Wide Smiles, Dark Heart

I’ve had a post about contractors in my draft folder for 2 years. The impetus to finish it wasn’t there because I no longer own a house. But all of us use contractors, exterminators, and various other people to help us with the things we need to be done. Whether we own or rent, we’re all going to have strangers in our house, deliver to our door, or have access.

Even though bad things happen, they’re rare because most people are good. Even if they aren’t, fear of consequences keeps most of them in line. I’m no alarmist, but all of us who watch or read the news see a barrage of crazy stories where people misbehave. Frankly speaking, many of these encounters can be minimized or avoided if people are both aware and prepare.

I joke a lot about people making the mistake of saying things like, “…but what are the odds of that happening?” The odds of course aren’t high, but they are definitely non-zero. People who’ve had planes crash on them get the last word regarding what is “likely” to happen.

If you think about all the people you’ve known and stories you’ve heard, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all been on the perimeter of misbehavior. All of us have felt the shock of hearing or seeing someone we know do something bad. That effect is multiplied countlessly outside of our own lives.

One thing that everyone should do is at a minimum have a camera on their front door if they can afford it. Or one capturing anyone coming into their residence. Cameras of course tend to dissuade misbehavior. But not always.

You can’t research the people coming to your house or inside it. This gig economy gives a wider swath of different people the ability to move about. Whether it’s Uber, Amazon delivery, or any service.

Just remember that it’s your home and your private safe place. Don’t open the door if you don’t need to. And remember that anybody that comes inside your residence could be anybody, good or bad. Making the mistake of judging them based on their appearance  potentially can be a mistake. It doesn’t matter if they are a police officer, lawyer, or welder. People misbehaving come in all shapes and clothing. Studies prove that just seeing someone around greatly reduces your sense of danger or insecurity. The familiar by its nature disarms us. For those few people with ill intentions, most of them have crafted and perfected their words, appearance, and behavior.

Recently, I got reminded of this because of someone inside my bubble. The person turned out to be what my instincts told me he might be. I still have the lingering feeling that his presence on this planet affected a lot of people. And even though I should not say so, things might have happened had the universe not intervened.

I don’t want people to be scared as they live their lives. That’s no way to live.

I wade directly into the middle of strangers, sometimes even when I know there is a risk. But I make that choice for myself. Letting someone into my home is another thing entirely. My ex next door neighbor was a drug dealer. Drugs don’t make me nervous because a surprising number of people use them without ever behaving inappropriately. But all of us know that peripheral behavior often accompanies those who do. And then the people below me had a visibly suspect cast of characters in and out. Often it’s not the people with obvious characteristics of mischief and mayhem who turn out to be the creeps and monsters. A great number of them have a beautiful smile and show no outward expression of their intentions.

I know a few people whose lives were almost ruined by people with wide smiles and dark hearts.

Just be careful. Especially regarding where you live. 

PS The picture has nothing to do with the post. Yesterday afternoon I sat in my office chair as a hundred rainbows washed over me from the prisms hanging on the landing.


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