Monday, January 27, 2014

When bells go off

My mother always told me to listen to my intuition; something that I have learned was very good advice.  If something doesn't feel right or seem right, don't do it.  If it seems dramatic or not, I usually follow my instinct.  If I like someone; I like them.  If I don't like someone; I don't.  There isn't usually a whole lot of gray area.  If someone comes across as sincere and kind, I'll know it.  If shady, secretive or sneaky, I can usually detect that (unless, as many cases have proven - and you can read about it on the blog - people are just too guarded and disguised to be able to tell).  I'm not always right, but I try to go by instinct.

One of the first weekends that we had our camp put up in November, a guy came to visit who I had seen before, but never had the warm-and-fuzzies for.  He was one of those people who just rubbed me the wrong way.  I quickly found out why; he was a creep.  My friends tell me that I'm too quick to judge sometimes.  But hey, I do.

Creeper dude had been sent to help me earlier in the night to go and pick up one of our friends from the main road.  It was after the big rains and we needed a 4 wheel drive to get in and out of the area.  So, we went in Creep's car.  The minute we got away from the camp, he had his hand on my leg, telling me how attractive I am, and why don't I have a boyfriend, etc.  I totally brushed him off.  We went back to the camp and everything was ok.  Our friends stayed for a few hours and left.

I'm the only single girl in our camp.  My tent is the one (that shouldn't be, but is) on the outskirts of the camp, closest to the parking opening.  My tent should really be inside somewhere, nestled between the guys' tents, so it would be more secure.  But it isn't.  It has only bothered me on this one occasion; and that was one night when I went to sleep before everyone else and they moved on into the big tent (where the music was so loud that you couldn't hear a thing outside).

Creeper dude must have seen me go to my tent.  Everybody knows that I sleep earlier than everyone.  Now, in Arab culture, when you approach someone'st tent, you approach from the front and announce yourself. Most of my camp buddies cough or clear their throats (or shout rude names for sport).  I was alone in my tent, changing my clothes when I heard someone call my name from the side of the tent.  I didn't know that the tent's side door wasn't tied down.  Half Creep's body was inside my tent and he was watching me undress!  I had a fit.  I called my friend, MO (basically the Ring Master for our entire little circus) who immediately came over and reassured me that they had kicked Creep out of the camp and he would never be returning. (MO's girlfriend later told me that Creep had walked into her/MO's tent unannounced earlier the same night when she was half-dressed as well!)  MO said he and our guy friends would "have words" with Creep (I've seen their "words" before - up to hospitalization.)  They offered to switch my tent with one of the other guys.  They tied down and locked all the openings on my tent.  It was all good.

I've known MO for 10 years.  He's like a brother to me.  I adore him.  I've never had a fight with him about anything. Not small.  Not large.  He is someone who automatically understands my moods and my concerns, and acts on them without being asked.  When I travel, he hands me money (not that I need it or I want to accept it, but because it makes him feel better).  When I'm sick, he brings me, or orders me food or sends friends to check on me.  He takes me to the doctor.  He checks on me if he hasn't heard from me.  He gets my car fixed.  His family is my family.  His girlfriend is a dear friend.   He has a huge (and I do mean huge) circle of friends who have become my friends and invited me to their homes and into their families.  There is love and mutual admiration.

Back to my story....

So now, almost 3 months later, I went to the camp as usual.  All the friends were happy and chatting.  I went to my tent for something and one of the guys called and said that Creep was on his way over to the camp!!! They said they missed him and wanted to talk to him.  I had a FIT.  I don't like the caller anyways, so I hung up on him.

I went to the big tent to find MO,  who got angry at ME.  He thought I was overreacting and that I should talk to him later about it.

 I now listen to alarms in my head.  Respect is a big deal to me ("overreacting" or not).  Surprisingly (to even me), it took me less than 15 minutes to load all my stuff (sans furniture, of course) and dog and dog-belongings into my car and leave.   I don't take personal safety for granted (and you can refer to "Not Without My Camaro" for a case study).  If there was to be a creep in the camp and no one was going to be there for me, I was out of there.  No one tried to stop me.  No one came to help me.  The metaphor of "quietly packing up the tent and moving under darkness of night" applied to me.

I'm trying to gauge my own reaction:  was it OTT-me being dramatic, or a 4-department alarm?  I question everything and in "girl style," analyze the crap out of a situation until it almost makes no more sense to me.  I do take my safety very seriously.  I think if we, as women, let something go once, a creep will take it as an indication that he can advance.

What I never expected was that the situation with Creep would affect my friendship with MO.  Never in a million years.  This is a guy who has had my back for the past 10 years.  It went without question that he would think of me first.   I value our friendship very much, so I think it was worthy to talk it out.  I called him immediately the next day to talk.  I send SMSs to tell him that I love him and maybe it was just a snap decision and there was something I was missing or didn't understand.  (Take the higher road and just do it.)

So why hasn't he returned any of my calls?  Why didn't he come after me that night? Why didn't he send me messages in the morning?  Why didn't he understand my concern?  Why would he have ever considered inviting the guy back again?  I don't get it.  Creep didn't just do it to me, he did it to MO's girlfriend also.  He's a peeping Tom and who-knows-what-else.

I hate that I'm not going to go back to the camp again. It was my happy place.  What about my baby, Paco? What is going to happen to him?  What about my extended group of friends?  Will I not be included in the group anymore?  Sadness.

But ....  everything in life is a blessing from God.  You might not always know why.  Maybe something bad would have happened on the road on a weekend-to-come.  Maybe I am meant to be at another place and meet other people or do other things.  Maybe I shouldn't depend so heavily on people.  Maybe there is another lesson to be had.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens with MO.  I read his tarot the night before this all happened and it said that he is having petty arguments with many of his friends and family now and it is a situation that will continue until he can take a step away from it and re-evaluate things (like to travel and get a different perspective).  I could see by his facial expressions that I was correct.  He sent me an SMS this week saying that he was very tired and moody and that he would be in touch with me soon to talk.  I do value him; he is important to me.  I just wonder if waiting to talk is a good idea for me.  Once hurt, I tend to retreat and it is not a good thing for long-lasting friendships/relationships.  Once broken, the plate is hard to glue back together.  I'm usually on to something new.

I think I'll go visit my old old old old friends this weekend.  Recharge.


AG said...

I'm really glad you stood up for yourself and left! In that culture, as you well know, tolerating something even once can open doors for future negative incidents. The 'take you and your kindness for granted' mentality is alive and well.

Certainly listen to your friend's reasons for allowing Creeper dude back to the camp. It could be something such as Creeper marrying someone's brother's son's wife's cousin. You know how that 'respect' stuff goes.

Come home :) Unconditional love is abundant here <3

Naomi said...

Scary situation - I don't think its overreacting. Men sometimes underestimate how serious events like that are...

Desert Girl said...

AG and Naomi - Thanks ladies. I think you're both right. It seems like incidents like that are just testing the water to see how far they can go. I feel bad now so the validation helps. :***

Expat and the City said...

Yikes! What a creep. Thank goodness you weren’t attacked or worse. You did the absolute right thing by leaving the camp upon the announcement that he was allowed to return. That’s insane! It's all about respect and I'm sorry but Mo disrespected you and his gf BIG TIME! Even if there is a family reason that he was allowed back on they should have spoken with you first and explained why. Perhaps he could have come when you weren't there?

You did the right thing by leaving and I'm just sorry that happened in your Kuwait happy place DG. I'm sure with all your friends in Kuwait you will have another camping place that you love soon. <3

Naomi said...

Men will always see how much they cab get away with! And from my experience, Arab men have a very particular bond with their male friends that trumps everything else! From reading your blog its clear you value loyalty & respect in friendship & just right too! Its also clear how much you value your desert time, so I'm not surprised you feel bad from that perspective, but don't feel guilty! honestly you did 100% the right thing. Your friend is the one who let you (& his GF) down.

Anonymous said...

Besides your bells going off it this situation, but it appears that the bells are going off because recess is out and Kuwaitis are now so fed up with the the status of their country, that is so stagnated by an ineffective government at embarrassing levels, that they are considering, in one recent survey to immigrate out of Kuwait.

Bottom-line is they are no different than the sub-continent workers that they look down upon.

Desert Girl said...

To the anonymous person who posted a comment saying that I'm "desperate" - THANKS. You obviously spek guud EENglish and understood the point of my story thoroughly. I'm glad your parents raised such a fine example of outstanding humanity that you troll blogs and leave kind comments. Kudos to you and your ancestors.