If I had to pick the most prominent characteristic of my neurosis, I would have to say it's my second guessing that goes on ad Infinitum. I can look at my kitchen counter and say, "this counter is yellow." Then, you could walk in with a never-ending confidence and obnoxious bravado and say, "this counter isn't yellow. It's purple." I will go ahead and adjust what my concept of purple is and move on with my life. If you say anything with enough confidence, you can have me believe it and my mind will go into overdrive to squash the nagging feeling that you're wrong. This is what makes me a good mark for a grifter, which is why I was the target a few days ago.
I noticed a car tailgating me for a block and was cursing him the entire way. As I came to the stop sign, he pulled up alongside me and said something. I rolled down my window.
"Are you ok," he asked. His wife looked on from the passenger seat.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said. "Are you ok?"
"You hit my car back there and didn't stop," he said. "I was honking my horn furiously and you didn't notice cause you're in your own world."
"I didn't hit your car," I said, already doing the mental gymnastics to convince myself I had hit his car. I pushed it aside.
"Pull over," he said as he pointed around the corner. "I'll show you."
My instincts told me to keep driving; that I didn't hit his car so it would be ridiculous to pull over. I have strong intuition, but I also have a lot of practice ignoring it, so I pulled over. He pointed to slight damage on his back bumper and then began searching my car for dents. He didn't have to look too hard since there are numerous bits of damage I've acquired from minor run-ins with a poorly placed cinder block next to my parking space.
"This!" he said. "This is the damage."
"That bumper has been damaged for months," I said. "That's not new."
"This is my paint," he said as he rubbed the bumper. He held up his fingers, now covered in dirt. I looked over at his white car and back at the black marks on his finger.
"That's not your paint," I said, pushing aside my instinct to apologize profusely. "Let's walk down the street and you can show me where the accident happened."
"It's fine," the man said. "Just give me your insurance information and we'll move on."
"Show me where the accident happened," I said. I was completely shocked by how resolute I was being.
"It's fine," his wife said. "We'll just call the cops."
"Show me where the accident happened," I repeated.
"We'll just go ahead and call the cops, then," said the wife as they got in the car.
"Ok," I said.
Then, they closed their doors and drove down the street. I was left confused. Wouldn't they want to call the cops while I was still standing her? Then, what I had known the entire time slowly started coming into focus: I was a victim of a scam and I had stood my ground.
I was incredibly proud of myself for resisting my urge to give in and hand over my insurance information, but then I saw my purse sitting on the passenger's seat. I realized I had left the windows open and the man alone with my car while I walked down the street insisting they showed me where the accident took place. That's when I had a second epiphany that day as I searched through my purse: those two were terrible grifters. They hadn't even bothered to steal my laptop or any of my credit cards from my purse.