How did I let time slip away like that? A dark blue film seemed to cover the outdoors as dusk was rapidly approaching. I really hate going out at night. I don't like driving and I don't like being out around our city when "the street lights come on". An unusual chill (I use that term lightly for you northern folks dealing with real chill) was in the air as I unloaded the little ones placing one on each hip as we scurried through the parking lot seeking the refuge of the heated, well lit store. The flashing lights of the security car caught Shasta's attention as the driver patrolled the parking lot looking for individuals up to no good. I sighed to myself thinking about what this city has turned into now that nearly every store I go to at night has to have ARMED security. We shop. I referee fights between the kids. We shop. I grab items out of Shasta's hands as he tries to prematurely open things like noodles and peanuts. We finish shopping. Back to the parking lot. Its dark. Night has now completely replaced day and the sky is covered with thick clouds. I feel it. The paranoia. I start looking over my shoulder. I start looking ahead. The parking lot is quiet. The security car is nowhere to be seen. I plan maneuvers in my head. This might be the time I will need to claw me some eyes out of some creep. I'm scanning. I quickly shuffle the kids into the car along with my purse. Then I proceed to unload my groceries. Still scanning. The smell is heavy in the air. Marijuana. The car behind me starts their engine and starts blasting heavy rap music. Just adds to the ambiance. The large SUV next me turns their lights on. I didn't even realize someone was in the car. I'm not observant enough. Scan. I put the cart in the return spot (always park near those) and spring into my car. Lock the doors. Breathe. Ponder. Really? Is this how normal people live?
Rewind a few nights. It was New Year's Eve. CA Cop was, of course, working. I informed him that I would be taking the kids over to my brother's house for dinner and some games and so that they could play with their cousins.
"You need to be home early." CA responded to my announcement of my evening plans.
"Of, course, the kids will be tired."
"I'm serious, CA Cop Wife (he used my name, so you know he means business), you cannot stay out late tonight."
There was urgency and sternness in his voice.
"OK, I was only planning on staying for a little while."
"I don't want you guys driving tonight. Especially later. And don't take any of the main streets home. It's too dangerous tonight."
My brother lives literally 2 1/2 minutes from us. On a good day I can make it there in two. I was home before 10pm to ring in the New Year with my face in my pillow. Paranoia?
So, if you would be so kind as to enlighten me on this paranoia. Are we just crazy? Because I am fully ready to accept that as a plausible possibility. Or is being privy to all the terrible details of all the terrible crimes a cause to the effect of this paranoia? I notice it often. I really am so grateful that CA Cop is always packin' when we are out and about town. I feel much safer knowing he is armed and ready to kick some butt.