I always pay attention to what is going on around me in a dark parking lot, but I truly don't spend any real time worrying about getting mugged. Some of that comes from being male and some of it comes from the neighborhood I used to call home. It wasn't a place that you wanted to spend time in, at least not outdoors. Survival dictated that you learned how to read a situation...quickly. National Geographic described it well, it was fight or flight. There wasn't anything in between.
It didn't take all that long to learn that sometimes it was worse to run because all it did was make the predators chase harder and longer. It is not that different from watching a shark attack. One whiff of blood is enough to set off a frenzy. So sometimes you stood your ground and tried hard not show fear. Eat or be eaten. That is how it went.
The best thing that could happen to you is to move. One way or another you get out of the hole. It is only when you are out that you start to realize that you cannot relax because you spent years training yourself to respond instantly to danger. Eventually those feelings go away. Given time you really do heal, at least I used to think so. And then I learned that there are feelings that never disappear, they are just hidden behind scar tissue.
Last Saturday night I headed over to Tommy's for a reasonably friendly poker game. In case you are wondering a reasonably friendly game is a euphemism for saying that the boys wouldn't shake you down for more than a couple hundred and that is only because we are friends. These guys all put themselves through school courtesy of The Bicycle Card Deck company. Or should I say that the company they kept all fell prey to the seductive properties of some geeky looking guys who understood that they could use the over inflated egos of other men to earn a living.
I knew better than to expect to win more than a couple of hands. At best I hoped to break even. What I didn't expect or anticipate was that the end of the night would be more eventful than the early evening.
It was close to 2 am when I pulled into my driveway. My own family was off visiting relatives. Thanks to a lack of vacation I had managed to earn the privilege of staying home alone. As I rounded the corner and headed towards home I noticed that it seemed abnormally dark. Another streetlight had burned out and clouds obscured the moon so it was as dark as the city gets, but as Sammie J. had pointed out being male meant that I didn't care. But maybe I should have.
When I opened the door and stepped into the darkened room I didn't notice that anything was amiss. I walked in, hung up my jacket and headed towards my bedroom. Still oblivious I wandered around the house not noticing that the dog hadn't bothered to greet me. I suppose that I figured that he was asleep.
At some point during my wandering he hit me and I went down...hard. I don't remember if I even had the presence of mind to react. All I know is that when I woke up I was handcuffed and lying alone in the dark.