When I was 22 I moved out of home for the first time. I had bought my own place in a suburb I knew to be a little rough, but it was all I could afford. I figured it would make a good investment. I chose to live alone, which is an experience I highly recommend for anyone at some stage in their lives.
A couple of weeks after I moved in I received a knock on my front door at dusk. I kept the security screen firmly shut, only opening the wooden door. Standing on the threshold was an angry-looking man who I had never seen before, claiming to be my neighbour. He had a flat tyre, he told me, and asked if he could use my car jack. I told him I did not have a car jack. He told me I must have one, telling me I had a car in my driveway that would have a car jack in it. Perhaps we could go and investigate together? My mother drummed 'stranger danger' into me from a very young age, so there was no way I was ever going to unlock my door to this man. I explained to him that my car jack had rusted (which was actually the truth) and that he should call roadside assist. He grew very angry with me, and I felt very shaken. However, I shut and bolted my front door and walked away.
Every now and then I wonder about this situation. Am I over-sensitive and rude, or do I just have a strong sense of self-preservation? I genuinely could not have helped this man, but I also would not have helped him if I could out of a need to feel safe.
This morning, when doing research for a story, I came across an old article on the serial killer, Ted Bundy, who used to wear a sling on his arm or plaster cast on his leg and ask young women for help. If they complied he led them to a secluded area and murdered them. Now I have decided my strong sense of self-preservation is a good thing after all.