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Cheryl Hughes: Expecting the Unexpected

I think I’m going to have to disable the Siri app on my iPhone.  Siri has taken at least five years off my life.  Let me explain.

I talk to myself out loud.  I don’t know when that habit started, but I’ve done it for years.  Evidently Siri can’t distinguish between the mutterings of someone like me and a customer’s serious inquiries.  I can be in my kitchen, loading the dishwasher, and wondering out loud at a problem that needs to be solved, something like, “I wonder who I know with a Bobcat that can move that dirt?” Because Siri knows everything, she will suggest: “There are five people in your area who own Bobcats.  Here is a list.”


Thinking I’m alone in my own house, I will nearly jump out of my skin at the sound of Siri’s voice.  It takes me a good ten seconds to realize it was my phone talking to me, and fifteen more seconds to calm myself from the misconception that I am a victim of a home invasion.

I think I’ve told you before that Garey tells people he can sleep soundly at night, knowing I’m in bed next to him, because in the event of a break-in, I will quickly dispatch the ne’er do well before Garey is even fully awake.  He says this because I get very angry when I am frightened.  I go into a heightened sense of alert, and I come out swinging—both figuratively and literally.

I’ve thought about this oddity in my personality, and I think I know what it is.  I have an expectation of how events should unfold.  Anything that comes out of left field, shocks me for a few seconds.  The strange thing about that is my daily life is filled with anything but the expected. 

There are other people like me.  I’ve met them personally or I’ve heard stories about their situations.  My sister told me about an appraiser friend who was asked to appraise a house that was a point of contention in a nasty divorce case.

The husband and wife in this scenario were at one another’s throats over everything they owned: the house, the vehicles, the contents of the house, and the horses.  The couple couldn’t agree on anything.  The husband came up with what he considered a brilliant plan.  “We’ll just let the horses live in the house,” he announced, so he did.  He put the horses in the house until a settlement could be reached. 

The only problem being, the husband failed to tell the appraiser, so unbeknownst to the appraiser, he was entering a house that was now home to two horses.  The appraiser was moving through the hallway and upon arriving in the living room, he heard a loud snort and a “Neigh!” behind him.  He turned around and found himself face to face with a horse.  He, like I would have done, nearly jumped out of his skin.  He left the house immediately, called the couple, and reported that he was licensed only as a property evaluator, and having no knowledge of equine values, could not appraise a house with a horse.

I will probably always view the unexpected as dangerous, if only for a few seconds at a time.  It might take a few years off my life, but my family can rest assured they’re always safe when they’re with me.



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