For as long as I can remember my mother has been paranoid about crime. I suppose as owner/operators of a corner store my parents have experienced crime first-hand (numerous hold-ups, some at gun point). But her fear goes much deeper than that.
My mother can looked down the barrel of a gun and remarkably recover in a few hours. But mention poison around her and she'll break into a cold sweat.
This manifests itself into some obsessive behaviour. Living at home, if my mother stepped out of the house for even a moment, she locked the door. If I stepped out of her house to say, take out the garbage, I'd come back to find the door locked. To the outsider looking in, this seems like a rational thing to do - locking your doors. But peel back a couple of layers and that's when it starts to get weird.Me:
Mom. Why did you lock me out?Mom:
What if someone snuck in and poisoned our food?Me:
Yeah but you left me standing outside in the rain. Besides wouldn't you see them? You were in the kitchen.Mom:
They'd sneak in and hide. Then poison the food when we were sleeping.Me:
Let me get this straight. Someone would sneak in and hide for 8-10 hours inside our house just to poison our food? Someone really wants to poison us that badly?Mom:
It could happen.
Even though I was always tempted to close the debate with "If someone wanted to kill us that badly, wouldn't they just break in and shoot us?" I held back. Like most phobias, common sense plays no part in the rational.
Don't get me wrong. My mother is a wonderful person, who actually has a pretty calm demeanor. Although I suspect she does keep an eye out for shady characters wandering around with boxes of slug bait.
Years later I thought my mother was getting a handle on this - nope. Last week it popped up again.
I left a bag of vegetables outside overnight. My mother noticed right away.Mom:
Do you think the vegetables are okay?Me:
Someone might have poisoned them.Me:
Seriously? Someone would wander past and think, "Hey an unsupervised bag of Bok Choy, I'll just pull out my handy bottle of poison, which I always keep with me for moments like this, and..."Mom:
Well this is the big city. People over here are different.Me:
Different in that they carry bottles of poison with them everywhere they go?Mom:
I guess I shouldn't make fun of someone else's phobia. But hey, it's my Mom.