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After over ten years, we decided to sell our 1997 Honda Civic. We bought a 2012 Civic as our upgrade. My husband is the kind of person who keeps very good care of his vehicles and we drive them long and hard.

My husband put a for sale sign in the window of our old Civic and the next day a man who is working on a construction site across the street called to make an appointment to see it.  I had asked my husband to give it away to a service that sells cars and gives the majority of the sale price to your favorite charity. But my husband insisted we would be able to give more to our favorite charity if we sold it ourselves.

I didn’t want him to meet with strangers, drive with strangers, and be alone with strangers, because I have heard of several people who have been killed selling cars on Craigslist.

I was happy someone that worked across the street wanted to see the car before my husband put the ad up on Craigslist.

The night my husband was going to show the car, we talked on our cell phones to each other. I opened the window of our third floor condo and looked at my husband as he stood on the street. A man in a white truck pulled up. I said into my cell phone, “Is that him?” My husband asked the man a question, and then told me, “Gotta go.”

I stood in our window and mentally noted the way the man and the woman with him looked. She weighed 100-110 pounds. She had straight black hair pulled into a ponytail. She was less than 5 feet tall. He was wearing a muscleman white t-shirt and jeans that were baggy without a belt. He wore plastic sandals with socks. His hair was in a crew cut. They drove a newer model large white truck.

I made these notes, because I knew that these people were about to get in our car with my husband and drive off. And if anything happened I wanted to be able to give the best details I could to the police.

At one point both the man and woman looked up at me in the window. “Good,” I thought. “They know I am watching.”

The man took the driver’s seat of our car, and drove off, the woman stayed behind. I closed the window and went to my desk to check my e-mail.  Not too much time passed and my husband came running into the condo with the thumbs up sign. “You sold it? Does he have to go get the money?” I asked.

On his way out the door, my husband said, “No, he has the money with him.”

At dinner that night my husband asked, “Was it your illness or your personality that made you watch those people so closely?”

“I don’t know.”  I said, and then continued, “When I was in my early twenties, before I ever got sick, I trusted everyone. I would bring strangers home who I had met in the park, or on the ferry, or at a restaurant. I wasn’t afraid or suspicious back then.”

“Were you really scared?” He asked.

“No. I was just considering the possibilities and being cautious. If I was really scared, I would have been with you.” I said.

Old cars, new cars, old ways, new ways, this illness changes and morphs over time. Yes, I am paranoid every day. I guess it comes with the diagnosis, but when I’m not psychotic I can often keep the paranoia from causing me problems or being too disruptive in my life.

Maybe, in ten years, when we are ready to sell our new car, I will have to ride along in the car with my husband to reassure myself that he is safe. For now, I am comfortable at the window which is far from where I would have been ten years earlier – I wouldn’t have concerned myself at all.

Like time, the illness marches on. I only hope it doesn’t destroy all the best parts of me.