He Thought I was a Girl

When I was 12 I was mistaken for a girl, not in person. I didn’t look anything like a girl and I didn’t dress like one so that never would have happened. Nope, it was my voice.

I don’t remember what time of year it was, but my mother had taken my sisters along to run some errands so I was home alone. I do remember that being able to stay by myself was a relatively new privilege and that I felt very grown up to have the house to myself.

At some point during the day there was a knock on the door so I went to see who was there. When I looked through the little peephole there was a man at the door. He was wearing a sports coat, but it was open and I could see that he had a gun in a holster.

I would have pretended that no one was home, but as I approached the door I yelled out “who is it” and received a reply along the lines of “Ma’am this is the FBI” or some other similar identification.

I didn’t believe him because I couldn’t imagine why the FBI would be at my door. And I had never seen someone carrying a gun through my neighborhood so I was a little anxious and just a little nervous.

So when I responded to him I said that I was getting dressed and then he said “that’s ok ma’am, I can wait.” I was furious that he thought that I was female, but I was still frightened by the gun so I called the police and told them that there was a man with a gun at my door.

I went into one of the bedroom and waited for the police to arrive. Just a few moments later a squad car pulled up and two officers got out and went to speak with the man at the door. I saw all of this happen because I was watching it through the blinds in one of the bedrooms.

It only took a few minutes for the police to confirm the man’s identity but to me it felt like a long time. They came to my door and told me that I had done the right thing in calling them, but that I shouldn’t be scared because he really did work for the FBI.

It turned out that the reason he was there was because my next door neighbor had applied for a job working for President Reagan in the White House. So per SOP the FBI engaged in a background check upon her and wanted to speak with us about that.

Years later the thing that sticks out to me more than anything is not that the FBI was at the door and not the gun, but the irritation I felt at being called a girl by that guy.

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