Friday, October 1, 2010

Rattle, rattle

Tonight I parked over by one of the several universities here, a spot I've parked probably dozens of nights before, though I haven't been there in many months, and haven't parked there regularly in over a year now. It's a very busy area, but also residential and usually very safe and relatively quiet.

By about 2am, I was very tired, but working on my relay/timer microcontroller project for my refrigerator. Was just about to go to sleep, when I hear the unmistakable "rattle rattle rattle" of a spraypaint can. And something totally different happened. Instead of an immediate flight or fear or panic response, or even anger and frustration, my first instinct was confrontation! This was a big difference for me, and a big surprise to me as well. I didn't bother with peepholes or yelling; I wanted to get up close and personal into this. I didn't feel cornered or want to retreat, I wanted to push back! I jumped out of the van almost instantly, and, sure enough, suprised a spoiled punk white kid standing next to my van with a spraypaint can, who immediately set off to running down the street before I could say a word. I looked at my van, and he hadn't had a chance to even make a single mark yet. Across the street, on the other side, watching, were three of his buddies, obviously spotting for him. They just looked at me, frozen.

I looked around some more. I usually park in diagonal spot where I'm very visible, but tonight I was on the side of the street, where it was very dark and secluded on the curb side. Sure enough, that's where the punk was planning to create his "masterpeice" on my truck. OK, my mistake.

Again, without fear, but with some resignation and effort (I was exhausted), I packed up my stuff, and drove off for a less hostile environnment. I found a bunch of much more visible spots across the street, but decided I didn't need the hassle, and set off for the quiet suburbs instead. I found another bunch of good spots just a block away, but, standing right there, and looking frozen, were the three kids who were standing around spotting for the "artist". They just looked at me with apprehension. I just looked at them, not so much angry or frustrated, but, what's the word?, focussed. I studied all of their faces as I passed by.

I found a lovely quiet suburban spot just a few miles away, on the outskirts of the city, and a short bus ride from where I needed to be in the morning. Great!

I really do feel like a different person. I'm definitely not the scared little squirrel that first set off on his own almost three years ago. Not only can I manage now, but I can do a lot more by instinct than I ever knew how to do at all.

1 comment:

-Heidi said...

I had a similar experience! One night I heard someone(s) on top of my van. They (two large girls about 17 years old) spotted a boat up there and thought it would be fun to ride it. They were bouncing up and down when I flew out of the van and yelled in my deepest voice... they jumped off the van and I'm pretty sure one of them got hurt - I saw her jumping down the road on one leg. I don't usually handle these types of situations that way, but "felt" that was what was called for. Good instincts on your encounter!