Of getting my ass kicked.
A story from many years ago, when I was a younger man, and it was midnight, and I was out of smokes. The convivence store was a mile away, it was a warm summer night, so I decided to take a walk. It’s a college town, pretty quiet, I’m white and male and not worried. Until…
I reach a crosswalk at a stop light and am crossing the street on the green. A jeep comes flying up and screeches to a stop against the red just as I am crossing. I give the car a look – just that – a look of “what the hell?” Suddenly, the obviously drunk occupants start yelling at me out their windows about how they are going to kick my ass.
I take off running. The light turns green and I hear the car burn rubber doing a u-turn to follow me. Now I knew this neighborhood like the back of my hand. I leave the sidewalk and cut through some houses and into the alley. Again the sound of rubber and road and u-turn. I’m running down the alley while my limbic system is calculating my options. Flight? Check. Fight? Against four drunk assholes? Not an option. How about hiding? Yes. Hiding is a solid option. There’s a house of a friend just a block down. That’s my goal before the headlights start coming down the alley.
Running hard at this point; in the dark. I see an animal in the alley next to trash cans. Considering the threat level I don’t care as I run by and see it is an enormous skunk. I’m moving too fast for it to even react. There’s the fence to the back yard! I vault it with adrenaline enhanced accuracy and roll myself into a ball like an armadillo next to the fence as the headlights sweep the night.
They pass. I take a deep breath, the first in about 90 seconds. But I ain’t going anywhere. I wait. A minute later, headlights from the other direction. They are determined to find me. I wait. One more pass. I wait some more tucked into the corner of the yard impersonating a pile of trash, a rock, anything but a guy looking to buy some smokes who pissed off some drunk rednecks hell bent on punching someone.
I waited about half an hour there until the coast was clear before completing my mission. I didn’t even wait until I was out of the store to strike a match to that first cig. And I kept to alleys on the way home; my head on a swivel.
I can’t imagine having to worry like that all the damn time, like many do, just for walking to the store, or jogging, or just being.