Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin vulnerabilis, from Latin vulnerare to wound, from vulner-, vulnus wound; probably akin to Latin vellere to pluck, Greek oulē wound
Date: 1605

1:capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2 : open to attack or damage : assailable
3 : liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge

When my husband is at sea I sometimes feel this way. It’s a strange sensation that I feel most when he first leaves and then again just before he comes home, usually beginning around day 24 or 25.
I first noticed this feeling while driving. There was a time 5 or 6 years ago when I was a bit of an aggressive driver; a vehicle tailgating mine would find they suddenly had to stop short when I slammed on my breaks and stuck my finger out the window. Not very lady-like I know. Eventually I graduated to not sticking my finger out the window and just pretending to have seen a cat or some wildlife that made me stop so suddenly, but I still had the evil sly sneer on my face when I glanced back at them in the mirror. Luckily I have grown up enough now that I no longer slam on my breaks when someone is riding my stern a bit too close. If they are terribly aggressive I will pull over, right off the road if it’s safe to, and let them pass. Now, here’s the vulnerability part. If I’m feeling brave (and usually I am) I’ll smile a REALLY big fake smiley and wave vivaciously at them hoping they somehow will feel bad about their act. But if I’m missing my sailor or feeling especially alone in the world I will look away and not make eye contact because horrible visions of being followed and further harassed fill my head! What if they follow me home! What if they try to smash into my car with theirs! What if….?! It’s ridiculous I know, and to tell the truth I often miss the girl who thought nothing of flipping off some meathead in a huge truck with truck nuts and a NASCAR sticker.
Just a few moments ago a car smashed into a snow pile at the entrance to our driveway. I heard a loud squeal and a crunch and then a revving engine and looked out the window of my rental to investigate. There perched atop the snow pile was a black sedan. The car’s front axel was entirely off the ground about 5 feet off the pavement and onto MY yard and MY snow pile. I did not recognize the car or the male driver and I called the police. A few years ago, before marriage, before knowing the feeling of security that only my husband can offer me, I would be been out he door with a snow shovel, a phone, and a mag light showing no fear and even offering to help push this car back onto the road. Today I peaked through the curtains and waited with my breath held for the police to come – which they did promptly. A tow truck was called and the whole thing is now over. But that one incident will have me feeling on edge for the rest of the night. He comes home tomorrow.

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