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Monday, December 22, 2008

Confused drunken strangers

I love Houston, some of the strangest things happen here. Take this last week for example. I'm walking to my car like I do every morning, running just a few minutes late, going about my normal morning trying to get to work. As I am getting into my front seat, I notice a middle-aged, slightly balding white man wearing a white tee shirt and denim jacket across the apartment parking lot. As I am lowering myself into the driver's seat, he yells out to me, "Hey!"

He approaches casually, not intimidating at all, asking which way the main street was. I told him it was just a little ways over there, pointing to the south. As he closes the distance, the first detail that I notice is the Catholic crucifix around his neck. Surely someone wearing a crucifix isn't going to jump me (refer to my previous encounters with strangers at my apartment, and at the gas station). Of course, remembering said events, the cynical side of me wonders if the ornament is merely a ploy to engender trust from his unsuspecting victims. I remain wary as he explains.

"Do you think you could give me a ride? My job's on the strip, I just got this job as a dish washer and I really need to get to work. My friends took me out drinking last night and I'm not sure where I'm at..."

I truthfully inform him that I am unfortunately going the other way, trying to sound noncommittal. However, trying to be helpful as best I can, I assure him how close he is to the street he seeks. I consider the time, and feeling sorry for him, I ask where this restaurant is.

"I can't remember the name of it..."

Okay, things are starting to get a little strange now. You have a new job, but you don't know the name of the place where you have your new job. Maybe he knows the basic area that it's in...

"I'm not sure, I can't remember."

At this point, even being guardedly helpful, there's not much I can do. He can't tell me where he works, or even the basic direction. I remain poised for just about anything at this point, wondering if he's about to spring on me now that the jig's up!

"My friends took me out drinking last night, so that's why I'm having a hard time."

I apologize and again assure him how close he is, as he walks away, confused but now on a mission, in the direction of his general destination, which was maybe a quarter mile south. I knew there were buses there, so maybe they could help him.

I genuinely felt bad for him. I'm not sure if he really was hung over (or maybe still drunk) and needed a ride to work, or if he was a drifter or nefarious character who sought to remove me from my belongings, or good health. I may never know if he just needed a ride, or if he was as shady as his story...

1 Comments:

Blogger Jarod said...

You and your silly games with strangers.

1/10/2009 10:18 PM  

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