Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Narrow Misses, Part 1

There are many times in my life that I should have been killed, or at least gotten a DUI. But the gods intervened in my favor. Too many to tell in one blog post, so this will be a series.

The song I listened to last night reminded me of one time. I was status post college, living in an apartment down by the Arkansas River. Two of my best friends from college, Jon and Brandon, lived in a condo down on Main Street. Main Street wasn't developed like it is now. But Jon's apartment was incredible, a true testament to his calling. He ditched his doctor job for decorating. That was the future though. At this point, he still had his eyes on the doctor prize.

At the time I was working three jobs - DNA researcher by day - with a Jack White look-a-like Ph.D. candidate teacher. Psych counselor on nights and weekends. Taking classes at UALR to get into medical school when I could fit it in. Weekends were spent with Jon and Brandon. We would pre-drink until after midnight. It was beer back then - I didn't develop a taste for wine until my late twenties. So I was still pounding the beer.

One night I went to their place to ring and couldn't remember their apartment number. Didn't want to random alarm all the guests, so I decided to go call and ask from a pay phone - this was pre cell phone days. I found one on Main Street, about a block away from Juanita's. Just as they gave me the number to buzz, I was startled by a policeman who pulled up between me and my Jeep and the pay phone. He got out of his car and dressed me down.

"What the hell are you doing out here at this time of night? If you were my daughter . . . Did you know there was a guy about to do something to you? I pulled up at just the right time, and he ran away."

What could I say? Thank you officer.

Later at Jon and Brandon's I did what I did most nights before we headed to Discovery for a night of dancing and watching drag shows. I sang. Mostly Cher. My fave was Just like Jesse James, and they thought I sounded just like her. So much so that 20 years later at my cousin's birthday party - it had a mystery guest theme where they taped a name of a famous person to your back and you had to try to figure out who you were - I was flummoxed. Finally Jon told me - you are Cher. Don't you remember?

One night I was at Disco with another friend - a cool nurse at the psych unit who looked like a platinum blonde 1950's pinup. I was enamored by her, but she wasn't a reliable partner in crime. I discovered, around 3am, that she had abandoned me for some guy. I was a little alarmed, because a creepy guy had been stalking me all night and I was over it. No more dancing until sunup. I needed to leave.

As soon as I left, I heard him behind me. Fuck, I thought, and started to run. Back in those days, when you pulled up to disco at midnight, you had to park a football field away. I ran harder and faster than him, and was thankful I had my hardtop instead of my soft top on my Jeep, but my heart still pounded. As I climbed into my Jeep and started the ignition, he started pounding on the doors. "I just want to talk to you!" Hell no. I pulled away.

Jon and Brandon would have never abandoned me. They kept me safe, and often climbed in bed with me in the wee hours of the morning, making me feel safe and happy in their completely platonic love for me. I feel lucky to have had them in my life back then.

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