy. She explores new things, completely trusting that she’ll be safe. When she sleeps, she sprawls all over the place and won’t wake up until she’s ready to be awake.
Earl exists between those two. He is safe when he’s with me or with Grey. Otherwise, he’s on his guard, wary and alert. Until you prove that you are trustworthy, he’ll hide from you. It took a long time for him to fully trust me, but now, he curls up in my arms to sleep and relaxes against me. It fills my heart to watch him come alive.
I don’t know how to teach someone how to choose whether or not to be wary or trusting in any given situation, but for now, I don’t think I’m prepared to believe that there will be forty inches of snow next week.