Sometimes, when I'm at my most paranoid, I have a fear that I'm going to end up tied up in some serial killer's basement.
This is not an altogether unfounded fear. Not only do I have a dark streak that tends to find things like serial killers fascinating but, also, I tend to be a bit of a sucker for a hard luck case. The combination of this would probably end up as a statistically high possibly that I will, in fact, end up in a serial killer's basement.
Throughout my life, I have always been a sucker for the hard luck cases. This is why, when I was in infant school (U.S. Translation: elementary school) in the UK, I was the girl who ended up sitting with Nicholas Watts, the most bullied boy in our class, at lunch and who'd feel so bad that poor little Nicholas was lonely and didn't have many friends that I'd invite him to play with me and my friends. We'd play girly things and make him join in- he'd have to clean our Wendy House and do the laundry in our pretend games. I hope Nicholas turned out ok- we did treat him just like he was one of the girls.
In Junior school, it was Adil- the nice Indian boy who moved to the UK from India with his family. He didn't have many friends because kids could be mean but we were fascinated by his exoticness and we let him play netball with us. This was fun until Adil made friends with some boys and ditched us to play cricket. When he accidentally hit a cricket ball that hit me in the eye, I stopped being so fond of Adil because he laughed when he did it. When you're nine and someone laughs at you when they make you bleed, it's not easily forgiven.
This has been the case through my life. In high school in the U.S., it was 'Joe' whose real name was...Joe. He was one of those weird kids who marches to his own beat. Some of the kids called him 'retarded' but he wasn't- he was just different. I was nice to Joe because I can't stand seeing people get picked on like that. He was a little odd and I did laugh with my friends about some of the things he did yet I tried to never be rude to him. This ended up with Joe having a bit of a crush on me and he'd deliver gifts to me when I was at work in the video store. He made me mixed tapes and wrote me long poems. I broke his heart gently but it was a lesson in that fine line between kindness and...overkindness.
I've had a few other males like Joe who liked me because I was nice. This, in no way, is me tooting my horn about how great I am and how kind I am. This is merely my way of explaining my basement-serial-killer theory. You see, I tend to try to be nice in general. I don't tolerate rude people well. I don't like snotty people and I don't like people who treat others badly. I have my limits. Yet when it comes to people in general, I try to be nice .
This is not always a good thing. With Joe, it was a harmless teenage crush. In college, it was a guy we'll call Barnabas. That is NOT hiks real name. Barnabas was, in short, a weirdo. He was the kind of person who was very, very intense. His way of looking at things was rather off-kilter. He didn't watch TV because he found it banal, trite and 'frankly, a waste of his brainpower'. If Barnabas had been the genius he thought he was, this would have been understandable but, well, he wasn't. He was just an oddball who wore the same jacket everywhere, everyday, regardless of the weather. He found me because of a paper I'd written for a professor we'd shared. He saw the paper in my professor's office and was fascinated by the topic I'd chosen to write about and he asked to read the whole thing. He found me a day later by calling my dorm room and asking to talk to me about the paper.
For some reason, he seemed to like talking to me. I found him fascinating. He was probably one moral conscience away from being a serial killer, honestly but when you're 20 and in college, it seems intriguing rather than dangerous. Long story short, he became 'my friend' and would engage me in long, late night conversations about everything. Over time, he got more scary and I backed away. The last time I talked to him, he called me and the first thing he asked was if I'd had sex. I'm not kidding. He was rather alarming in his intensity about the issue and he asked some very inappropriate questions. Needless to say, by that time, it was quite a few years out of college and I was wise enough to recognize dangerous behaviour. Thus, that was our last conversation ever.
The reason I'm telling you all this is because I'm a bit alarmed by Larry the Potential Serial Killer. I try to be nice to him. Tonight, when I was walking the dogs, I was still wearing my work clothes and I literally head him say "wow" when he saw me. I wasn't wearing anything terribly risque though I was wearing something that I knew looked nice on me. He proceeded to corner me and tell me absolutely everything about his day while doing that close talking thing that is his specialty. It doesn't help that I think he's single again. He seems to have had a lady friend for a while but I haven't seen her or her car in his driveway lately. He wouldn't let me leave. Even though the dogs were straining to continue our walk, Larry kept stepping in front of me to keep me talking. He also suggested we 'get together' sometime, especially in the winter when it's cold outside.
Now, I'm not serious when I call him a potential serial killer. You know that. He's odd and he's a little too friendly but I jest when I write it. However, I do think that I should probably not have been quite so friendly to Larry. I do have a tendency to attract strange men by being nice to them. The ones I've told you about are only a sample, believe it or not.
I'm not sure what to do, honestly. I don't really want to spend cold winter nights with Larry the Potential Serial Killer. I just don't really know how to be rude. I don't know if it's because I'm British and we're just polite or I just don't like being mean but I can't figure out how to ignore Larry. He's nice. He's friendly. How do you ignore him. I've tried the polite wave which is fine when the route the pups and I take doesn't go right by his house. However, when he descends on us out of nowhere, there's no way to avoid him.
Perhaps I could use some tips on how to be mean. Again, this is not me trying to get accolades for my 'niceness'. It's quite the opposite. It's just my way of saying that I'm a wee bit afraid I might end up like Catherine in "Silence of the Lambs"- trapped in a basement because I helped some poor stranger with a broken arm load a sofa into his van.
I'd like to think I'm not that daft. I have read the non-fiction accounts of many a serial killer and I happen to know that this particular broken arm trick was an M.O. of Ted Bundy so at least I'm aware.
It's just that I'm also a sucker. If I ran into someone, say, like Larry who I accidentally invited over to share my firepit, what's to say that he won't show up and stab me to death all because I accidentally invited him over.
I suppose it would be my own fault. I am a bit of a magnet for weirdos though and I never have figured out why. It does make life interesting but, well, maybe life should be that interesting.
Nevertheless, I'll make sure I lock my doors and windows. Just in case.