Meeting friends for dinner and a movie…in one of those new “outdoor” malls. This is a concept that is probably doomed here in Texas at least. The little “town center” of stores doesn’t have nearly enough parking in the core, and although they’ve built ACRES of parking lot on the outskirts…it’s quite a walk and our weather here can be extreme.
Not many ladies will be much interested in shopping in a quaint little dress shop after walking a mile or so in 100+ degree heat…or the blowing cold…
But anyhoo…where were we? Ah, meeting friends. Yep. So…cold. Windy. Getting dark. Nowhere to park near the restaurant. The plan was that after dinner we would be walking up to the movie theater, meaning it would be quite late when we were done, I elected to drop the wife at the restaurant and park the car up as close to the theater as is possible with this well thought-out design.
The big parking lots are on the periphery…outside the “inhabited” area of the shops. Most of the stores face the center of the quaint little “streets” in the “city center” so you are exiled to the “behind the stores” area when parking. Despite the cars, these lots are mostly devoid of people. Can make for a dangerous area…crime-wise. Wide open area, no help, no surveillance, easy/fast access to several major and busy road systems…just the kind of place the cowards that prey upon others occasionally frequent…and since the policy of the entire “campus” is to prohibit lawful concealed weapon holders from carrying…the cowards have a fair bet that the folks wandering about aren’t armed.
Doesn’t really bother me…6 foot, 300 pound Texan…couldn’t give two spits about anybody’s “policy” anyway…and yeah, getting old but still strong as an ox…and yanno…I’ve journeyed to hell and back a couple times more than I care to so I’m not very intimidated by something as simple as a remote locale…
Yanno the old saying? “Never get in a fight with an old man…if he can’t beat ya, he’ll just kill ya?”
Yep. It’s something like that.
That doesn’t mean I’m not very aware of my surroundings…or that other folks shouldn’t be as well.
Walking back toward the restaurant…a sidewalk in the middle of nowhere…down the backside of a deserted store…and an attractive young lady-thing approaches. Hark! Yes, I notice. I DO like lady-things…I’m a guy. Get over it. She is heading out into the great outbacks of the lot and is pretty much oblivious to anything. Texting and walking. NOT any safer than texting and driving. The crashes are only slower.
As she approached I crossed directly in front of her on the sidewalk and placed myself between her and the curb.
And then I then pulled out my phone and pretended to take a picture of the older white Crown Vic with two guys in it that was creeping up behind her.
I say pretended, because my phone is stupidly slow about getting into camera mode…push and hold this (three seconds), flip it sideways…wait for it to comprehend that…push this button…press okay…wait for it…wait for it…wait for it…WOOT! Picture time! Hey, where the heck did everybody go?
So, pretended to take a picture. Sometimes as good as the real thing.
Yep, my little voice had been screaming. Those journeys to hell? Yeah, I learned a few things. One of them is…when the little voice (some call it premonition, instinct, a hunch…whatever) screams…I’d damn well better listen.
Its suspicions…and warnings…were confirmed when the car took off at high speed and the driver tried to cover his face (not the most intelligent combination). They ran over a curb on the way out but sadly, didn’t disable the car.
I stood there…watching them leave…and wondering if the wild and undomesticated feminine thing would notice anything at all had occurred.
She made it another 6 or 7 steps. Looked up…let the hand holding the phone drop to her side…and turned to look at me.
“What…” she cocked her head and looked back toward the lot, “…just happened?”
I smiled…probably not very disarming given that my stance and body language was probably screaming something like, “I KEEELLLLL YOU AND YOUR LITTLE DOGGY TOO!” at the car now far in the distance.
“Not a damn thing babe. Not a damn thing.”
As it should be.
She looked at me a moment, put her phone in her purse, fished out her keys, and walked on. She turned and waved as she got in her car.
Maybe she has a clue now. Maybe not. Life deals out painful lessons…I’ve had more than my share…when I was young and others held power over me…maybe I’ve spared her one.
I watched until she drove away.
I’m pretty sure the wife and our friends will forgive the delay.
Y’all be careful out there.