Serial killers around every corner?
I go through day to day life in paranoia about being abducted and murdered by a deranged stranger. I don't know why it started but in the back of my mind every day is the awareness of the presence of crazy people everywhere, and the fact that you can never be truly safe from them. I had nightmares as a pre-teen about shopping in a convenience store when a man with a knife comes in and gathers all those present to torment and kill at his pleasure. The nightmares never end in my death, though. I usually wake up after what seems like hours of my dream self negotiating with the killer. I tend to try to win his trust or sympathy in some way, to talk him out of hurting me. In my dreams I try desperately to have the power to stop the attack.
In my day-to-day life this translates into a hyper-awareness of my surroundings. For instance, I just got home from a quick trip to HEB. I went alone after David got home from rehearsal. He stayed home with Jackson. When I pulled into the parking lot, I looked for a well-lit parking space near the exit so I wouldn't have far to go after I came out of the store. I found one super close and pulled in. Except in the space directly in front of mine was a large man sitting alone in his old beat up car. Warning bells! Man sitting in parking lot waiting for his wife to come out or man sitting in parking lot waiting for a woman not paying attention to get too close? I didn't want to risk it. But I didn't want to be an idiot either. I sat in my car for a minute thinking about it before I opened the door and hustled into the store.
As I crossed the driveway another man in a yellow car drove past and distinctly slowed down and looked at me. He was white, 40ish and had a balding blonde pony tail. Serial killer or man with no class eyeing my bod? I hurried into the store.
As I shopped, I kept watch on anyone shopping near me? Is that a man alone? Did I see him in frozen food a minute ago when I was there? I study people as they pass; I make sure there is no one behind me or following me. I gather my items quickly and find a checkstand with a family in the line in front of me.
As I left the store, I resisted the urge to ask the bagger to walk me out. I didn't have a full cart and I didn't want to admit to being paranoid about serial killers. As I rolled the cart into the parking lot, I stopped in the well-lit doorway for a moment to survey the area around my car. The man in the car parked near mine was gone. Great. I saw no sign of the man in the yellow car. I hurried to my car, threw my bags in the back and left the cart a few yard away, not risking the trek to the cart return. As I drove out of the parking lot, I watched my rearview mirror for anyone following me and headed home.
So what is the verdict? Is this abnormal behavior? I have been known to drive past my house and cruise the neighborhood to lose a car that may not have been following me, but took a few to many of the same turns that I did. They probably just live in my neighborhood, but if they did follow me, I don't want them knowing where I live so they can come back later and...you know.
I am constantly on the alert for anyone showing interest in me at the Walgreen's; rushing my shopping so I can check out before him so he isn't waiting for me in the parking lot.
Don't get me wrong, I am not always hopped up on adrenaline fear all the time. This is just my normal behavior. I honestly don't think I would really be surprised to be the target of a serial killer. Not that I am special, I just almost feel...well...destined.
In fact, when I was a teenager at a slumber party playing around with the Ouija Board, it (or whoever was moving it and wouldn't admit it) told me that I would be found dead on the banks of the San Gabriel in Georgetown, the victim of a killer. And I wasn't incredulous. It (or the prankster) even told me the year. 1996. Of course, it didn't happen. I was a student at Southwestern University in Georgetown in 1996 and I was certain that each day would be my last. And when it didn't happen, I was relieved but I didn't feel off the hook.
So I am crazy in my own small way. Except this stuff does happen. Chillingly often. Tonight I watched an episode of Forensics Files. They profile cases and how they were solved using the forensic evidence gathered. Tonight, they profiled the 1995 murder of a mother and her 1 1/2 year old daughter. They went for a quick run to a local children's clothing store at 4 pm on a Sunday afternoon. The young mom just happened to have porcelain skin and black hair, which just happened to be the sick fantasy of the clerk at the children's store. She and her baby were the last customers before closing so the clerk simply locked the doors and attacked her right there in the store. And even more horrifying to me, he killed the baby too.
It just proves that you can never be safe. She didn't do anything dangerous or risky. She wasn't out at a club at 2 in the morning. She didn't park in a dark corner or walk down a dark alley. She simply took her baby into a children's clothing store in broad daylight. And that was that.
It is sad really, that I feel like I have to act like a paranoid lunatic so that I feel like I have some measure of control, some token protection against something so random and so unlikely. But then again, what is that saying? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you...