Anxiety and The Fear Of Being Conned!

basket bicycle bike cart
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

A few days ago I went into the local cycle shop to prepare for my trip through France. The Colonel had advised me to buy a repair kit and an extra inner tube or two. Pas de problem!

However, it is tragically my horrible nature to distrust everyone (except policemen, firemen, the nurse back in Glasgow who does the best “screening tests” for women (apologies gentlemen), some relations and Delia Smith).

I also distrust pretty much everything too (in particular, the locks on the doors, my ability to keep house plants alive and my hairdryer which is on its last legs and I’m sure about to die/explode/cause a house fire).

Trust for me is a tricky old business. As a somewhat anxious old bird I am convinced that I am going to be ripped off, conned, or the innocent young man outside the house is in fact a burglar casing the joint. I fear that everyone is a wolf in sheeps clothing, an axe-wielding murderer and I am the proposed victim. Why? A bit of history and I’m slightly unhinged I suppose.

So a trip to the cycle shop was, in my mind a perfect opportunity for someone to pretty sharply realise that I am a complete novice in this department, to take full advantage, and within ten minutes I’d have them sucking through their teeth, shaking their head and I’d be be leaving with a boxful of gadgets, tools and a warning that cycling on my own from north to southern France was not only inadvisable, but dangerous. (Unless of course I bought their most expensive bike, complete with a six week course of maintenance lessons). And not being the most assertive of women, I’d agree to it all. Then of course I’d curse myself and have to go through the arduous task of begging the Colonel to take it all back for me as I was too much of a wuss to have said a firm “no” in the first place and I certainly couldn’t bear the humiliation of setting foot in the place again. Wet? Abso-bloody-lutely! I am a complete girl’s blouse.

Apparently, this all stems from a lack of life skills, yet again.

Ahhh, but I am learning! I am a new woman! I have had therapy to combat this. I too can be assertive …

So leaving Claude the bicycle chained up outside, I headed into the shop with a confident smile and a breezy gait, (how a gait can be breezy I’m not entirely sure, but you get the gist), determined to look as though I was knowledgeable, capable and therefore unable to be taken advantage of. Ha! I’ll beat the buggers!

Perhaps the fact that everyone in there (and they were all men) was head to toe in Lycra and I was wearing a very pretty floaty little number might have been the first giveaway (see my post Finding Etta which might explain why I figured cycling in flippy skirts was a good idea).

So I gulp, give myself a mental pep talk and go for it.

“Please may I have a couple of inner tubes and a basic bike repair kit?”

Fabulous! Well done me … not a stutter or a wringing of hands in sight ….

The young man behind the counter with orange hair, a matching beard and a lot of earrings raises an eyebrow. “What size tyre is it for?”

Fuuuuuuck …..!

Ok I’ve been caught out. I have absolutely no clue. Should I have brought a tape measure from my sewing box? Time to come clean. Time to admit that I’m clueless. Time to put myself at risk of being conned. Fear kicks in, panic is knocking at the door. I am vulnerable.

I give a defeated sigh, accepting the inevitable, point to my beautiful Claude outside the shop, and say, “Um, I think I might need your help with that.”

Forty five wonderful minutes later and I have several new best friends and am sitting behind the cashiers desk (Jon is his name) on his computer showing not only him, but also four of the Lycra-clad men the wonderful website (The Atlantic Cycling Route) detailing the route of my proposed trip in August. Claude, my EBay purchase is now in the shop being twiddled with, checked over with great enthusiasm from my fellow cyclists, so much so that screenshots of the website were taken, a wife was telephoned and Claude has had the complete once-over. Rather amusing n’est pas?!

So I floated back on Claude, flippy floppy skirt thankfully not catching in the newly oiled chains (my new friend Jon behind the desk gave it a bit of ‘lubrication’ for free … (dreadful word I know, apologies …. a bit like moist, soiled and toilet … it’s the ‘oi’ words … shudder … can’t bear them) and I headed home on a high with simply the two inner tubes and a repair kit, plus some funny little plastic things to get the tyres off which he threw in for free. (I think he realised that I didn’t actually have a clue how to change an inner tube … I thought it involved a spoon end or something and a bit of a wiggle).

So you see, all is well with the world. Not everyone is a baddie, in fact, there are some rather nice people out there. And now all I have to do is google “How to Repair a Bicycle Tyre” or I could ask the Colonel. Alternatively my new best friend, Jon with the orange beard, did mention a series of maintenance classes that they have for only £10 a session …. might be an idea, he did recommend a course of three however …

Katie xx

Do you worry about being ripped off? Or axe-wielding murderers hiding under the bed? What are you frightened of?

32 thoughts on “Anxiety and The Fear Of Being Conned!”

  1. Well done! I tend to assume I’m going to be ripped off, but I’m so clueless about things like bike-fixing and car-fixing (and any sort of fixing, really) that I fluctuate between extremes of “ok whatever you say” and “no, I don’t believe you that I actually need a tire to go on that wheel”. And the downside of being single is that I don’t have a fall-back person to send in who might actually know whether a wheel requires a tire to go along with it.

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    1. Ahh now I completely understand where you’re coming from … I think I started getting a bit fixated by this when I was single too. I was on my own with my children for about twelve years (with a mini-break of a disastrous relationship in the middle) so like you, didn’t have the backup. And it’s REALLY hard! Well done you! X

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  2. I’m rather a naïve child being persistently 6 years old my whole life through so I’m afraid I tend to think people are being kind and nice and then realise later that I’ve been conned. Fortunately I have quite a positive outlook and a sense of humour which is wholly self-deprecating so I survive the blighters. Mostly. Where in France are you bicycling …. wherever it is will be wonderful.. My cousin’s wife just did the London-Paris for charity. Brave girl, says I! X

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    1. And I absolutely love your sense of humour! You’ve got the most wonderful nature … I’m cycling from Roscoff in the north down to Moliets et Maa (not quite as far as Biarritz!). Camping my way down there, so a bit of an adventure, but I’m taking my time over it and believe you me, if it all goes pear-shaped, I have no qualms about checking into a hotel!! X

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      1. My DEAR! That is a fantastic adventure … it will be amazing …. I am inspired by your spirit and look forward to hearing all about it. Oooh …. actually quite green (with envy not impending vomit) over here!! xx. PS: I gave consideration to the bad rep of Cyclists after your ranty post with which I agreed wholeheartedly. I have decided that those of us that are well-mannered must call ourselves bicyclists which sets us apart from the MAMILS and their odious ways. so I wish you happy bicycling xx

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      2. How very kind of you! And yes, I shall in future refer to myself as a bicyclist, yes, I am a bicyclist with etiquette. I wonder if having a large ‘L’ plate on my back might encourage those rude cyclists and drivers to give me a wider berth? I am so excited about this adventure … I wonder if a future dog, or indeed The Bean would enjoy sitting in my basket, eating croissants and bicycling around France! Xx

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      3. The Bean LOVES bicycing or rather she loves travelling in the basket. She did quite a lot of it when we lived in Oxfordshire. She also loves croissants an other French tidbits. On this basis she is happy to either join you or to give advices to a future dog. She saved me from a really dark place when she first came into my life. And continues to make sure that shoulder dwelling black dogs get short shrift. L-plates might make some of the arrognorami (that’s a new word formed by morphing arrogant and ignoramus which seems to fit the type perfectly) think twice xx

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      4. Aren’t dogs simply the best company. I’m glad she helped you. We had a beautiful golden retriever until last October … I do so miss her. When we’re settled I’m definitely getting another and probably a rescue dog too. I’d like to surround myself with dogs and have a proper garden again like Ali (Ali The Mindful Gardener, I don’t know if you’ve come across her?). I have greenhouse envy there! Where were you in Oxfordshire? I lived in a little village called Warborough just south of Oxford. I bet The Bean loved being in a bicycle basket! Katie x

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      5. I’m so sorry you lost your lovely girl – dogs really are the best company. I hope you are settled soon and that a dog will be home with you in no time. I will check out The Mindful Gardener … that is absolutely the right way to live life, I’d say. I know Warborough very well. I lived originally in Streatley (which is technically Berkshire) then moved to across to the Faringdon area, then to the Thame area and most recently was near Goring so almost full circle. Xx

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      6. You’ve lived in some wonderful places and I know them well! Before we moved to Scotland we lived just up from Streatley in a tiny place called Aldworth (fantastic walks along The Ridgeway at the top) where there’s an extraordinary pub and a very beautiful little church which is where we got married. We bought a house in Goring whilst we were there and renovated it completely which was huge fun doing it together. Isn’t it a small world! Will you move again? And where would you like to go next? Xx

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      7. Katie (my eldest daughter is called Katy by the way) this is amazing. I know Aldworth very well …. The Bell was one of our favourite pubs. My ex-husband and I had the cheese shop there … https://osyth.org/cheese/ but that would have been closed by the time you got there I am sure. Our house was the corner at the crossroads with the shop as was facing The Bull (sadly generally not such a good place as The Bell). We renovated the house and the shop space when it closed so it was effectively two houses. It is now one house with a business downstairs in the shop space I think. Anyway, I loved it there and I loved Goring and I loved the other places I lived in Oxon too. We will move once more and it will either be back to France (which is the plan) or if something catastrophic happens making it economically more sensible to stay here then we will find a corner of this vast country to call ours. It won’t be Massachusetts I don’t think but maybe New England. We love Vermont and Maine and Northern New Hampshire. This will happen when The Brains takes retirement sometime in the next two years. Goodness, I am quite gasping at what a teeny tiny world it is! xx

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      8. Isn’t that just extraordinary! We lived in a barn beyond The Bell right up at the top surrounded by the fields where one can see for thirty miles in every direction. Bitterly cold and exposed up there in winter and the heating was non-existent, but utterly beautiful; and our dog, Pebble would love bounding and galloping through the wheat and all we could see was her nose as she peeked above it from time to time. Wonderful times. My eldest son had a part time job at The Bell which he loved … they are such a quirky and kind family but woe betide anyone that they choose to dislike! Instantly barred from the pub! The mad Bridget next door (with the horses) with whom I stay from time to time and we chatter and natter for hours and put the world to rights. Yes, a happy time. I’ve loved reading about your cheese life! And also the comments from others … you have a wonderful following and rightly so! Xx

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      9. It must have been idyllic …. those ballistically cold winters notwithstanding, what a gorgeous gorgeous place to live. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful places in Britain (no bias whatsoever) …. we supplied The Bell with their cheddar and stilton for the crusty rolls in the old days. I am fortunate with my following …. this place does bring some wonderful people into one’s orbit. And you are definitely one of them! I hope the day is as lovely in London as it is here. I’m far too distracted by the birds to be of any use to anyone but I must get out and cut the vines (not grape vines tragically) off the front wall. It turns out that hard labour in the garden is rather good for the psyche! Xx

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  3. You win ‘Blog of the Day’ for innocently getting the words ‘Lycra’, ‘lubrication’ and ‘moist’ into the one paragraph. I am great advocate of the Taylor Swift lyric ‘I don’t trust nobody and nobody trusts me’.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. It’s garages for me. The association of Page 3 posters etc. But I have found a local garage where they are just lovely, like your bike shop. No sniggering or sarcasm or charging twice the price for little women. Love them.

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  5. I was guarded and suspicious of all humans until I got hooked up in Buddhism. Now I fight those urges with reminders of basic goodness and blah,blah,blah but I still keep my eyes wide and my ears open 😉

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  6. My husband is overly cautious, sometimes veering into paranoia, while I am overly trusting with an insane amount of faith in people. It’s led to some interesting discussions, but, between the two of us, we find a perfect balance of cautious trust. As long as we do everything together.

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  7. ‘Not everyone is a baddie’, me every time i’m stepping into public loos, o well hah. Great post, find you through mentalhealthathome’s blog. Y’all both real troopers for writing pieces like this x totally following btw

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  8. I love your blog!!! And this post is making me smile…cause I used to be really anxious about the intentions of people around me as well and guess what cured me? Cycling! Putting myself out there in the world, kinda vulnerable and helpless, with nothing to hide behind made me realize how helpful and caring the vast majority of people are. In my experience, being a traveler on a humble bicycle brings out the best in the people I meet and I have a strong feeling you will experience this as well 🙂

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