Safety, yes — but from two steps back, please

I must have done something in a past life that has left me with this bizarre sense of guilt.  I’m not talking about the usual stuff — the Mom Guilt, that I’m not doing enough, good enough for my kids, or the Eco Guilt, when I forget my cloth shopping bags and have to get a plastic one, or the Politico Guilt, where I can’t wait for the stupid midterm elections to be over because I can’t stand to see any more of those damned negative ads at six a.m.

Nope.  This is the guilt that has no name.  It’s the feeling I get when a pass a police car — or, even worse, when one follows me for a mile or so.  I wonder if I’ve committed some random traffic violation, or if the kids are quietly misbehaving and I can’t hear them because Taylor Swift is warbling too loudly from the speakers — like the time when Cooper stood up under his seatbelt and hung out of the window and I got pulled over and reprimanded because he wasn’t buckled up properly.  There’s always a not-so-faint sigh of relief when trooper and I part ways.

Or like the times I’m in the grocery store or Lowe’s and Joanna or Ellie do something naughty, like help themselves to apples or climb up a lighting display, and I have to give them the what-for, and they start crying and screaming for Daddy, and I have to wonder if the other shoppers think I’m a child abductor or something.

Or when I’m waiting at the bank for my deposit to be finished (remember when you used to do that instead of using the ATM?  The tellers still have lollipops, in case it’s been a while for you.)  All those security cameras.  Me, just standing there, waiting.  Nothing to do.  Nothing to read.  Shifting from foot to foot.  Surely I look guilty of something, despite the kicky handbag from Talbot’s my sister gave me.  

It’s good that we live in a society that works hard to protect us from bad people, that provides the means for locating said bad people if a crime does occur.  It’s nice to have well-meaning citizens around who would intervene if a child was in danger.  But sometimes the constant monitoring starts to feel a little too Big Brother-ish.  Since I’ve already got two of those, I can do without a third, especially one that is omnipresent. 

Sure, let’s work together to create a safe and healthy world for all people.  But if you wouldn’t mind, take a step back.  Maybe two.  I just have a silly thing about others invading my personal space.

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6 thoughts on “Safety, yes — but from two steps back, please

  1. Did you say you have something to hid . You don’t want “Big Brother” watching you or reading your emails or tapping your phones.

    Who were you really in your past life?

    Maybe you were a revoloutionary; strring up students at all those colleges you went to. Or you taught those catholic children to rebel against the nuns or the head mistress. We all have read how you use to read “banned” books behind closed doors. And didn’t you over draw your bank account.

    As far as the grocery store escapades ‘ I can tell that you mis treat your children. No wonder they call out for help.

    Yes “Big Brother” has you in his sights and rightfully so. Who knows when you will unleash your fury and pick up a pen and write something for that paper you work for.

    Yes your “on the list”. Be ever vigillant. You never know when the TV is watching you.

  2. Oh my goodness I relate to this so much. Where I live we have tram ticket inspectors and even though I have never travelled without a ticket in my life I feel guilty the second I see them.

    Same thing when going through customs, even though there’s nothing in my suitcase but pajamas, a toothbrush and a laptop, those officers immediately have me feeling that I’m hiding something!

    Anyway I have nothing to offer but commiseration :)

    Thank you for a beautifully human post!

  3. I’m always terrified that I’m going to get pulled over – I’ve never had any horrible experience or anything, but I’m just certain some cop is going to pull me over and put me in jail because I forgot to show up for jury duty or some thing I’m completely unaware of!

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