P is for Paranoia

Confession: I take showers in the dark. I don’t have to anymore but by now it just seems normal. After all these years it’s an ingrained habit.

How did it start? I grew up in an awesome house with a big back yard. Beyond the yard was an enormous field. The farmer who owned the land rotated the crops every year: one year it would be oats, the next year corn and the following year wheat. There were a lot of fields and orchards in my little town (Town of Niagara). In fact the high school I went to was called Niagara Wheatfield and it wasn’t until years later that I even saw the connection. Lots of fields in our area. And to have one right in your backyard? Well, that was great for us kids. We’d run through the soft oats one summer and play Hide & Seek in the cornstalks the next. We’d sit at the edge of the yard in autumn and watch the mammouth machines (called combines) harvest the wheat. A few days later we would sit in fascination as the baling machine would make its passes, and every few minutes a big block of bound wheat would pop out of the top of the machine and fall to the ground. By the end of the day the field would be dotted with compact rectangles of wheat straw. In the winter, my next door neighbor would get out his skis and go cross-country skiing to rev up his heart rate in the mornings. And the field served as a virtual haven for snowmobilers in the afternoons and evenings. Late night revelers were also the norm.

There was always activity in that field. That, and mischief too. One morning we got up and discovered that our pool cover had been stolen in the middle of the night. Rumors around the neighborhood pointed to a few kids who decided it was exactly what they needed to make their fort in the woods, the woods that lied on the opposite edge of the field. My brother, who had a reputation for being a hard-ass (he still does), went over to the ringleader’s house. Of course he denied it but my brother is pretty intimidating and made a few “I’ll rough you up and kick your ass” threats to him and anyone else involved, and we suddenly woke up the next day to find our pool cover back in our yard. As life would have it, that kid, Bill, ended up being one of my best friends from the neighborhood. He still calls me to this day to chat and catch up. He often mentions that pool cover incident and we get quite a charge out of it now.

Anyway, like I said, there was always a lot happening in that field. Which led to a little paranoia within me whenever I took showers. Our bathroom had a full-size window and it always freaked me out taking a shower in front of that big-ass window! I was convinced that the snowmobilers could see in or the farm guys could watch as they bailed their hay, or the boys in the woods, who just might have binoculars. Since I often took my shower at night, I started taking showers in the dark.

That paranoia spread to other rooms of the house. Even now I can’t be in a room at night if the blinds in the windows are open. And when I’m sitting in my living room recliner writing or watching TV at night and I have the back door open because I like the fresh air or I want to hear the wind chimes, I have to keep the light on out on the deck so I can see outside the door…just in case someone would happen to be standing there. Granted, a lot of that might have to do with me watching scary stalker shows all the time but still…

I’ve often wondered, am I the only one who thinks that someone could be watching me? But then I drive down the streets in my neighborhood and notice that most people keep their blinds closed too, even in the daytime. Maybe we’re all just a bit paranoid…

Music video by Rockwell performing Somebody’s Watching Me. (C) 2004 Motown Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

How about you? Do you sometimes feel that someone’s watching you? Do you have to take showers in the dark?


Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.


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