(Courtesy of backtothefuture.wikia.com)
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein
The times I’ve screwed up most in my life are the times when I’ve ignored my intuition.
Intuition nudges me in different ways on different days. Could be (and often is) something simple — which driving route to take or a particular item to buy. Sometimes the issues are weightier, at which point intuition wades in bearing a klaxon that you’d think I’d have no trouble hearing.
What is it about ourselves that makes us ignore such blatant and visceral alarms?
Back around 1987 or ’88, my first husband and I found ourselves out of work. The corporate position I’d held had been liquidated due to a consolidation and subsequent office move out-of-state. As for himself, well, he was out of work more than he was in (harbinger to life with an immature dweeb).
At any rate, finding ourselves somewhat at sixes and sevens, we opted to sell most of our stuff, put the rest in storage, and take a little adventure. The plan was to travel down to Florida to see a friend, then out to Colorado to visit my sister, and then head back-on East (via Michigan and another friend) where we would squat (briefly, one hoped) with my disapproving parents while we found new jobs. (This, of course, was back in the day when jobs were a wee more plentiful than they are at present.)
All in all, things went well. The car behaved. The cat (yes, we had the cat with us because my father swore he’d have her put down if we left her with them — nice, huh?) took to traveling like a fish to water, laying along the back window while we traveled. But somewhere — briefly — an ominous wrinkle appeared.
At this late date, I can’t tell you where we were when it happened. We’d pulled off the highway at a large rest stop because I needed to use the bathroom. The minute we parked, the orange warning sign in my head went off. “Come in with me,” I said to the dweeb.
“I don’t need the bathroom,” he said.
“I don’t care,” I said. “Just come with me.”
He wouldn’t, so I went in alone with the Star Trek “red alert” blaring in my mind.
The interior of the place was maintained and well-lit. There were other people around, both men and women. But there was this guy…
I can see him in my head to this day. Tallish. Slender. In his 30s probably. He glanced at me as I came in and that’s when the warning in my brain grew really hot. I knew he was the reason I needed to be worried. I probably should have turned right around and walked out, told hubby to drive on to the next stop or made him come back in with me. But I talked myself out of it, told myself to stop being so silly, and went into the ladies bathroom as another woman came out.
I entered a stall, sat down to pee…and the door opened. A pair of men’s shoes walked past my stall and went into the stall next to me. The walls were high enough that he couldn’t look over at me (at least I don’t think he could; I didn’t dare look up to find out, couldn’t bring myself to do it). I hurried up the peeing (as much as anyone can) and bolted, racing for the car. When I got in and slammed the door, the dweeb’s emergency light finally went on.
“What’s the matter?”
“That guy,” I said, motioning with my eyes where the said individual had just come out of the building. “He followed me into the bathroom.”
It would be nice to say that my former husband confronted this guy, but he didn’t. Would it have done any good? Who can say? Should we have gotten his license plate number and reported him to the police? Probably. Could I PROVE it was him? Nope. All I saw was his shoes. All I felt was the hot wire warning that went down my spine when I saw him.
That incident leaps to mind every time my intuition kicks in. There are still days when I talk myself out of doing what it’s telling me to do (and days when I regret doing so), but mostly I try to follow that secret voice at my core.
And the dweeb? Well, he’s one of those things intuition warned me about. Sometimes I’m a slow learner.