Thursday, August 19, 2010
It's A Little Bit Funny, This Feeling Inside....
I swear, I am not trying to use song lyrics for every blog title. It's just happening on it's own. It's organic...I can't stop it. I know what I want to write about, and when I try and think of a proper title...BAM!....a random 70's or 80's song pops into my head and it's all over.
Oh my great gravy train! I just had a novel idea!!!! People should send me song lyrics or song titles and I have to find a way to blog about them!!! Who's with me!????......just my mom? Okay! That's a good start!! (She'll have me blogging Cat Stevens lyrics for months, so if you all don't want to read blogs entitled "Morning Has Broken," "Baby It's a Wild World", and "Peace Train" then you better participate). As I look up at the title I've chosen, I am wondering if it was a good idea. It sounds like I am getting ready to blog about that iffy feeling you get after you eat 3 volcano tacos from Taco Bell. And believe me....I could definitely blog about that. BUT, I won't. At least not today. (Maybe that title can be "I Don't Know Where I'm Gonna Go When The Volcano Blow...").
Anyway....I have a True Katiewood Story to share with you today.
I had to get up super early for work today; which isn't completely uncommon, but certainly not every day. Many 'a early morning and night I have walked the mile to and from work or have waited for the bus or a cab, without really worrying about my safety that much. I am, of course, always very careful and aware of my surroundings, even when I'm with people. My Karate teacher father instilled in me at a very young age that I need to be hypervigilant to the point of having a stroke every time someone is able to sneak past my spidey sense and into my presence without my being aware. I will for real go straight-up Chuck Norris on you if you try and scare me or sneak up on me. Just ask some of the innocent "quiet runners" that plague my neighborhood what happens when they try to silently run past me. I jump so far back that I almost cave in on myself. If I had throwing stars....ohhhh buddy.....look out. My point is that I am always cautious when I walk or wait for the bus, especially when it's dark outside, but I have never had my keen ninja code red warning go off......until today.
I don't typically wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep, and I usually wake up a few minutes before my alarm (much to my chagrin)...but I rarely wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep. But, that's exactly what happened last night. At around 4am, my eyes popped wide open. I immediately felt uneasy and nervous. I made sure no one was in my apartment (it's a studio, so basically, I sat up and turned on the light. And just in case you were wondering....no Edward Cullen). Then I laid down to try and get back to sleep, but I felt too nervous to sleep. For some reason, as I was laying there trying to bargain with God for more shuteye, I kept having thoughts pop into my head about getting robbed. It was weird. I wasn't a fan. Me no likey. I had this vision of standing at my bus stop and having someone pull up in front of me, pull a gun on me (I know....it freaks me out even to type it) and then try and rob me. All of these thoughts went through my head. What would I do? How would I react? It was really weird, because I just couldn't quit thinking about it. At some point I finally drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
I woke up and got ready for work; thoughts of guns and robbery had already faded from my memory. As I leave my apartment, it is still dark outside I made my way to my bus stop and hung out listening to some Regina Spektor on the 'ol Ipod. As I was standing there, a brand new red Mustang drives by me, pulls a u-turn and stops in the road in front of me. The handsome young man driving leans over and yells out of his passenger side window at me. I take my headphones out and step closer to ask him what he said. He asks me where Constitution avenue is. I tell him that it's not in Georgetown, but that I don't know how to tell him to get there. He tells me that he has been driving around for awhile and isn't sure where to find it. I tell him I'm sorry, but I'm not sure where it is and I step away from his car. Instead of driving off, he pulls into the parking space in front of me. I instinctively move away from the car, but didn't really think much of it at that moment. He starts typing things into his phone, so I assume he is using a GPS or google or something in order to get him to Constitution avenue. Then he leans back out the window and says that he needs to get to the White House and is asking me which way to go. First of all, it's 6:00am. What normal tourist needs to go to the White House at 6:00am?? And if he's not a tourist...then it REALLY doesn't make sense. His persistence, the time of morning it was, the fact that I finally noticed that his nose was bandaged like it was broken (not that that automatically makes someone a total creeper, but it just struck me as odd), and more than all that....I realized that I was pretty much alone at this point made me remember my incessant thoughts of robbery that woke me up at 4am.
The summer is tourist season in DC, so I am no stranger to people asking me where things are, but it was his persistence when I told him that I didn't know that finally freaked me the heck out. As I start slowly backing away from where I was standing, he asks me if I am at a bus stop. I tell him yes. He asks me where I am going. I didn't answer. I got goose bumps. I was officially scared. He then tells me that he could drive me to wherever I am going. I don't respond. I realized I had my work ID badge on, so took it off and I just started walking backwards away from him with my eyes darting from his face to his hands. I didn't care if it was rude or weird at this point. Especially since he had no problem being weird and rude. I would rather be rude than robbed....or worse. There was a gym about a block away that was open and I thought about running there, but I didn't want to turn my back on this guy. So I just kept walking backward facing him as he continued to talk to me and telling me that he would drive me to work. As I am walking, he begins slowly driving beside me. I decide that I need to get the heck outta Dodge, and in that exact moment a cab comes up over the hill behind this guy. I start waiving my hands and hailing him. The cabbie is trying to pull over and pick me up, but this guy in the Mustang keeps inching forward. So I start straight-up running, and I jump in the cab NYC style. I say to the driver, "Go! Go! Go!!" The poor cab driver just started driving, and then was like, "Go, go, go where? Are you okay?" I told cab driver what had happened and that the Mustang had pulled in behind us. I tell the cab driver to "lose him", and he says, "no problem", and pulls a u-turn right there and speeds off down the street.
My heart was beating a mile a minute when we pulled up to GUH. I wasn't just freaked out because the guy was obviously trying to get me in his car, but I was freaked out because I had just had thoughts of someone robbing me at that bus stop just a few short hours prior. What really freaked me out was that if I hadn't woken up in the middle of the night and had those weird thoughts, I might have handled that situation differently. It scares me to think that's true, but it is. I'm naive. I know I am. That guy had a brand new Mustang and he looked very handsome (other than the broken nose...WTH?) and well put together. Not that I ever would have accepted a ride from a stranger no matter what the circumstance, but...I might not have had a choice if I would have stood there any longer. What would I have done if he pointed a gun at me? Would I have run? If I would have run, would he have shot me? I don't know. It's scary to think about. It sounds so overly dramatic, but you just never know. I do know for sure, that if I wouldn't have already been thinking about being robbed, then I would have been less likely to walk/run away when I did. I would have been a little nicer and stayed longer even though I was uncomfortable.
When Wajh (my bestie) got to work I told her all about it. She was totally freaked out and told me that I had to tell hospital security since this happened near one of GUH's bus stops. For some reason, right when I was about to talk to security, I said to Wajh, "Wait...I can't do it. What if that guy really was just a lost tourist and wasn't planning on doing anything wrong? I don't want to cause trouble for no reason. Nothing happened. It's fine. Let's just forget about this, and move on...okay???" She says, "Katie....no innocent tourist is going to be out driving around Glover Park in their brand new shiny red Mustang at 6:00 in the morning looking for the freakin' White House. Not only that, he asked you to get into his car. You're not overreacting. You were scared enough to run. Even though you were able to get away and nothing happened, you have to tell someone in order to protect other people." So, reluctantly I did. I don't know why I felt so guilty all-of-a-sudden. If it would have been Wajh in the same situation I would have told her to do the same thing. But because it was me, and nothing "bad" actually happened.....I felt bad for saying something.
GUH Security told me to call the Metropolitan Police since it happened outside of their jurisdiction. So I called the Metro Police and they told me that unfortunately, without a license plate, there is absolutely nothing they could do. I told them that the reason I didn't see his plates was because while I was backing away I placed myself at the front of his car so that I could keep my eyes on him. It never even occurred to me to get his plate numbers. Isn't that weird? The officer told me that unfortunately, this kind of thing happens a lot. He told me that if I ever find myself in a similar situation, that the first thing I need to do, is ask the person for their license plate number. He said, "I know it feels weird to say that to someone, but if they are up to no good, then they are just going to drive away when you ask them that. If they genuinely need help or directions, then they will be more than happy to give you their plates or let you see them." He told me that most people are so concerned with not being rude that they won't ask for the plates or walk away if they're uncomfortable....but that is exactly what we need to do. My final take is this......skip the freakin' license plate and get away. Crazy things happen every day, and unfortunately, you can't trust everyone. This is hard for me. I grew in WV. It feels so safe there. Even where I live in Georgetown feels relatively safe. I'm so happy that I got that feeling in my gut this morning that something was wrong even before I got out of bed. And I'm even more thankful that I listened to that feeling. I'm gonna call it like it is....God saved my life. I can't explain why I woke up at 4am thinking about getting robbed. I can't explain why some guy tried to get me in his car this morning. I can't explain why there was a cab in Glover Park at 6:00am going towards Tenleytown. (There are never cabs that early in the morning...especially cabs going up Wisconsin and away from DC). All I know is that I am doubly blessed and that my Father came through on His promise to protect me. Can I get an Amen!?
The moral of this story is: If something doesn't feel right.....get. out. of. there!!!!! Don't worry about looking rude, weird, and crazy. Who cares if you overreact, as long as you are out of harms way. God gives us these feelings for a reason. Follow them. And to all my fellow single ladies out there....please, please, please be aware of your surroundings and never ever put yourself in a position where you feel uncomfortable. And if someone makes you uncomfortable....call the police.
I wanna hear from you. Have you ever had a similar experience? Do you know someone that has? What is some of the best safety advice you've heard?
Also....don't forget to submit your song titles for some future blogs! (I hope I don't have to say this...but I will....please keep them PG)