Tuesday, March 27, 2012

False Sense of Security

I'd like to preface this by saying it is not typical for me to be left stranded places, but sometimes shit happens. I have a late class 8:00PM - 10:00 PM twice a week. Campus is also only a mile or so from home, so the term stranded is used loosely here. Also tales in which there are an enraged Inari are rare, so they should be shared. With that out of the way, here's the story.

So last night, as with every Monday, I went to class. The plan, as with every Monday, is that after class Aaron would pick me up so that I do not have to walk home alone. This was especially imperative last night as I spent the better part of the day rolling around on the floor miserable and sick. Not to mention that it is, in general, a terrible idea for a young woman to go walking alone so late after dark in any city and ours is no exception. Even in as nice of an area as we live. On top of that, it was cold since out here temperatures dip well under the 50's after sunset, even in the summer and expecting my ride to be there in a timely fashion -- I was not bundled half as well as I should've been.

I was sick enough that even despite my flawless attendance record at college, I was entertaining the idea of staying home. Unfortunately, my professor is a man of rebellious nature who does not believe in keeping schedules. On a plus note this means he does not mind if you are late or even absent entirely. On the negative this means I had no idea when the midterm exam will be. I tried to send him an email to find out, but as a terrible hippy, he apparently doesn't much bother with things like reading his business email prior to business. In short: I had to go to class.

So to class I went, only to discover the exam would be later in the week. Since I was already there, I decided to just seclude myself in a corner as to not spread my plague and tough it out. Class always wraps up at about 9:45PM, so I sent Aaron a text to come get me and headed for the parking lot. For whatever reason, he always arrives around 10:00PM anyway so as the minutes passed I really thought nothing of it. Then however more minutes passed.

And more.

And then more...

Bringing the time to 10:30PM. I sent a few other texts, but all went unanswered. Now I have to make this clear: had this not happened once before, I would not have been mad at him. A few weeks ago he had fallen asleep and left me stranded on a particularly cold night for over half an hour, but I couldn't really blame him for falling asleep. People get tired. They fall asleep. I figured AFTER that incident however that he would at least, in the future, have the foresight to keep his phone on or near him just in case. But yeah, apparently not.

I started texting a friend of mine to pass the time before finally deciding to pick myself up off the curb, cross the vast now-empty parking lot, and walk home. Livid. The combination of being sick, exhausted, and famished was enough to make the mere prospect bring me to seethe. The fact that Aaron was fully aware of these three things set me to a boiling inner rage. I dared some transient to try to mug me. I was going to ruin their fucking night with a combination of relentless feet to the groin and mace.

During my trek of anger I kept in contact with my friend just in case. So someone would be conscious and aware of my absence if worse came to pass. I grew up in Detroit. You make the best of a dangerous situation. However narrow the prospect of danger may actually be.

About halfway I get a call. It's Aaron, who is by the sound of it getting in the car right then. I bark at him that, "I'M WALKING!" and consider hanging up. Thus was my rage. However he sounds apologetic enough that I agree to just stay where I am so he can come get me. I was pissed off, not unreasonable. This was a calculated fury, not blind.

Earlier in the day we had made plans to go out together to get some dinner after class, so he extends that offer. As mad as I am though, hunger is far from my mind and I insist I just want a can of soup. At home. He also extends the offer to let me punch him, but I refuse out of fear that I may somehow damage him irreparably with my spindly noodle-arms.

At the turn-off to the road which leads to home, he stops the car to ask me again if I'm sure I don't want something else. Pho, to-go, perhaps. Hm...

I had wanted pho earlier, being sick and all, but did not want to sit in a restaurant angry and sick. Take-out hadn't been something I considered. I hesitate a moment before agreeing to go to our favorite pho place, that just so happens to be open late, and get some pho to-go. On the way and in the waiting area he continues to be apologetic enough that my rage has simmered down to a quiet seething once more and when he offers to walk with me across the street to get an Icee and whatever else of my choosing, while our order is being cooked for us at the pho place. I find my altogether bad mood lifted enough by this point to find this arrangement acceptable and we head across the street to the convenience store where I get a Coke, a large cherry flavored Icee, a little tub of icecream, and cookies with brightly colored M&M's baked into them.

Prize in hand, safely accompanied and ready to return home with our food, we cross back across the street and Aaron heads inside to pick up our order. I unlock the car to get in. That's when the creepiest creepy hobo staggers up behind me, totally obliterating personal space, and rasps something unintelligible at me. The dimly lit parking lot does little to make this situation anything other than something you see on an episode of America's Most Wanted, so I'm kind of eager to make him go the hell away.

I assume the guy is asking for money, since that is what they always ask for, and inform him that I have no cash on me. Normally that isn't enough to placate them though and they either continue to hassle you or become belligerent, neither of which I wanted in the dark, so I reasoned that I had no money because Aaron had taken all the money into the restaurant with him. The guy had seen Aaron leave my side to go into the restaurant. This seems to work and the guy goes staggering off toward the pho place. I climb into the car and lock myself in.

Talk about a false sense of security. Granted, Aaron was fully prepared to come back outside when he noticed the guy had cornered me. But still. How ironic that my whole lonely abandoned experience, where I should have been in the most peril, turned out to be the time of the night up to this point where I was safest. wtf?

The rest of the night was pleasantly uneventful. We returned home, ate pho, watched Netflix on the sofa and then I curled up in a ball and fell asleep on the floor of the computer room. Perhaps tonight I'll break open the icecream, I think I'm feeling well enough now.

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