Azure Jane Lunatic (azurelunatic) wrote,
Azure Jane Lunatic

Mortal Terror, or at least unaccustomed caution

I had two moments today, of the warning twinge that tells me when something ungood is going to happen, associated with a particular person and location. This doesn't happen so often that I'm used to it. I've been riding the Phoenix busses for a good three years, and walking around at night at least as long. I've learned street presence, and how to walk so that no one messes with me. I can easily lift a 200 pound man in an embrace and spin him around in circles. Not much bothers me.

Two things today did.

When I was on the bus coming back from the plasma donation center, there was a man who was not ... quite ... right on the bus with me. The 19 had been exceptionally crowded; I'd gotten off at Camelback to catch the Red Line. A guy sprinted up as the 19 departed, and flipped the retreating bus the bird. I made a comment about the bus (standing room only), and how he probably wouldn't have wanted to be on that bus anyway.

We got on the Red Line. I was happily reading my duct-taped edition of Cyteen. The fellow inquired about cross streets. He didn't seem to know where the hell he was, or, indeed, where the hell he was going. I told him what street we were on, and what that cross street was. I continued reading. At one point, I grinned and closed the book, clasping my necklace in my hand. The guy asked was that book a Bible. "No." I read again. After some silence, the fellow asked was I single. That took a few moments to decipher. "No." More silence, and then another inquiry about the streets: was this 7th Street? Since we were on the other side of Central from the Streets, and were in fact on 19th Avenue, I decided that he really didn't know what he was about, and my warning bell started ringing louder.

When the Red Line turned to go West down Dunlap Avenue, which had been the stop I'd been intending to get off at, he got off in a great flurry of mixed and boggling and frantic emotion. I heeded my internal voice of caution, and stayed on the bus as it proceeded to the mall, despite the conviction that my body held that it would soon collapse from low blood sugar if I didn't get some food in me pronto. Years of dealing with my mother's sugar crashes, and those few teenage years where I'd pass out a minute after standing up, have left me with a great respect for the messages from the body on issues like that. I stayed on the bus regardless, and in fact didn't pass out, thanks to some water and a chocolate-covered espresso bean.

After returning home from the mall and feeding myself, I had to go grocery shopping -- cat food, ketchup, lettuce, mayonnaise, lunch meat, potato soup -- the staples. It was after 10:00 pm by the time I pried myself away from the fanfic, and later by the time I got out of the store.

As this is a one-car family, and votania drives the car to work, I walk to and from the grocery store. Happily for me and my arms, the grocery store in question has an agreement with the surrounding apartment complexes -- we carless customers may drive the shopping cart containing our purchases home with us, provided we leave it in a designated spot once we get home, and a truck will come around periodically to pick up the shopping carts. It's a very nice deal, and probably makes the store more money than they otherwise would, as the carless shoppers buy more than they otherwise might.

So, at nearly 11:00 pm, on a crisp night with a nearly full moon, the Lunatic pushes a shopping cart across the street. This is normal. What is not normal is the youths in the sporty red car, honking loudly and shouting things out the window, things that are best left unheard. The Lunatic flips them off, and continues on her merry way -- with a sudden feeling of danger buzzing in her bones.

The car continues up the road. Ahead at the next traffic light, I see the turn signal flash. There's nothing in that direction but a storage facility, I know. They are turning around.

I alter my course, and stand by the well-lit door of the liquor shop where I get my good plum wine. "There were some creeps who honked at me," I tell the proprietor from outside, "and I want to stay around people until I'm sure they're gone."

It takes a few minutes, as I watch each car that goes by, but finally I think I see them, and they zoom off down the other way. The danger-feeling passes, and I wait a bit more, but I don't think I see them. I head off, certain that they're going to come back, despite what my instincts are telling me, and I feel relief as soon as the gates of the apartment complex close behind me.

That was my brush with danger today. I feel like something important about me's changed, something that people can feel, but I can't imagine what it could be.

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