We should all know by now that I am a huge scaredy cat.
I'm afraid of spiders, roller coasters, bungee jumping, heights, deep water.
With that list I would guess my ultimate form of torture would be bungee jumping off a very tall roller coaster into deep water filled with spiders.
BUT..even worse than those, and something I still hate to this day, is being home alone at night.
I hate it. I hear things. I imagine things. I see things moving around outside.
I have to check every door lock twice and then follow that with a thorough check of all the windows and maybe even the air vents for good measure.
I am truly the worlds biggest baby.
I bring this up because the other day I was reminded of an incident that happened about 13 years ago when I still lived out in Hollywood.
My house there was 1/2 mile down a bush lined driveway. It was extremely private and you could not see the other two neighbors houses (one above and one below) that shared the road with me. It was the perfect set-up for a suspense filled thriller where no one could hear or see someone being murdered.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
At the time of this story I was living alone with my 4 kids and 2 dogs. It was quite late that night (probably around 11PM), the kids were asleep and I was awake in the den smartly watching an X-files about Zombies from Haiti. I am pretty sure I was hiding under a blanket with only one eye peeking out between the scary scenes.
I knew I shouldn't be watching it but I couldn't stop myself. Story of my life sometimes.
About half way through the episode I looked out the window and saw that the hazard lights on my car had suddenly started flashing.
I think my blood pressure must have soared to near stroke level because I became extremely light headed and I couldn't stand up. I knew there was no way my cars light would suddenly go on by themselves. The car doors were locked and I had just glanced out the window at the last commercial to check for an impending Zombie attack and it was completely quiet and dark outside.
Now let me say that I am not like the typical woman in a horror movie who hears strange noises or has a friend go into the basement and then doesn't answer when called, prompting her to go and investigate (usually unarmed).
No siree. I could hear the scary background music, getting louder, waiting to reach a peak as I ventured outside, into the cold dark night just as the staggering rotting corpse descended upon me to eat my brains.
I knew better.
But the problem was I didn't know what to do. I was quite certain someone or something had come down the driveway and somehow turned my blinkers on as a way to lure me outside to do me bodily harm. And my heart was pounding so hard in my head I could not not for the life of me get it together enough to formulate a plan.
At this point I had regained bodily control and had run from the den and was hiding in the hall bathroom when I realized that if I didn't do something, whatever or whoever was out there would eventually try to break in and if it couldn't find me it would go after my kids.
I guess the mother bear instinct in me was stronger than scardey cat instinct because suddenly it all became quite clear. I crawled on my hands and knees through the hall into living room so as not to be seen through a window, fumbled for the phone and dialed 911.
It was such a wonderful plan until the operator answered and asked me for my emergency and I heard myself blurt out "There's something in my driveway that turned on my emergency lights in my car and has me trapped in house and I am afraid for my children's safety."
"Excuse me m'am? There's something in your driveway? Can you be more specific?"
Yes probably if I could think straight.
"Can you please send the police? I dont know what's out there and I need help right away."
"It would help m'am if you could elaborate so I know what to tell the officers to expect."
I seem to remember shouting into the phone:
"I DON'T KNOW WHATS OUT THERE BUT I KNOW IT'S NOT GOOD AND IF YOU DON"T HURRY WHATEVER IT IS IS GOING TO GET ME AND MY CHILDREN."
I imagine at this point she finally called the police and informed them there was a drunk or otherwise intoxicated woman ranting about monsters in her driveway. Perhaps they should send some psychiatric back-up as well.
An absolute eternity (about 15 minutes) later the police came slowly rolling down the driveway, got out and knocked on my door.
I quickly told them the story of how my car lights somehow got turned on and I knew someone was playing a trick on me and was sure I was in trouble and I was really scared and I had been watching the X-files so maybe I was overreacting but I didn't think so and I was glad they were there and would they please go look.
At this point they were probably thinking they might be needing that psychiatric back up after all.
To humor me, they headed over to investigate, clearly not understanding the danger that surely still lurked somewhere in the dark. I crept after them, making sure to look over my shoulder constantly to make sure whatever it was wasn't planning a rear offensive.
When the officers reached the car, flashlights drawn, they looked on each side of the garage, under the car and finally into the windows.
This was when they started to laugh. I mean REALLY laugh. Out loud to the point that they could not breathe.
I knew at that moment I was going to feel like a complete idiot and I didn't even know why.
When one of them caught his breath he motioned me over and pointed his light into the drivers side window. There sitting on the seat was my small dog who had apparently gone out the back door to use the potty then decided to take a snooze in the car through the open window and had caught her collar on the emergency flasher knob and turned it on. She was sitting there unable to move and probably pretty glad someone had finally come to her rescue.
Yep. I felt like an idiot.
Fortunately for me the officers were quite good natured about the whole thing and said it totally made their night and couldn't wait to get back to the station and tell everybody the whole story.
"You don't get calls like this every day" one of them told me.
Glad I could be of service gentlemen.