Wednesday, May 17, 2006

who's afraid of the big bad wolf?!!

back when i was in the 10th grade, maybe 9th, my family was living in calif. i was visiting my older sister one day, and me and my niece and nephew decided to go to the park down the street from where my sister lived. she had an apt. in Fullerton or Buena Park, i think. the park was huge w/ lots of swingsets, jungle gym types of things, merry-go-rounds, just everthing. we were there for a while, having a good time - swinging, climbing around on the monkey bars and just running around chasing each other and acting stupid. i dont know how long it was, but i needed to go to the bathroom. so... we headed over to the outdoor bathroom area and i went inside the girl's bathroom, closed the stall door and proceeded to do my busines.

all of a sudden - i don't know how long i'd been in there - these latino guys (they looked like gang members to me) came in the bathroom. they were saying things and then they started trying to kick open my stall door and eventually did. it absolutely terrified me! they all got around the stall... and i'm talking about 4 or 5 guys, maybe more (i can't remember) and started saying stuff to me in spanish - i screamed - they laughed and told me to go ahead and scream because no one would hear me. where my niece and nephew were was beyond me.

i thought for sure they were going to rape me or something. they kept laughing and saying stuff in spanish - they would not leave me alone and they kept grabbing at me. all i know is that when a stranger(s) grabs you, you don't sit back and wait for something to happen. i screamed. i screamed over and over for God knows how long. it was prob only a few minutes but it seemed like forever.

i screamed to my niece until FINALLY she came in. she's only 4 yrs younger than me but she's a really big girl. i'm 5'8" and she towers over me. very tall and strong... her father was the same.

AND... even tho she was a girl, i guess her size or something scared them because as soon as she came in, they ran out - saying stuff in spanish. i told her what happened and she screamed a few cuss words at them... but they were already gone. i don't know what they were planning, if anything at all... but i know that i'll never forget it.

it's haunted me all of my life, really, and i find that i get scared easily of men like that. yeah, i know i'm basically stereotyping, and i try not to, but i still do it. i found myself doing it when we were in calif. last month. we were down in San Diego and there were several times that i would see someone and remember what happened. i guess the fear never leaves you.


i had another incident about 8 or 9 yrs ago in Plano, Texas. i love to rollerblade and i'd go out every day after work and rollerblade around the neighborhood. there were tons of apts. and ppl would always be out walking, running and even rollerblading so i always felt pretty safe. i'm a coward really. i don't do strange places by myself, obviously, so if something looks scary, i avoid it like the plague.

well, on this particular day, there weren't a lot of ppl out walking or anything - which was unusual - (it was prob around 4 or something) so i pretty much had the streets to myself - even tho i prefer to be around lots of ppl because it's safer, especially in the cities, i kept to my driven path.

i remember going down all the streets two or three times - there were lots of apts. in the area - so i'd go inside the apt. complexes and skate around the streets inside - just anything to get a workout. i was big on making sure that i was out for at least 40 mins. or so... i had a certain routine down and tried to stick to it. i'm obsessed that way.

i could prob call myself 'Leary' because i don't trust strangers really, especially men. so anytime i was out rollerblading, i was always on the look-out for strangers or the likes... i guess i was always waiting to see if i felt fear even tho i wanted to get my workout in - yeah, it's crazy but i'm driven that way.

i dont know about you guys, but i have this ability. if something bad is gonna happen, i can sense it. that day, i remember being afraid and i can remember skating into this one complex and immediately getting a weird feeling, so i turned around and headed back out and down the street of that area. i got to the end of that street, turned left and headed down the other street. all was fine.

there was this particularly long street coming up to my right that i hardly ever skated down but decided to do it that day. (i could see my apt. complex across the field from this street... it was all open and to the right there was another huge apt. complex - so it felt pretty safe). the only thing was, the street was totally empty or void of human rumblings.

i guess i was prob almost half way down the street when this white van passed me to the left. i always look at ppl.... so i looked right at them - i believe in making eye contact and being VERY AWARE of my surroundings. there were guys/men in this van and, once again, they were latino (not all are bad, i know that - but i was still scared). they looked right back at me... i can picture it in my head. i don't remember their faces or anything, but i remember what happened.

as soon as they passed me, i got a bad feeling. even still, i kept rollerblading down the street. but something made me stop. i got scared and didn't want to go any further... so i decided to turn back and head home. as i started down the street, i realized that the white van had parked and they were just sitting there in the van, and for some reason it terrified me. i had looked back at that van after it passed me and felt sure that it was headed down the street and everything was ok, but it wasn't. there was something inside of me that told me i couldn't go down to where that van was... BUT... no one was around - what was i gonna do?? i continued to skate down the street and when i started getting close to the apt. complex that was coming up on my right, three guys got out of the van and stood in the street, next to their van, like they were waiting for me. they were looking right at me. i stopped and stood there. i don't know how far i was from them... prob 3 or 4 car lengths... not sure. i was afraid.

these guys didn't move - they just stood there. i was afraid to turn around and go the other way because i was scared because i knew that i wouldn't be able to skate fast enough and they'd be able to run and grab me. i knew i couldn't skate past them because i knew they weren't going to let me pass. so i stood there doing nothing, UNTIL....

all of a sudden, out of nowhere, two guys came from out of the apts. and started walking down the sidewalk.... i decided that this was my chance ... and something lifted and i knew i'd be okay.
i rollerbladed right over to where they were walking and kept a slow pace behind them. those latino guys got back in their van, started it, turned it around and sped away. i skated as fast as i could down that street and the two other streets to my apt.

when i got home, i told my mother about it. i was so afraid that i never rollerbladed down that street again (yeah, i'm a wimp but do you blame me!!?)... matter of fact, i didn't rollerblade for a long time after that. decided to take up running on the treadmill at the gym :) much safer. i never saw that van again. i wish i had gotten the license number... but i wonder if it would have done any good. they didn't do anything to me - it would have been my word against theirs - but i knew that day that something bad was going to happen, thankfully my angels came, in the nick of time, and it didnt!


saba said...

thats creepy....i bet we all have incidents with sketchy creepy guys eh? They come in every color and beware all lol

Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

that was a good story, and could be a script for a short movie too!

not belittling your harrowing experience mind you, just benefiting from it!

jahooni said...

I remember that park and its just as creepy today (probably even worse) than years ago. Thank Gosh nothing happened! I would NEVER let my daughter go to any park alone or with cousins in this day and age. I am always there keeping a close eye.
I enjoy more stories like the flip flop fetish! LOL

tooners said...

hey girl... i mentioned you in my last comment about our jeweled flip flops! i knocked two stones off of mine this past weekend. any more come off and you have to send me yours! ;) ;)

saba, yeah very creepy! i'm glad i get that feeling tho! yes, there are predators everywhere.. in every shape, size and race.

mahmood, thank you. that's an interesting idea. any takers?? :)

TL said...

tooners - off topic but your "email me here" is not listed. I wanted to send this to you as I thought it might help.

-TL of CheapChocolate

mae mae said...

i've had some incidents of my own, so i know how you feel. i wish the fear would go away. but i don't think it ever will.

btw...this is totally off topic, but how do i add you to like a friends list or something, so i don't have to search for you each time i sign on?

tooners said...

well, explaining how to do it from here will be a little confusing, so i could call and tell ya or write a long email... but... for the time being, just add me to your "favorites"... that should do the trick for the time being. :)