Yesterday’s walk around the neighborhood turned into way more than I’d bargained for.
I’d intended just a short walk but, once outside, I got caught up in the nice weather, listening to music playing on the iPod and ended up a block short of entrance to the University before I decided to turn around and head back to the complex.
Having walked the sidewalk to the turning point, I was walking back in the bike lane and was just about to pass a guy on my left (pink shirt, flowered summer shorts, backpack) walking same direction as I, but on the sidewalk. Didn’t think anything of it, until I saw him make a movement to put something in his hand, glance over his shoulder ─ seemingly to gauge where I was, lower his arm to his side, then turn his wrist so that the object was pointing towards me. That’s when I saw the blade.
It was a knife.
To be fair, the guy was obviously a street person and, being so, had probably had experiences to make him leery of someone walking up on him, but inasmuch as I was clearly not a threat, his issue was probably one of questionable mental health. So I took evasive measures.
Playing it cool, not wanting to be directly next to him or have him directly behind me ─ even though I was in the adjacent bike lane, I slowed down so as not to pass him at all and began moving from the bike lane, towards the street and, when all the cars had passed, made it to the opposite sidewalk.
As I was now on the sidewalk, opposite side of the street, moving further and further away from him, I made sure to side eye keep sight of him.
In doing so, I saw him cross over to my side of the street ─ now walking behind me.
I took out my pepper spray, but thinking it no match for a knife, I was just about to cross back to the other side of the street again when I saw a man standing behind a gated yard.
I stopped as said, “I think I’m in trouble. That man has a knife and, when I crossed the street to get away from him, he crossed the street. Can you let me in?”
He didn’t. Instead, Gate Guy looked at me, looked at the approaching Knife Guy, smiled, nodded like he understood what I was saying, but otherwise said or did nothing except look where I was looking ─ which was at Knife Guy as he caught up and passed right behind me.
Knife Guy had both hands on the straps of the backpack, knife not in sight, and made no motion towards me ─ probably because of the man standing at the gate ─ though useless. But Knife Guy didn’t know Gate Guy was useless. All Knife Guy knew was big Black man looking at him.
Knife Guy was now ahead of me on the same side of the street.
I stayed there, outside the gate of Gate Guy, giving Knife Guy time to get well ahead of me, but he slowed his walk and kept glancing back at me. I told Gate Guy, who kept smiling/nodding like he understood, that I was going to cross the street again, and if anything else happened, I was calling the cops.
I don’t know what the heck was wrong with Gate Guy, but I’m now thinking it might have been a situation of jumping from the fire into the frying pan. His problem could have been high on drugs, a crack or meth head and inside the gate an even worse place to be.
So, anyway, I walked away from Gate Guy, crossed the street and was once again on the opposite side where I could keep eyes on Knife Guy ahead on the other side.
Well ahead by now, Knife Guy continued to glance back and over at me.
That’s when I decided it was time to call 911.
While on the line with 911, I observed Knife Guy once again cross to my side of the street. Then he turned out-of-sight into the driveway of an apartment complex.
My spidey sense told me he’d turned into that driveway to wait for me to pass so he could jump out at me or to position himself behind me again, so I again crossed the street and ducked out-of-sight, behind a tree and watched the area he’d turned into.
Sure enough, I spotted a patch of pink ─ his shirt, where he was lurking in a bushy area on the side of that apartment complex driveway.
Didn’t take long for him to reemerge, after having not seen me pass where he’d expected me to pass. He came back out onto the sidewalk, didn’t see me and continued down the street. I, still behind the tree, began taking pics of him for the blog because that’s what I do. LOL. I’m a chronic picture taker no matter what the circumstances.
Once he’d gotten far enough ahead of me on his side of the street, I came from behind the tree and continued trying to get home.
Knife Guy spotted me, opposite side of street AND, of course, he crossed to my side yet again and stopped at the stoplight.
I prepared to cross to the opposite side, when I saw the light change and Knife Guy head towards 711 at that corner.
Thinking here’s my chance, I can get ahead of him and make it to the complex before he comes out of 711, I began walking fast when 911 called me back to say patrol cars were in the area and didn’t see anyone to match Knife Guy’s description. “He’s in the 711”, said I. “I’m trying to hurry up and get home before he comes out”.
“He’s in the 711 now? I’ll let patrol know” says 911.
And just like that, before the call ended, two cop cars sped past me, pulled into 711’s parking lot and Knife Guy was hauled out of 711 so fast that I didn’t even see it, as I crossed at the light, until I saw Knife Guy, hands in cuffs behind his back, at the door of one of the patrol cars.
One of the officers spotted me, asked if I was the one who’d called in, took my complaint, took my information and asked if Knife Guy had pointed the knife AT me.
I said, no, he’d not actually menaced me with it. Just pointed the blade towards me in a preemptive way and, when I’d tried evasive measures, he kept taking counter actions ─ looking back at me, slowing down, crossed the street to my side every time I crossed, lurked in the grassy area of an apartment complex.
I didn’t expected an arrest, said I just wanted them to detain him long enough for me to make it home.
The cop said I’d made all the right moves, it was good I’d been observant as many people are not and become victims. "I’ve learned to be not only observant but paranoid", replied I.
Cop said the guy’s behavior was suspicious and that because he didn’t try to attack me with the knife, they couldn’t arrest him (I knew that) but they’d be checking him for weapons, wants and warrants.
I'm assuming they confiscated his knife and, if he did have wants/warrants, Knife Guy probably did end up in jail, but that's on him. Had he gone about his business, let me go about mine, he’d not have been in that position.
At any rate, I didn’t stick around for the outcome. I rushed to get home, just in case they had to let him go and he was on the streets again.
The pandemic slogan “Safer at Home” is for real, and in more ways than one. Not sure I’ll feel comfortable walking the neighborhood again. Now, I’m not even sure walking the deserted area of the University is a good idea. The outside world is dangerous. People are losing their damn minds.
Once safely back inside my unit, I checked my stats.
I’m counting this walk as having more than qualified in the DC Wonder Woman 5K. I’ve not yet received my bid number, so I can’t log it in, but 4:3 miles is way more than the required 3:12, so I’m considering that 5K done.
I’m very tempted to register for the Orange County Fair’s virtual 5K, because they’re offering a hair buff in the swag bag, instead of tee, but where to walk since the streets are no longer safe?
On another note, there’s been all this Black Lives Matter talk about defunding the police and/or getting rid of them altogether. I was onboard with either. They do more harm than good. They’re not doing anything for me. I can take care of myself, so why not, thought I,
Yesterday’s incident was the Universe showing me they do come in handy, upon occasion, best to keep ‘em around, so I’ve changed my position on defunding or abolishing.
It’s been a challenging few days. First was the drama of Twin 1’s statement in a news article, now this. Hopefully, I catch a break and things go back to every day same old same old boring ... nothing to blog about.