Saturday, February 14, 2009

Situation Awareness

So, Friday morning. Got up at 6 AM, got dressed, took the Redhead to work. It's the only time I ever get to drive any more, so I tend to slow down, obey the speed limit, and enjoy the drive. Roomie keeps six CDs in the multi-disc changer now, because he's a delivery guy, so he spends most of his work days in the car. Good reason for me rarely getting to drive anymore. Also explains why I am usually trapped in the apartment all day, and desperate to get out and do something as meaningless as sit at Country Kitchen for hours on end and surf the internet. Let my brain leak out of my ears for a few hours, it's okay.

No, I don't have internet at home, either. So if I wants 'Net access, it's off to Country Kitchen to stuff myself full of either coffee or soda for hours on end and socialize with everybody that walks by. Swear to god, Country Kitchen is the best place in town to talk to people. Screw Pine Street (where ALL of the bars are). Forget the university campus. Country Kitchen, all the way, baby! There's a cult following, I swear.

Anyway, where was I going with this? ... Oh yeah. I'm gonna sound random and off-the-wall for a few more minutes before actually making a point with this post.

If you haven't noticed, I read blogs to entertain myself most often. When I find a new one that catches my interest, I go AAAAAAALL the way back through the archives to the very first post. I did this with the very first blog I became addicted to (Ambulance Driver), and have since then been linked to LawDog and Matt G, to name a couple. Of course, there are a handful more in my sidebar over there, but those two are the first that come to mind. I'm currently working my way through the archives of the ever-lovely Cranky Professor, and she has a LOT for me to read.

The reason I mention Matt and LawDog in particular is because they are police officers. Don't get me wrong, I don't prefer cops over all others, nobody takes second place to them in the heirarchy of folks whose words enrapture me, none of that (AD, you know you're still my favorite anyway!). No, their being officers of the law enforcement variety means... Just like in the nurse blogs and the AmboDriver's blog... they blog about what they know, and what they encounter.

They also offer advice and whatnot to the people that read them. They've made posts about women who carry concealed, CCW in general, all sorts of things. If you have a question for them, leave it in the comments, and if it's of a good topic that deserves to have some light shed on it, they'll answer.

They've also posted about situational awareness. Matter of fact, in the past week or so while availing myself to Matt's archives to catch up on him, I came across a post explaining it and warning people (women especially, because apparently in the eyes of critters everywhere, the fairer sex is still easy prey, and I can understand that, with today's society in America. "Just give them what they want." No. Fuck you. I refuse to be victimized.)

Take note of your surroundings, people. It could save your friggin' LIFE. And after yesterday morning, after dropping the Redhead off at work, this subject really hit home with me. Nothing bad happened, thank god, but after I came into my apartrment (and took care to lock and bolt the door behind me, for once), the alarm bells were still going off in my brain something fierce. It kept me from getting back to sleep, kept me from getting even remotely comfortable, and it kept me edgy for most of the day.

Now. I live on a dead end street. There's a round little cul-de-sac on each end, and the only way to get onto the street is to follow the winding, bendy-ass road that T's into it, after navigating your way through one of the higher-end neighborhoods in this dinky little town. Don't ask me how I managed to land in this apartment, but after being used to living lower-middle class slums most of my life, being surrounded by nice houses and fancy cars makes me a little... nervous, for some reason.


Each building holds four apartments, with a small parking lot for each. I live in the second building from the end closest to the street out. Okay. So I stop at the stop sign and as I start to turn, I see headlights coming towards me. Slowly. I start to pay a little more attention, coming out of the trance I feel when I can drive and relax. I turn onto my street, flip on my blinker to let Other Dood know which parking lot I'm pulling into... and he pulls into it ahead of me. Parks next to my neighbor's Mustang and kills the engine. Parks right next to the only... open... spot. Shit.

Cue the alarm bells starting to sound. I was officially nervous and none too happy about it.

In Houston, where I hail from, this is the way that Bad Things happen. It was a quarter til seven in the morning and it wasn't even light out. The horizon was just starting to brighten in anticipation of the coming day. And there is some strange dood whose car I had never seen before, parked next to me. Had I been one of my weaker-willed relatives or friends, I may have had a panic attack at that moment.

But, nonetheless, I was sitting in my roommate's truck, fifteen feet from the front door of my apartment. Hell, I'm five feet from my own bedroom window. With some weird guy I don't know in the next car. And I'm cursing my roomie's Mazda, because there is no way to turn off the interior lights when you open the door. I have tried. The windows aren't tinted at all, so Stranger Man would be able to see when I got out of the car. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

I was getting myself really worked up over this, can you tell?

I ended up getting out of the car, keys in my fist. I loves me some stabbing implements. Yay. And I hear the guy get out of his car. My mind is going absolutely nucking futs by this time, let me tell you. The guy comes around the back of the Mazda, and meets me when I'm halfway to my door.

Stranger Guy: "You live here?"
Snarky: "Yeah."
SG: "Which one?"
S: "This building right behind me."
SG: "Oh. Well. The bank is foreclosing on this building today, and..."

At this point, he steps even closer to me. Granted, when he first started talking to me, he was a good three feet away. All I could see was the receding hairline, glasses, and dark-colored polo he was wearing. Still wasn't light enough. But he stepped forward, and I stepped back.

Snarky: "Please, stay where you are."
SG: "What? I'm not gonna hurt you, lady."
Snarky: "I don't know that. Stay where you are."

He stayed. Thankfully. He went on to say that he was looking for information about the buildings, like how many bedrooms in the apartments, what appliances they came with, what rent ran us each month. Told me that if an investor bought the building, we might not have to move. If the bank kept it, then we'd have sixty to ninety days to relocate. He gestured to the rest of the buildings on the street, telling me "There's obviously plenty of places to move."

The realtor we rent from owns all the buildings on the street. If the bank was foreclosing on one, wouldn't they close on ALL of them? Or at least more than ONE building? Not to mention, not once did this guy identify himself, who he was with, or anything.

He said he was looking for information on the buildings, but didn't want to go knocking on doors. No shit, sherlock. Get the fuck out of my parking lot and away from my home, lest I start screaming and call the cops.

If I see him or his car around here again, I'm definitely calling his plates in.

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