I am a professional worrier and an equal opportunity one. I can worry about the most mundane things as well as calamities that, deep down, I know will never come to pass. And those I know will come to pass, like a big earthquake for instance, don’t really phase me. The worry stems from immediacy. Then there is worry as magical thinking: if I imagine the worst possible outcome, I am convinced everything will be well. Psychologists call this (fairly common) behavior “defensive pessimism”.
I was driving back from taking Jack for a walk today (yes I am aware of the contradiction) when that furry fellow spied a left-over piece of his favourite chew on the dashboard. He jumped up to claim it and inadvertently turned on the radio, scaring the hell out of us both. I don’t listen to the radio much any more – there is no ‘oldies’ radio station in SA, and, outside of the odd Bruno Mars sing-along, I can’t be bothered with the music that ‘popular stations’ play these days. I am a word girl and the me, free, he, we, see or yo, ho, bitch, stitch, itch, lazy-ass rhyming that passes for lyrics these days, just irritates the merry hell out of me.
So, once I had retrieved the smelly bit of ostrich sinew, I reached to turn off the radio. And then stopped. Because it was Bobby McFerrin.
I had just climbed out of my car, was distracted and talking on my cellphone when someone wrenched me around by my shoulder. I turned, thinking it was one of the Knead guys teasing me, only to find a large man I had never seen before – grabbing at my handbag.
I grabbed back, he grabbed again, I grabbed back. He grabbed harder – I screamed at him: “@#&* off’. He stuck a gun against my forehead. I let go of the bag.
Nothing focuses your attention quite like a gun in your face. Everything around me went completely silent. The barrel was cold and the gun was very black.