On Thursday night Kerri and I decided to go for a walk. Nothing major, just some fresh air and some movement. It was midnight and we just finished watching the timeshift broadcast of CSI. We walked up the street, and turned right down the next street. At first we were just planning a short walk around the block. But as we got to the end of the block we decided to continue onto the next next block and walk down Gateway Road to check out Barkman Concrete and window shop at the kitchen shop on the street too. Obviously everything was sealed tight, but there's no harm in looking through the windows.
On the back side of the loop we were walking we decided to walk down a Street called Budden , since there's a lot of nice houses on this street. We commented on the construction and compared notes on the types of houses we liked versus those we didn't. It was a beautiful evening.
We walked to the street that connects to our Crescent. As we walked along the street we heard Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and Bump bump bump etc. Seconds later a mid 90's red Acura Integra with a coffee can exhaust, burned out right taillight, and a stereo that pounds insane amounts of bass drove by. As they passed by us, they revved the motor. We chuckled amongst ourselves about how pathetic it was, not noticing where the car went after the stop sign at our street. (This is about to bite us in the ass)
When we got to our street, both of us were thinking the same thing. Nice evening quiet night and a dimly lit park with swings. Hmm. Perfect opportunity to swing and chat a little. After all we lived in a quiet neighbourhood. People are regularly out late at night around here also.
15 steps into the park, I see him. Then I hear him jingle something in his pockets, both hands in the pockets, walking straight forward as if on a mission. He was about my height, dark in complexion, wearing a red hoodie (Funny thing, I was singing Adam Sandler's red Hooded Sweatshirt earlier in the walk). Not sure what to expect I started looking around a little but saw nothing. I began to think about what it was in his pockets.
"Hey Man. You got a smoke or What!?!" he said with intent, sounding high drunk or perhaps both. We changed our direction to the right a little passing him on our left.
"Sorry Man, I don't smoke." I replied almost robotically as I say this many times in a week since I work downtown right next to the Employment assistance office. Being begged for change or smokes is such a regular thing, I don't even flinch at it anymore.
Thinking this guy is kinda sketchy, I watched him out of the corner of my eye as we walked by him. Our walking slightly more to the right (away from home) and our pace slightly increased. He stopped, scanned where we were walking and the jingling in his pockets stopped. There was a few seconds of complete silence. I waited for something to happen, like the sound of rapid footsteps behind or something.
"Hey isn't your geocache around here?", Kerri asked me with a firm voice to bring my attention back, and probably to signify to the guy that what happened was behind us. Once out or earshot, Kerri mentioned that there was another guy in the darkness behind the guy that approached us. He blocked our way home, this is why we went right. We agreed to head to the backlane where there were more lights and then go back onto the street.
When we hit the sidewalk on the street again, we looked back completely freaked as to whether these guys had the potential to be dangerous to us. They started their car and came toward us. We weren't sure what to expect but it seemed they were after something. We decided to walk up the walk to a house an pretend it was ours. The timing was perfect we turned up the walk just as they came up to us. Their brake lights flashed but then continued out of sight when we got to the door.
We agreed, nothing but straight home. Neither of us had a cell phone, and the yawara stick keychain I have from Ju-Jitsu class was at home also. As we reached the end of the houses just before the park we heard it. Bump Bump Bump.. Loads of Bass.. We quickly tucked into the back lane and behind a house. If it was the same guys and they saw that we tricked them, they'd definitely be pissed! A grey Honda Civic drove by. We cut through the park and walked the last few strides home without incident.
Over the past days I've reflected about what happened that night. Some people are pounded to an inch of their life based on a request for a smoke. What happened to us? Was there divine intervention? Where we in the wrong place at the wrong time? Did Our street sense save our hides from a beating? Or was it nothing? Was it a kid wanting a smoke? Were him and his buddy just listening to music in the car and saw us coming hoping to get a cigarette? I don't know the answer, but I definitely think I'll be dedicating time to go back to my self defense classes. After 2 years of absence, although still confident in protecting myself, there's still a lot to learn an potentially protect against. What if in his pocket, he had a knife... Or Heaven forbid, a gun.... What could we have done?