My Novels

Friday, March 29, 2002

I haven't been online much this week, since I've been doing some extensive cleaning in the house, as well as sorting and discarding stuff in my study. I had collected an assortment of travel books, catalogs, etc, for writing/research that are now so far out of date they are useless. Plus, I use the internet now for up-to-date research. I spent all day yesterday and another hour or so earlier today getting that mess cleared out. DH will burn some of it, and take the rest to the recycle place in town. Lots of the old papers, and material I cleaned out of my file cabinet needs to be burned; but old books/catalogs can be recycled. I have more space in here now, and it looks much cleaner and tidy.

Also, I still have various tasks to do around the house, getting it ready in case someone wants to see the inside, any of the potential buyers. We had another call yesterday morning, but I was gone on the bike, so she left a message. DH will call her later.

I had a very strange experience this morning on my bike ride. Yesterday I didn't ride in the park, because they were having an Easter-egg hunt, with a bunch of screaming kids. So I just rode on the streets. But today there was no one around, and I started riding in the park. Well, this little girl (looked to be around 10 or 11), came up to the area where a dead-end street borders the backside of the park. As I went by, she yelled, "I need you to come to my house for a minute."

I was already past her, but when I came around there again, I asked her what was wrong. She just said the same thing, "I need you to come to my house a few minutes." On the next round, I asked if she had a problem and she repeated the same thing again. It was as if she'd been told to approach me, and was very persistent. However, IF there had been a serious problem, I think any child would have been upset and willing to SAY exactly what the trouble was. Since she wouldn't say what was wrong when I came by the next time (she was outside the chain-link fence, couldn't get into the park from that spot) I told her if she had an emergency, or a serious problem, to call 911. Then I went out of the park on the other side, and finished my ride on the streets.

There was something very creepy about that. My instincts told me that the child was sent to fetch me -- and not for any kind of real problem. I don't know what someone would have wanted with me, but anyone in the section of houses on that dead-end street could easily see that I ride in the park every morning. I just had a feeling that I SHOULD NOT go with her. So many times you hear of a woman's instinct telling her something is 'wrong' with a certain situation, but going along anyhow and then getting into trouble. Perhaps whoever told the child to fetch me had something bad in mind...or maybe I'm just paranoid or have too much of a dark imagination.

When I got home, DH called and I told him about it and he said I did the right thing, shouldn't have gone along with the kid. He said he would drive over by there, and see if she was still outside (I described her) and find out if there was some kind of trouble. Also, he said I needed to start riding somewhere else for awhile, change my pattern of biking.

Years ago, I did something that really seemed stupid later on, and has made me very cautious about strangers. I was on the way home from the grocery store and my car quit on me. I was only about ten blocks from home, but I had a load of groceries and was afraid the milk, etc would spoil. So this car pulled up, and there was an older man in it; he asked what was wrong, and I told him. He got out, and said, "Why don't I just help you get the groceries out and I'll drop you off at your house."

I'd told him I lived nearby, so I quickly accepted. We put all the groceries in his car and then got in...and just as I closed my door, and he started the car, it hit me that this was EXACTLY how women get abducted and raped! My face must have gone pale, because he started making friendly chit-chat, asked me who I was married to, said he used to live in the city, and who I was before I married. Well, when I told him and he said he knew some of them, and turned out, he knew one of my uncles. At any rate, he took me directly home and even helped me unload the groceries. BUT, that really shook me up, because it was a DUMB thing to do! And I when I called DH to help me with the car, he pitched a fit and said I should NEVER, EVER do such a thing again!!!! Of course, by then I realized that.

In a way, it's awful that times have changed so much you have to be this cautious...but it's a fact that women are often abducted and raped in just such situations. Long ago, when I was a teen or in my early 20s, I never gave a second thought to some guy stopping to help if my car broke down -- and it did happen several times. But these days, you just can't trust a stranger -- not even in my small southern town.

At any rate, I hope the little girl wasn't REALLY having a problem. Or if so, that she called 911. But I don't regret what I did -- better safe than sorry.

Here's an excerpt from an article I found interesting:

Winfrey declines Bush invite to Afghan trip

U.S. hoped to show its help for women

By Jeff Zeleny
Tribune national correspondent
Published March 29, 2002

CRAWFORD, Texas -- Seeking to put a softer spin on the public's perceptions of the war on terrorism, the Bush administration quietly asked Oprah Winfrey to join an official U.S. delegation to tour Afghanistan's schools, celebrating young girls' return to the classroom following the fall of the Taliban regime.

But Winfrey begged off, saying she didn't have the time.

"Given her responsibility to the show, she isn't adding anything to her calendar," said a representative of Winfrey's Chicago-based production company. "She was invited, but she respectfully declined."

So the White House, lacking its preferred guest, postponed a trip that also was to feature some of the administration's top women, including Bush adviser Karen Hughes and possibly National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Aides said it was unclear whether another celebrity who shares Winfrey's credibility and popularity could be substituted.

Bush's political advisers are concerned that some key voting groups, while supportive of the war on terrorism, may be growing weary of the constant talk of killing and brutality. The Oprah strategy was devised to dampen the images of global violence.


Way to go Oprah! Or in the venacular, "You go girlfriend!" Let Bush rustle up his voters himself, but the very fact he thought of this idea shows he MAY be a bit concerned about his ratings and the 'war on terrorism' and the women's vote. I wouldn't vote for him, that's a fact.

Back to work now.

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