There is a discussion over at Annika’s blog about following your mommy instincts when it comes to the all-important question of Strangers: Good or Bad? And in that vein, I thought I would relate to you a small story.
I am on an e-mail list for LA moms. It’s mostly exactly what you think it would be: nannies, casting calls, casting calls for nannies, and queries about what the fuck that helicopter was doing circling my house for three hours last night. Just often enough to keep me from unsubscribing, though, an interesting tidbit comes through. The other day there was a frantic e-mail from a woman who had been in Trader Joe’s, minding her own business, when she heard a little boy say to his female caretaker, “I miss my family.” “I am your family,” the caretaker replied. The two finished their shopping, and when it came time to sign for the credit card, she let the little boy sign the name.
The woman who wrote in to the list was appalled. Clearly, the boy had been kidnapped by this monstrous beast! Kidnapped, taken to Trader Joe’s, and forced to sign for groceries he not only had not chosen himself, but which included no sugary cereal at all! Now only she could save him. She rounded up store employees and shared what she had heard with them. She tried to get them to follow the woman out to the parking lot and get her license number. She asked the list whether she should call the police. Eventually she did call the police, and they refused to do anything. Would. You. Believe. It.
What surprised me even more than one person overreacting was the number of people who wrote back in support of her, saying Follow your instincts! Go with your gut! Call the police! I believe that instinct is important, and generally guides us well. But where do you draw the line between Going With Your Gut and Going Totally Nuts? Because, to me, this thuds right into the latter category.