Friday, May 25, 2007

Guest Blogger: My Story of an Almost Carjacking

A friend sent me this story of an uncomfortable interaction with a gentleman that clearly wanted his car. Being parked outside a bath house (doing outreach for work...not as a patron) can be creepy enough - but this was certain to increase ones blood pressure. I found his tale quite entertaining, so I asked permission to post it as a guest blog. His name is Ian, and he's fabulous...and also an engaging writer...and a snappy dresser...and may possibly have the greatest laugh I have ever heard EVER!


I tested two people at the bathhouse, and nearly got carjacked. Seriously. I was sitting in my car on the street alongside The Club, before going inside. I was talking to Roger on my cell phone.

An old burgundy Honda pulled alongside my car, coming from the opposite direction my car was pointed. The driver stopped in the middle of the street. I glanced over at him, and he pointed at me, then to himself and nodded his head. I know there’s been drug activity going on in that area, so I thought he thought I was some kind of dealer. I made mention to Roger on the phone of the oddity, then continued on with my merry little conversation, but keeping a good eye on my mirrors.

I saw a thirty-something African American guy get out of his car and cross the back of mine. I gave Roger details as the event unfolded. The man then walked up to my passenger side and tried the handle. I’m always safe, so it was locked.

“What’s goin’ on?!” I shouted. Roger fell silent on the other end of the phone.

“Hey man, let me in. Roll down the window, I don’t want to shout.” The man was wearing a white wife-beater, jeans, and had a simple gold crucifix around his neck.

“No!” I responded, “What’s goin’ on?”

He explained something about working for a ministry, that he’s from Alton, some lady had died, and some “probably a drug dealer” had wrecked into the side of his car. He said MoDOT had come out and fixed something or other. I had no idea where he was going with the story. It wasn’t getting anywhere fast.

“What do you want?” I asked aggressively.

The man threw up his arms in disgust and crossed the front of my car and approached my window. I rolled down the window a hair. He again explained the story about the ministry, Alton, dead woman, car accident. I pointed him to the direction of The Club entrance. He said, “I did that. They kicked me out. No solicitating.”

“Well, what are you soliciting?” I asked, finally the story was getting somewhere.

“I need help for gas.”

“I’m working in there tonight for a non-profit.” I replied, hoping that whatever belief he had would be dispelled as to why I was sitting alone in my car, cell phone in hand, in this sketchy neighborhood.

He stammered a moment, then said, “I work for a non-profit, too.” The man was further hoping to lure me into the details of his story.

“Well, then you understand…I don’t have any money.”

“A dollar?”

“Nope, sorry.”

The man was clearly upset. He hurried across the street, got into his beat up jalopy, and sped off. After his taillights disappeared into the night, I moved my car into the parking lot of The Club. Roger was concerned. He told me I should be careful who I talk to…but HELLO…he tried to get into my car!!

Once inside the establishment, I was still shaken. I reported what had happened to the staff, and they acknowledged that a man fitting the description had come in earlier and they turned him away.


Quick Question: How did he drive away if he needed money for gas? And on what planet do preppy white guys sell drugs in sketchy neighborhoods?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Boyfriend Is No More

Every relationship comes to a point where there needs to be a change, and this post is to mourn the loss of The Boyfriend...because he's now THE FIANCE! Did I have you fooled for at least a tiny moment? Did you think we'd broken up? No, just changing his title.

Last Friday The Fiance called to see if I wanted to leave after work and just drive for the weekend. We didn't have a plan, or even a route for that matter. We headed South on 55 and decided to turn off at Pevely. Somewhere, we're not sure exactly where, we stopped at a church carnival - you know, deathtrap rides operated by drunk/high roadies. We got on "The Swinger" and he asked if I'd marry him right as the swings started. I do want to mention that his voice was about two octaves higher than usual, and only got higher as I sought clarity. I was confused about what he was saying and asked, "what?!?" immediately following his proposal. I quickly understood the fear in his eyes and said yes.

Here are some photos from the trip:

Here's a kind of blurry photo of "The Swinger".

We ate lunch on the second day of our trip at this cafe. The sign made us giggle. Who makes the sandwiches? Hos

I fear for this town in case of fire.

This is where we stayed on Saturday night. It sits on a hill overlooking an equine facility and the wooded rolling hills of Eminence, MO. Of eleven rooms, we were the only people staying here...not even the owner was there! She told us a group of cowboys had checked out that day...that could have been a rowdy night!

The front porch of the lodge...really, it was the biggest selling point.

The Fiance in our room - it was "Gone With the Wind" inspired...this was by far the largest concentration of crushed velvet I had ever seen.

Timmy the Turtle - We stopped so The Fiance could get him off the highway. Sadly, I'm sure the 97 other turtles on the road may not have made it...although they do move much faster than I expected.

The STL is Redeeming Itself

For the second year in the row, St. Louis drivers are being noticed for their courteous vehicular maneuverings and low road rage incidents.
The most courteous drivers can be found in Portland, Oregon; Pittsburgh; the Seattle-Tacoma area; St. Louis; and Dallas-Fort Worth, the survey found.

Portland drivers were the least likely to see other motorists tailgating on the roadways, and St. Louis motorists were the least likely to swear at another driver, according to the survey.
I wasn't hugely surprised about the courteous drivers (we are, after all, in the Midwest), but I'd like to see stats on accidents. Perhaps all this friendliness is causing drivers to not pay attention. I've had three fairly serious accidents in the ten years I've been here (of which none were my fault...I felt it was important to add that).

Thursday, May 10, 2007

News Update: This Just In...

This, my friends, is a very true story.

A co-worker came in to update me on a client that I had counseled and tested. He chuckled a little before saying, "Yeah, I asked him who tested him and he said a young lady in her mid-twenties". Did I mention this was an attractive tyke of 23-years old (he's probably attractive to some...if you're into that all-American type. I mean, he's no sexy scientist or anything like that!).

Yeah, mid-twenties.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Cannot Believe She Yelled At Me

I wrote recently about the "old ladies gone wild" situation at the YMCA...well, I now have a middle-aged woman gone CRAZY!! (and by the way, I find it strange that many of my blog post ideas are coming from the Y).

So I'd just gotten done swimming and a woman walks up and asks kind of conversationally if I had gotten there after her, because she's a little surprised that her lock is on a locker next to another occupied locker. I kind of chuckle and say, "yeah, sorry, I didn't even notice", and continue getting ready. Keep in mind, this whole interaction happens whilst we are both unclad.

Lady: "You know, I've spent too much money on physical therapy for this!"

Me: Staring at her, I nervously laugh a little and lamely say, "yeah". I have no idea what she's talking about.

Lady: "It's NOT funny, and I really don't want to talk about it."

She starts to angrily take her stuff out of the locker, slamming it down on the locker room bench, all the while mumbling about how many hours in the pool and thousands of dollars she's spent fixing her back. I'm still getting ready, mostly trying to get some clothes on because she's totally freaking me out and I'm uncertain if I'm going to have to defend myself or not...and if so, I'd prefer to be clothed.

Lady: "Because of you thoughtlessly using the locker next to mine, I've now hurt my back again."

Me: "No, because you were unwilling to ask for help you hurt your back again. And now, you need to stop talking to me. I did nothing to you, and I want nothing more to do with you".

Lady: "Yeah, easy for you to say when you have your little spot staked out, and I'm over here with a hurt back. One would think that any reasonable person would not use a locker next to another one that's in use. It's rude and inconsiderate".

Me: "I've used this locker every day for months. Now walk away". I put my hand up dismissively.

The lady takes a couple minutes getting dressed and puts on her fanny pack (told you she was crazy). I'm purposely getting ready leisurely so she doesn't think she's intimidated me at all.

Lady: "Excuse me, could I please look, or could you please look to see if there's anything else in the locker".

I open the locker, peep inside, slam it and look squarely at her, "There's nothing in it".

Note: The contents of this post have been edited in length and clarity. There were many mumblings and some comments that were omitted...mostly because I don't remember what they were, and I think what I wrote pretty fairly reflects the event. Oddly, I had intended to write about how I'm more antisocial with people that I don't know, but now this post will serve to explain WHY I am reserved.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Worst(and by worst, I mean the most disastrous).Morning.Ever

Ever had one of those days where by about 8:30 you're ready to call it a day? Like there's been so many tiny things that go horribly wrong that anything bigger may make it impossible to ever venture from the comfort of your bed ever again? I had one of those mornings today. Well, maybe not as bad as the previous sentences imply...but there was a series of quite unfortunate events that caused me a certain amount of discomfort. And by discomfort, I mean that I'm being kind of a big baby and am beginning to feel guilty for writing that when there's hunger and war in the world that does not personally affect me.

Here's a rough time line:
6:15 Alarm sounds and Tiny Dancer (our kitten, sometimes known as Nova...but usually Tiny Dancer or Tiiiiiineee!) begins our morning ritual of him licking my face so that I'll play with him.

6:28 I am no closer to getting up than I was at 6:15, and guilt is starting to set in.

6:47 I realize if I'm going to make it to the gym, I MUST get up immediately.

7:03 Ok, so the treadmill and weights are out of the question now.

7:08 I drag myself out of bed (barely) and get dressed to go for a walk, I open the door and - no joke - it begins pouring rain. I lie back down.

7:24 I put on my swimsuit and leave for the YMCA pool. This is outrageously late for me to be leaving.

7:45 As I walk into the pool area, I get the vague sense that I may not know where I put my glasses. I consider going back to my locker to ease the anxiety, and then decide to figure it out later.

8:10 I finish my pathetic swim. Normally I swim 36 lengths in 30 minutes...this morning I swam 20 lengths in 25 minutes....and they were in sad, sad form.

8:30 After finding my glasses on THE FLOOR OF THE YMCA SHOWERS - GROSS, I go back to my locker to get ready for work. I figure I have just enough time to make it to work on time.

8:31 I sadly realize that, not only did I pack "skinny jeans" that will be comfortable and flattering if I lose approximately 7 pounds, but I've ALSO FORGOTTEN MY BRA AND UNDERWEAR!

8:31 - 8:37 I sit with my elbows on my knees to ponder my options.
Option 1: Throw on my velour track suit (The Boyfriend will giggle at that reference. He hates my velour track suit...but I find it perfect to throw over my swim suit) and go 1/2 mile back home?
Option 2: Go to work sans appropriate undergarments?
Option 3: Call in sick and crawl back into bed (the most appealing option at this point)?

8:38 I look around to see if any one's watching and I quickly put on my clothes without any bra and underwear (the bra is really just a gesture to show that I went through some sort of puberty process...I sometimes choose not to wear one...but the underwear are kind of non-negotiables for me).

9:11 I stroll into work a tiny bit later than I would have liked.

10:42 And now, I sit at my desk. I have gotten a couple busy work, end-of-the-week-wrap-up-type tasks done...but this day has a distinctly unproductive feel. I'll be able to consider it a day that I deserve my salary as long as I continue to get a series of small things done.

Oh, right, it's raining and I ran out of hair gel, so I have really bad hair as well.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

St. Louis in the Top 10!

St. Louis has yet another great distinction in our nation - the 10th most poluted city in America. Isn't it bad enough that we topped the list as the countries most violent urban area with more than 250,000 people, we're #1 for Chlamydia rates, #3 for gonorrhea, and #5 for syphilis? Just let us have some clean air already!

Although I have to sheepishly admit that this gives me a lot of hope for the future (I should say hope for MY future, which is kind of rude). Since moving to St. Louis my entire respiratory health has gone to crap. It wasn't until I moved here that I was diagnosed with asthma and began enjoying yearly bouts of broncitis/pneumonia. I didn't join the ranks of allergy sufferers until my introduction to this great city as well. What does this mean? It htink it means that if I get my tail out of here I may escape some of these impediments. That would rock!

And I'm really curious as to how Chicago and New York escaped this list.

The most polluted U.S. urban areas by year-round particle
1: Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, California
2: Pittsburgh-New Castle, Pennsylvania
3: Bakersfield, California
4: Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman, Alabama
5: Detroit-Warren-Flint, Michigan
6: Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, Ohio
7: Visalia-Porterville, California
8: Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana
9: Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, Indiana
10: St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, Missouri