Willow has posed some fearful questions. It was more than a week ago, but I saved them because usually, I don’t do this stuff … but these are interesting. So here are the fearfully interesting questions. My answers may not necessarily be equally interesting answers.

Fearful questions

It’s been a long time since I’ve asked questions, and I had these floating around in my mind. So anyway, I had some questions about how you, dear reader, deal with fear, or maybe the unexpected, in your world. There aren’t that many of them.  But maybe you might find the them interesting…

Do you now, or have you ever, looked behind a closed shower curtain before using the bathroom?

No. Not even immediately following watching Alfred Hitchcock.

Do you look in your back seat — or taking it further, under your car — before getting in to drive?

Not since I got back from Israel. In Israel, however, you were warned to always make sure there wasn’t a terrorist hiding in your back seat so sometimes, I checked. Mostly, I forgot. I never entirely made the leap from American trustfulness to middle Eastern paranoia.

Do you have a safety ritual before going to bed at night? i.e. checking the doors, windows, locks, or setting an alarm.

Nope. There’s stuff I do. I close the curtains in the bathroom so the morning light won’t wake me up at dawn. I take the telephone off the charger and move it closer so I can grab it without a long stretch, although recently, it has stopped waking me up early in the morning. The scammers, spammers, and survey takers have finally stopped calling me first thing in the morning. Oh, the joy of it!

When you leave your house or car, do you check the locks more than once, or are you satisfied that you’ve locked the door the first time?

I forget to lock the house. It’s a country thing. But also, there’s a logic to it. This is a pretty old house. Getting into it would not be exactly difficult for anyone who really wanted to do it. It was why my husband never locked his convertible. If they were going to break into the car, please DON’T slash the top. Just open the door. It’s expensive to fix the top.

When we lived in the condo in Boston, we locked it … but the city is a different place.

Do you answer your phone if you don’t recognize the number? Why or why not?

No. I used to, back when calls were real people calling about something. But over the years of the robo-caller, I gave up. We have NOMOROBO and it interrupts most automated calls before the second ring. IF it rings twice, it is probably at least a human on the other end, or an identifiable number — doctor’s office or the pharmacy are automated calls, but we do get them. We don’t get the survey takers, the fake charity organizations, the scamming organizations who tell you you’ve won something and just want your personal information to steal your identity or, for all I know, your life.

In what setting — urban/suburban/rural — would you feel the least comfortable walking alone? Does the time of day matter?

I used to walk alone through the old city in Jerusalem in the middle of the night. It was the most dangerous city in the world — and also, one of the safest. Terrorists weren’t looking for me. They had specific goals and a woman alone was not a target. Boston? It depended on the number of alleys along the route. I have always been suspicious of alleys, especially at night. Alleys are unlit — and people hide there.

I don’t walk out here. We live out in the country. No sidewalks. Twisting roads and cars that drive much too fast. Even during the day, I’m sure someone is going to run me down on my own road … or even while I check the mailbox. I am not afraid of being attacked by a person, but I’m very afraid of being run down by a car or truck.

If you found yourself walking alone, would you avoid small groups of suspicious-looking people? How about a singular suspicious looking person?

I avoid groups of teenage boys. They scared me when I was a teenager and they scare me now. They are big, full of hormones, and mentally unbalanced by extreme youth.

Do you have a plan or way to determine if someone is following you or if someone is just walking behind you? What would you do if someone started following you?

No. Really, no I don’t. Sheesh.

What would you do if you notice the same car driving behind you for a significant period of time?

Probably not. I am clearly insufficiently suspicious.

If you drove up to your house and the front door was standing open though you clearly remember closing and locking it, would you go inside?

If there was no car in the driveway, I’d probably race in to see if the dogs were okay!

Driveway with shadows

What would you do if you drove up to your house and found a stranger there, clearly waiting for you to come home?

Who would do that? Why? We have no money, no political connections. We aren’t cops. We aren’t important. We are old and basically, poor.

Do you have plans in place for emergencies (fire, flood, etc.)? Have you ever had to use them?

We should. But we don’t. We talk about it, though. One of these days, I’m sure we’ll do something about it. Maybe.

Do empty parking lots/parking garages make you nervous?

Yes. Because if the parking lot is empty, the place is probably closed and I’m there on the wrong day.

Do you tend to forward emails/messages that urge people to beware of this, that, or the other thing, or is Snopes.com (and similar sites) your friend?

Snopes is my pal. I forward jokes. I forward really great photographs, blogs I really like, and anything that makes me laugh a lot. Also well-written articles and information of historical note. But I always check to make sure that it is legitimate. You should too. Please, do NOT forward fake news!

If you have a dog, or dogs, and they start barking at nothing you can see, does it make you anxious?

If it made me anxious, I wouldn’t have dogs. They bark at nothing constantly. Squirrels? Birds? A noise from another house? Or just because they feel like barking? Dogs bark. At nothing. Often.

Do you close your curtains at night?

I don’t have curtains. But we also live so far from anywhere, no one can see anything.

How do you feel about the state of humankind in general?

I find human beings depressing and I am often embarrassed to BE a human. I am also deeply disappointed in my country, our political process, and people I really thought knew better. I am horrified at the awful things we do to each other, to animals, to the earth and the air and the water. I expected better from us and I hope with all my heart we improve in my lifetime.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.


  1. “When you leave your house or car, do you check the locks more than once, or are you satisfied that you’ve locked the door the first time?” Wow, I’m amazed at how many folks go through this routine.., we are not alone. I make the observation that I can never make a clean escape. It never fails.., I get a block and a half away and swear I didn’t lock the house up, U-Turn and double check. The other more recent paranoia is due to these new-fangled car/key thingies, the venerable FOB. After I’m already in the dang store, I’m no longer sure I’ve hit the “lock” button and all the stuff I’ve purchased, at other stores, and left in the car are being stolen as we speak. So we are constantly testing the effective range of these devices. I’m amazed at how far away they seem to work.., or is it that I did lock the vehicle after all, and just going through some healthy paranoic distrust of modern technology.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is refreshing to know there are people still left who have the old standards of community and openness that are lost to so many now. I live in a semi-rural area in Utah, and even here we lock our doors (well some of us..like me). I’ve always locked everything up and I’m suspicious as you aren’t. Difference in circumstances, sense of personal safety and security, and maybe overall sense that everything is alright with the world we inhabit are the reasons I suppose. I really love reading questions and answers…gives a little glimpse into someone else’s world doesn’t it? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I DID feel all was well in the world. The issue is more the unlockableness of this house. It is old enough and in poor enough condition that locking it wouldn’t accomplish much except to make an intruder destroy the door. And there’s nothing here worth taking, either. Pretty much all our stuff is old, sometimes VERY old. I can’t GIVE it away … so why would anyone bother to steal it? It’s not worth anything, except to us and that is sentiment, not money.

      Everything is very very far from okay in the world, but poverty has a few advantages and one of them is not having things anyone wants to steal!


  3. Those questions, to me, indicate your level of caution. Growing up in a city, I was taught to always check the back seat of a car before getting in and to lock the doors once you are in the car. Seeing how some people have the inclination to strap a pipe bomb to their waste and go on the subway with the intent of hurting as many people as possible, I would tend to be a little more caution of my surroundings.


    1. When we lived in town, we behaved differently, though it turned out not to really make much difference. We were careful and the cars got stolen ANYWAY. We got them back (Lojack works), but the cars were never the same after that. The thing is, the protections we have available are nothing compared to the evil that people do. There is NO way we could lock this house and protect if from someone determined to break in. Country houses are not secure. They aren’t built that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure city houses are any more secure. The security is probably in the good neighbours that we have. We do look out for each other.


        1. We all look out, but around here, there’s such a big distance between houses, it would be very hard to tell, even in the winter when the trees are bare. We have a pretty secure home in the city. We had an iron door in the front, though the back door wasn’t terribly secure. They always do that, you know? One door is secure, but there’s at least one more door that ISN’T … and in this house, the windows aren’t secure and the doors are a joke.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep, you’re right, your answers were way different than mine, which is surprising considering how alike we think on a lot of things. 🙂 But the world would be a terribly dull place if we all thought the same about everything. Thanks for answering my questions. 🙂


    1. I lack paranoia — even when I ought to have some. It makes me a pathetically easy mark. But living out here, it IS easier. I was more careful in the city but cities have different rules. And I was different growing up in NY and living in Jerusalem. Every place has its own rules, I think. the country is a very easy-going place and we are retired. I have adapted.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am apparently way too nonchalant (or my wife would say oblivious) when it comes to awareness of potentially dangerous things around me, as most of my answers to these questions would have been “no.”


    1. Basically, most of MY answers are no, but with explanations. I really don’t expect to be terrorized or murdered. I am utterly non-conspiratorial and that is also why I get ripped off so often. I keep expecting the best of people. Unfortunately, I don’t get it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My answers would be very similar I think except that I do have a bushfire plan. Get the pets and leave. I can’t defend this house and I learned at Neighbourhood Watch that if you come home and your door is open you shouldn’t go in but I would be worried about Cindy so I might if she didn’t come when I called.


    1. I think I’d be afraid the dogs broke OUT … although most likely it would be UPS dropped off a package and forgot to close the door. I have gates all over the place to try and keep the dogs in, but Duke’s a jumper.

      We live so far from anything, it’s hard to worry about invaders. But in case of catastrophe, I’d have to pack the dogs into the car, call friends and go there. Short of OUR woods catching on fire, hopefully nothing like that will happen!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here, I’m far enough away from tall trees that I’m not really worried but bushfires do freakish things sometimes. Our town has a bushfire plan and a list of nearby safe places to go should you leave it too late to leave. Bit tricky without a car though which is why I’d keep in touch with friends if there was a risk.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We’ve never had a fire nearby, but by the end of summer, it’s very dry. We are incredibly lucky to have never had a fire. I think it’s because the floor of the woods is so rough and difficult for walking there aren’t a lot of people there. Also, there are the mosquitoes. They really reduce the woodsy population. Oh, and the ticks.

          Liked by 1 person

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