January 31, 2011
We hosted our weekly rotating playdate this morning, and shortly after all the kids and moms left (a little after noon), our doorbell rang. I looked through the pane of glass on our door and saw that it was a normal-looking woman in her 40s, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt and holding her car keys. I didn’t recognize her, but I thought maybe she lived on our street and had some of our mail misdelivered to her or something. So, I opened the door a crack and said, “Can I help you?”
She replied, “I’m sorry, but can I use your bathroom?” No explanation as to why, and less than two blocks away, there’s a Volvo dealership, and next to it, an El Pollo Loco — both places with public restrooms. Plus, she had a car — couldn’t she drive to any of the dozens of shopping centers within a few minutes of us? I felt a little bad, but I smiled and said, “No, you cannot. Sorry! There are public restrooms in a restaurant one block down to your left.” As I was closing the door, I heard her say, “I can’t?” But I didn’t wait to hear more, I closed the door, locked it and bolted it.
We live in a nice neighborhood — I’m not aware of any crimes here in the recent past, and I also grew up around here and don’t remember any theft or crimes. We don’t get random people at our door — the closest to that are real estate agents or people from fast food restaurants coming to deposit advertisements near the front door. I’m sure chances are that she just really needed to go right then, but she really caught me off-guard. No explanation as to why she needed a bathroom so urgently that she had to knock on a stranger’s door, plus she was looking around behind me (thank goodness we have a long entry hallway, so she couldn’t see inside to where the boys were). I’m not a paranoid person, but I am home alone with two little kids (and a dog, but Atari, despite sounding fierce when he barks, wouldn’t hurt a flea), and who knows if she was scoping out houses so she (or someone she works for) could come back and rob us later? Or worse.
Perhaps I’ll go out of my way to do a good deed later this afternoon to make up for the fact that I possibly denied someone who genuinely needed help. That ought to restore the karmic balance!