My brother and I had a running joke about my mother. She is quite jumpy and several times we arrived home to find her vacuuming and unaware of our arrival. The first time, my brother walked up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. She screamed and jumped and said how badly he scared her. So the next time, he ingeniously walked in, shouted her name, and when she didn’t respond, unplugged the vacuum cleaner. He was surprised when she turned around to see what made the vacuum stop and screamed and jumped and said how badly he scared her. So, the next time, he thought he would be smarter about it. He stood outside the front door and rang the doorbell. This made the dogs bark. She stopped the vacuum and opened the door and said how much that had scared her. Over the years, it became a joke. The only thing to do when you got home and found mom vacuuming was get back in your car and come home later.
Years later, DH has discovered that I am indeed my mother’s daughter. When he comes home, he frequently startles me. Last night I was brushing the dog quite vigorously on the back porch. I was tucking a big pile of fur in a trash bag and worried Moxie would jump off the table while I had my back turned. I heard a knocking and quickly turned back to keep her from jumping when the back door opened and DH greeted me. Unfortunately, my response was a blood curdled scream and jumping back 2 feet. He kept saying, “but I knocked on the door to warn you I was coming.”
The embarrassing thing about it is that I react in much the same way even when I KNOW he is in the house. I can be in the bathroom folding clothes and he walks in to ask me something and I will squeal and start. He has taken to announcing, “I am coming in the room now” as he approaches. I have no idea why I react this way. I just get startled when I am alone, or deep in thought. I wish I could control it, but I can’t. And in fact, I have actually had this same reaction at work. I had headphones on and was deeply engrossed in whatever I was doing and a manager approached me. Not receiving a response to his initial query, tapped me on the shoulder. Boy, you can see why the term gopher farm has been applied to cubicles. Within seconds, at least five co-workers popped up to see what had happened.
I guess I just have a jumpy personality.
So today, I am thankful for my calm hubby who never seems to startle.