Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Late-Night Encounter

"Have you ever been so tired that you feel disconnected from what you're doing? Like you're watching a movie?" The voice on the phone belonged to my barber, so I knew I was about to hear a true-life story (the best kind).

My barber had picked up his wife at the airport, and on the drive home, his 17-hour day started to catch up with him. His body was on autopilot, and he was in danger of falling asleep at the wheel.

So, he stopped at the Sheetz station in S______, PA to get some caffeine for the last 40-minutes of the trip home. He got out of the vehicle in what I call "zombie mode", leaving his wife peacefully asleep in the passenger seat and his handgun on the floor under the driver's seat. (He has a concealed carry permit.)

On the periphery of his awareness, my barber noticed a strikingly attractive, scantily clad young woman heading into the store. As he entered, he made eye contact with the clerk behind the counter, nodded mechanically and headed down the aisle toward the cooler that housed the iced tea.

Suddenly, as out of nowhere, the attractive young woman he had seen outside appeared in front of him ("As close as when you lean in to kiss your wife," he said). In the same moment, the awareness of someone behind him exploded into his consciousness.

Adrenaline dump!!

His first thought was that they were about to pick his pocket. His left hand went down to cover his wallet as his right simultaneously went for his SOG knife.

The girl in front of him said she needed him to pose with her for a picture for a scavenger hunt. Not knowing who was behind him, he pushed past her, turned and said, "What does that make me -- a scavenger?"

He saw that the person behind him was another young woman, about four feet tall. The first one said, "Well, forget it, then" and left with her companion. He doesn't know if they even saw the knife in his hand.

My barber was left with a feeling of foreboding, knowing that his wife was asleep in the car along with his primary weapon, so he went back out and got in the car. His wife awoke and immediately sensed his apprehension, asking, "What's wrong?"

He saw the women in another car, watching them. They proceeded home without further incident.

Lessons to glean from this encounter:
  1. Stuff happens when you least expect, and often when you're least prepared (i.e., if you're armed, don't leave your firearm in the car, no matter how tired you are or how safe you feel on "home turf");
  2. When you cultivate proper mindset & training, survival habits kick in along with the adrenaline;
  3. When an attractive, totally strange woman approaches you, whatever she wants, you're not it, no matter what your poor, crushed ego so desperately wants you to believe(my barber has no ego, as he has many times told me, so he did not go for the bait);
  4. When an attractive, totally strange woman approaches you, providence will more likely come down on your side if you keep your mind (and your eyes -- Job 31:1) in the right place.
P.S. My barber says he knows that the instinct to cover his wallet in a potentially lethal situation was a bad move. I mentioned that, thankfully, every encounter we survive provides experience for the next. Also, he says that even if their request was totally legitimate (which he doubts, still feeling that they wanted to lure him to a secondary location), he would not want a photo of him & some more-than-half-undressed female floating around. Good call.

P.P.S. (Not, P.S.S., please!) Do you have further observations, evaluations or lessons? Please post them in the comments section.


Dr. Paleo Ph.D. said...

Ooh, good one all around! Will keep in mind, thanks!

Johann Van De Leeuw said...

All I have to say is that your barber sounds like the kind of guy I'd like watching my back.
You're blessed to have friends like that, you know.
Great post!

Gravelbelly said...

Johann, I've met hundreds of people in about 38 states, and there's just one (on earth) I'd trust absolutely with my life & safety: he cut my hair about a month ago.