For a very long time, I never concerned myself with locking anything, especially if I was inside. I’ve always been confident in the rest of the human race that it is only the rare few who find themselves compelled to disrespect the space and property of their fellow man and are willing to risk their own freedom, safety and very lives by invading these boundaries. I’ve also always been quite confident in my own ability to repel such diseased individuals by my own means. I’ve always felt capable of defending myself against whatever dangers there may be and I’ve perhaps too often been willing to test myself against the will of other men eager to test themselves against me. We will say for now just that I have known violence and never have I found myself put off by it. I have a certain set of skills yada yada yada….
It doesn’t matter. Here’s what happened. I was driving through the empty, late night streets of downtown Oklahoma City to get my rent into the overnight drop box. I’d just come from the gym, overheated, brain dead and worn down. The night was pleasant so I had my windows down to cool myself off. I rolled to a stop at a yellow light where a woman waited patiently at the corner to cross. If you’ve been in downtown OKC any time after dark on a weekday you know that the whole city is pretty much abandoned and that the sighting of a single other soul on the streets is rare and exciting. The light changed and the woman stepped off the curb, seeming at first to cross the street leisurely. When she got in front of the headlights though, she turned towards the car, spread her hands out at her sides and stared towards the windshield with the wide, dead, shark like eyes of the common southern tweeker.
|(Okay that’s not her. That’s Ok Gov. Mary Fallin, but I swear she looked like this with red hair)|
She stood there for a long time just waiting to be lifted off to space or whatever. The light changed and still she stood there.
In the area where I was living at the time, I came across these types of people pretty commonly.
“Hi there.” I called out, “Do I know you?”
She stepped towards the car and started coming around to the driver’s side. I settled in for some quality crazy talk and started digging in the nooks and crannys of the door for whatever loose change I could find. Turned out, she was beyond change though. She bent down and leaned towards the open window, nearly sticking her pale face into the car with her eyes swirling at me. I extended my hand to create a little space. She shook it and I asked her name. She rattled off about thirty syllables in a second that just didn’t even seem to fit together in any natural way. My other hand crept for the button that could roll up my window but it fell upon the wrong one. A flurry of words came pouring from her cracked lips as she leaned in close again.
“I know that you’re satanic!” she spouted almost happily.
She turned towards the empty baby seat in the back.
“And I know what’s been going on with you and that little baby.” Her eyes widened towards it.
I’m not sure if she was seeing a baby or not at this point, but luckily my son was home in bed with mommy.
Then she reached in with both hands and started to pummel me about the head, neck and arm with her open palms. Her hands were tiny and the blows unleashed from her emaciated tweeker arms came fast but at roughly the impact of the breeze from the car’s vents when I’ve got them cranked up. I leaned away, unable to refrain from laughing at the silliness of the situation. I had my fingers on the door handle and I contemplated just whacking her with the door but I held back. My not so severe beating lasted about thirty seconds, maybe less.
She gave me one last furious pat on the shoulder and growled, “Now you’re Catholic!”
That’s funny, I didn’t feel any different.
We said our polite goodbyes and she turned to continue her evening stroll. She began to talk to herself at an ever quickening pace as she walked away, becoming more animated as she went. I turned the corner and drove the half a block to drop off my rent. I watched her pass from the door of the realty office and she seemed completely oblivious to my existence now. As I was pulling away I could hear her yelling at the traffic light at the next corner and see her aggressively giving the don’t walk hand the bird, jumping towards it from the sidewalk as she did. She stooped down, plucked a bottle off the ground and chucked it at the light. I dialed up the non-emergency number to my friendly local police just to give them a little heads up. I wasn’t hurt but I was a little nervous that this woman was growing more volatile with every second and was hoping some cop in the area could at least roll her and check things out before she actually became dangerous. The police dispatcher seemed disappointed that I didn’t want to press charges and tried her best to politely give me a “thanks for wasting my time” kind of goodbye.
I told my wife about it and the next day she texted me a link to the local police report. The picture was from an old mugshot in which she looked slightly different and a little less crazy, but sure enough, it was my new friend. She was picked up three or four hours later, halfway across town for whacking some teenagers with a stick as they rode past on their bikes. Small world I guess.
It dawned on me as I was driving back to my house that things have very much changed for me now that I have a family. I realized instantly that I should not be driving around with my windows down and my doors unlocked anymore. Had I just had the air cranked and the windows up, this woman may not have even bothered to convert me to Catholicism that night. I shuddered to think though of how things might have gone had my son actually been with me, strapped into his safety seat where he would be unable to squirm away from the crazy lady.
It is not my own safety that I am concerned with and really I doubt that this woman could have really injured my son. I don’t even let my mind wander to that prospect. The reason that now I keep the doors locked and the windows up every second that my son is in the car with me is because I know what would have happened if she had laid a finger upon my son. Now I’ve always made it a firm policy to reject violence towards women in any form. However, I don’t know to what extent I would be blinded by the rage that would surely overcome me to hear my son whimper or cry at this or any person’s hands.
I lock my doors and windows to keep the rest of the world safe, to remove the opportunity for someone to do something stupid and make me change their lives for them. Its just much simpler that way.