Friday, October 9, 2009

Why having your own stories to tell can be scary

It's Homecoming Weekend, so some writing program alumni got together at a local pub.  I hardly had a problem with the smell of alcohol (I can't actually smell anything right now because of my allergies); I didn't get anxious about being around it at all.  I talked and listened to stories about finished novels and teaching and creepy store clerks who use your first name after seeing your credit card and try to hook you up with eligible members of both genders without feeling like I was going to throw up.  Yay, me! 

When I got home, two young men dressed in suits were walking slowly through the parking lot, and I got a tad nervous.  I sped up, so I wouldn't cross their paths, and then so did they, which freaked me out completely, so I sped up more and did my special only-open-the-doors-enough-to-get-through-and-then-let-them-shut-and-lock move, hoping they were there to pick someone up and would have to wait to get in, giving me time to flee up to my apartment.

No such luck.  They sped up more but still had to reopen the door with their key cards.  I could tell they were suddenly in a worrisome hurry, and I started bracing for a confrontation. 

I should have taken the stairs, no matter how much my feet hurt, but I knew I didn't want a chase up a stairwell, so I waited for the elevator.  I don't know if he was drunk or high, but one of the guys got way to close to me and started mashing the single elevator button, apparently so addled he didn't realize the reason the button stopped glowing was because the elevator had arrived. 

I wondered if I should let them get on, pretend to tie my shoe, wait for the door to close, and sprint/limp up the stairs, hoping they weren't getting out on my floor.

Then a marvelous thing happened.  The other guy with Mr. Under-the-Influence (UtI) actually pulled Mr. UtI further away from me.  When the elevator opened, he sort of manhandled Mr. UtI into the elevator and effectively trapped him on the other side of the elevator until I got off and limped as quickly as possible to my apartment where I locked the door with great enthusiasm, trying not to remember the way Mr. UtI had been trying so hard to reach past his companion, so he could touch me.   

I never saw any of this directly because I was Not Making Eye Contact with all my might, but I was impressed by what I saw out of the corner of my eye.  It was like a sheepdog herding sheep.  Maybe the good guy was a post position basketball player?  Nah, too small.  Maybe a wrestler?  Anyway . . .

To the guy who shielded me from his drunk friend tonight: my thanks.  Seriously.  (Thanks also to God and whatever guardian angels may or may not exist and have to work overtime to keep my mom from freaking out.)

To the bartender who mocked my my sadness that his bar did not serve hot chocolate or root beer: just saying.

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