Still Shocked By Myself

For I am a hypocrite in the worst way.

Carol Burt
5 min readJan 18, 2021


A woman rang our doorbell last night.

It’s unusual for the doorbell to ring now, since the pandemic. No one comes to our door and we go to no one else’s. It’s dangerous to go to other people’s homes, and dangerous to let people in who do not live with one.

So, the doorbell rang. It was pretty late in the evening. We were surprised. My daughter and I both went to the door from different parts of the house. She has a friend who rings the doorbell and then goes back to his truck so she will come out and talk to him from a distance. So, I thought it might be him.

Before I got to the door I could see the silhouette of the person at the door. It was a woman, with her hair up in a bun on the crown of her head.

Thinking it was someone my daughter knew, I went back to my reading in our den and my daughter went outside to speak to the woman. Shortly, she came to me and said the woman on the front porch was crying profusely and trying to sell her a knife for $20. My daughter didn’t have any cash at home with her, or I’m sure she would have given it to the woman. She’s like that, thank God.

Being the old cop, I decided I needed to investigate. Suspicion and a jaded outlook have long made me doubt what people say and I have a hard time taking people’s word for things.

The woman was crying and upon seeing me started saying she didn’t mean to cause any trouble and started walking away. Why are people so often afraid of me? All my life people have told me I’m intimidating but I don’t try to be and I’m a 69-year-old woman now, all wrinkled and melted.

She had a decorative knife in a case — some sort of hunting knife or collector item. She would like to sell it, she said, because she’s trying to save money to bury her boyfriend. He had died while she was away, she said. And she found him in bed, lifeless, when she returned. She doesn’t know what happened, but she thinks it may have been a heart attack. I think it may have been Covid, and she’s the second woman I’ve come across lately trying to save money for a burial, but, anyway. (I think the Covid death numbers are way lower than the reality).

The lady had no front teeth at all. Often that means meth use. But my daughter, who knows a lot about that stuff, being a former addict, said she probably just didn’t have enough money for dental care. Could be.



Carol Burt

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.