So tonight I am going to relish the fact that I do not have to get up early tomorrow and try to make a 9am meeting. In fact, I’m so relishing this fact that I've decided to take over this week's theme. Several of my friends have been doing this and I think it's an interesting way to learn more about people you think you know pretty well ;)
So, this week's theme will be "Trust Your Instincts." You know what I mean -- that time you had a really bad feeling in the pit of your stomach and everyone thought you were paranoid and then - boom - you were right? I know of several such occurrences in my own small world lately, so I thought it might be appropriate. I will of course begin -- feel free to join in if you like!
I am going to talk of one of the times I've had NO DOUBT that my instincts were talking to me, as they didn't leave it up for discussion. I was on my Freedom Trip 1997 with Tam and we were in the last leg of our trip, Paris for New Year's Eve. That whole night is a story unto itself, and a pretty good one, but for now I'm going to recount the incident I will never forget.
Picture this -- two radiant, joyous ladies in their late 20s, on their own in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We were on top of the world by this point in our trip, and our New Year's was turning out to be every bit as fantastic as everything else that had happened to us in the past two weeks. We were in an upscale Parisian apartment owned by a French man named … omigosh, I cannot think of his name right now. I can see his face and hear his laugh, but his name escapes me. Wow. Getting old sucks. (Tam, maybe you remember? Seems it started with an R…?). Anyway, he was also in his late 20s, and had family money. He was very hospitable and didn’t find it odd at all that his friends had brought along two American girls they met on the Champs at midnight. I knew he had family money within 5 minutes of meeting him for three reasons: 1) he didn’t work but talked of all his travels 2) his apartment was un believable, and 3) he was pouring toasts with champagne made at his family’s vineyard. Yeah. So anyway, we spent maybe an hour there with a smallish group of French people, all about our age, all beautiful, all who spoke English almost perfectly. We felt very welcome. We decided at some point to go to another party. Somehow on the way out of the building, Tam and I got separated. Well, it’s not a mystery – the elevators in Europe only hold about 0.75 of an adult, so we simply didn’t squish into the same one. I found myself in front of the building in the middle of the night with a gorgeous couple. They had been pretty quiet, but suddenly they were speaking to each other rapidly in French and telling me to get in the car, they’d drive me to the party. Maybe if they hadn’t been switching from French to English so I couldn’t understand what they were saying, my radar wouldn’t have gone off. Maybe if I’d finished my glass of champagne – but I had not. So as they tried to shuffle me into their tiny car, I pulled back. They laughed and told me I was being silly. I kept looking over my shoulder, waiting for Tam and the rest of the group to appear – it seemed to take forever. They were cajoling me, peer pressuring me to get in their car, going from coaxing me gently to gruffly telling me to get in the car.
Never in my life had I had such a strong feeling of danger curdle in my stomach. Every warning bell in my body was going off. Even if I’d wanted to get in the car, I don’t think my body would have allowed it. I turned around and went back into the building, right into the arms of Tamara and the others. As I was breathlessly trying to explain what happened, the couple got in their car, muttering in French, slammed the doors, and drove off into the night.
The rest of us got in cars, together, and went to the other party. (I should note that although we didn’t know the others much better than the strange couple, I had no dangerous vibes from them – we could both tell they were okay. And we were right.). And here’s the spooky thing about it all – we stayed at the other party for hours, and that couple? Never showed up.
I have no idea what would have happened if I’d allowed them to whisk me away into the Paris night. But something inside of me told me that would be a huge mistake, and I listened – and I am safe. That night went on to be the BEST New Year’s Eve I have ever spent anywhere. We made friends we were sure we’d keep for life. And we did, for a while. But then time happened and life happened and here it is more than 8 years later.
But I’m ever so grateful I trusted my instincts that night. And they have rarely let me down since.
So, what about you? Let’s hear it!