In my old position at my job, I used to go into people’s homes. Alone. The guys at work like to tell stories to each other about what kind of bizarre situations they get into. I rarely join in because my stories are generally even more out there than theirs and at some point it just seems like bragging.
For example: They tell about the time a woman answered the door in lingerie. Yeah, that’s happened to me too. But also I’ve had dozens of men answer completely naked. Or, even worse, I’ve had men “forget” I’m there and come back into the room naked when they didn’t start out that way.
Or maybe this one time a gay guy hit on one of my male co-workers. But I was hit on literally almost every day for the 5 years I was in that position. By both men and women. I was also groped by a gay man at that job. Being alone with people in their own home gives them a level of comfort that tends to not exist at say a bar or the grocery store. They are comfortable being gross or rude or creepy.
That’s not to say I don’t love my job. I do. But it has it’s own inherent dangers and weirdness. And someday, those stories are all going to get told. Unfortunately, I still work there and can’t tell them all now.
But I can tell this one.
Once, I was at this person’s home very early in my career. They lived in a trailer set deep in the woods that was acres away from any neighbors.
The woman was home while her husband was at work. She and I got to talking and I mentioned the decor in her house. There was a lot of Native American decorations. Flutes, paintings, jewelry, etc.
I also happened to notice these lovely woven baskets. They were everywhere.
My first pine needle basket
During the course of our conversation I mentioned how cool I thought they were. The lady, suddenly excited, told me that her husband made them. He apparently was Native American and had learned the craft from his grandmother.
I started telling her about all the crafts I do and how interested I was in learning to make these baskets. I wound up staying for a long time talking to this lady. She was much older and very nice.
Finally, at some point her husband came home. We had a repeat of the basket weaving conversation all over again and he invited me to come back any time and learn.
It came out so nice I kept it
I asked to come back that same night after work. Which they both were fine with.
So, after work I drove, alone, and in the dark out to this lonely trailer in the woods. I am shaking my head right now at the naivety of younger me. I cannot believe I was ever so trusting to do something like that.
At any rate, the man was there, his wife had gone out. That did give me pause, but he was very kind. And he did indeed show me how to weave a pine needle basket. He wasn’t creepy, he didn’t try to hit on me or touch me in any way.
I stayed for long enough to get the basket started and to learn how to finish it off. He even gave me the supplies to make more of them.
And apparently risked my life to learn to make it
It was only in leaving this man’s house that I realized he could have murdered me.
I mean, I hadn’t told anyone where I was going. I did not have a cell phone at the time. I did not know these people at all. I had had one conversation with them ever. And I was alone in his house in the woods at night.
Thankfully it all, turned out fine. But I have never tried or made friends with someone I met on the job since then. Also, I will hopefully not put myself in such a dangerous position to learn how to craft something in the future either.