Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fifteen Seconds

He had off on Tuesday, and we had a lot of stuff to do.  

Upon leaving, we were taking the trash down with us.  There is a dumpster for our building located several paces north of our back door.  There is a dumpster for our neighbouring building that is located directly across from our back door.

We had a lot of stuff to do.  

So, as I watched him walk toward the proper dumpster, I thought to myself, "I should tell him to put the trash in the dumpster that is right there.  We have a lot of stuff to do."  

But, it took me too long to think that, and by the time the words would have gotten out of my mouth, he was already half-way to the proper dumpster.  

So, I didn't say anything.  

It would have only saved us about eight seconds, anyway.

We walked to our Enterprise Car Share vehicle, whereupon he placed his card over the reader so that the doors would unlock.  Instead, the doors locked themselves.   

So, he ran his card over the reader again.  This time, the doors opened.

"That's weird," he said.  "The last person to use this car left it open."

I said, "Ugh.  People are such idiots."

We had a little chuckle.  After all, it wasn't that big of a deal.  We had a lot to do, but the un-locker(s) only caused us to lose about seven seconds.  

We exited the lot, and made a right onto the street behind our building, heading west.  It was nothing.  It was something we do every week:  We get a car.  We turn right out onto the street.  We go to Trader Joe's.  We get our groceries, like everyone else.  

As we approached the CTA station, we saw the usual police car that sits outside the station.  It was 12:05pm, and everything was how everything usually was.  The street behind our building is nothing special.  There's a Family Dollar, a Chase bank, a liquor store, a small market, and a coffee shop that I do not frequent because it is owned by Christians who "donate" the workers tips.  Although I suppose that the workers do not mind such, lest they wouldn't work there, the other coffee shop is named after a growling bunny rabbit.  The other coffee shop is more my style.  The other coffee shop isn't on this street.

We were stopped at a stop sign.  We had just passed the cop who sits by the El.

About a block in front of us, maybe one other stop sign ahead, I see three figures.  One is pointing a gun at one of the other two figures.  I hear the gun fire.  I see the figure who had just been shot fall down.  I immediately hear the shooter fire again at the other figure.  

"That's someone shooting."

"Is it?" he states.  It's happening before our eyes, but you don't want it to be real.  I understand his statement.  But, my own mind does not take the time to question the reality.  "Yeah, it is," he answers himself.

I see the second figure limp heavily across the street.  The man with the gun turns.  The limping man is heading our way. 

"Turn now."  I say.  "Here.  Now.  Do it."

He turns.

He's not going very fast.

"Go faster.  We can't fuck around with this.  He was headed our way."

He starts to go somewhat faster.  

He is a horrible driver.  

Once I feel we are a safe distance away--this safe distance is somehow only two blocks--we contemplate dialing 9-1-1.  

A cop with sirens blaring goes by.

A fire truck with sirens blaring goes by.  

We do not call 9-1-1.

We take an alternate route, instead of heading west on the street behind our building.

We do not pass the spot at which two people now lay bleeding before they are carted off to the hospital.

We do not pass the spot which we would have been directly in the midst of had we left fifteen seconds earlier.    

We go to Trader Joe's.

We buy kale, marinated artichokes, red pepper flakes, and sample French flatbread with fancy mushrooms.

I am thankful for his use of the proper garbage can.  I am thankful that he does not have a mind like mine.  His mind would never think to use the wrong garbage dumpster.  

I am thankful for silly people who sometimes forget to lock up after they use the car share.  

I am thankful that even though my family is super fucked up, and that I have a billion and five problems, I am thankful that I was born into a situation in which guns and violence are not a regular part of life.

To non-Chicagoans, Chicago gets a really bad rap.  I've lived here my whole life, and I've never experienced anything like this.  I just need to move to a better neighbourhood, so that I don't experience stuff like this any longer.  

In the end, maybe this is the kick in the butt that I need to get a job.

That would be good.

Neither man died.  One was shot in the leg, and one was shot in the butt.  They were a father and a son, who along with the mother, were visiting their 79-year-old grandmother on her birthday.  Despite the grandmother indicating in the initial reports that her son and grandson had no known enemies, both son and dad were gang members.  The reports, so far, are unclear as to whether they are a member of the same gang.  The shooter attempted to get a third shot off at the mother, but the gun misfired.  There was a driver waiting to take the shooter away.  They found the getaway vehicle a few blocks away with stolen Wisconsin plates.      

Now, there will be more policemen on patrol on the street behind our building hoping to prevent any retaliation shootings.

And, there is nowhere else for me to go for cat litter besides that Family Dollar unless I want to carry cat litter across town.  

I dunno, maybe I should want to carry cat litter across town.

Bottoms up!  


Blogger Devotee said...

Wow. I'm sooooo glad you dragged for those 15 seconds. That was really scary.

3/31/2014 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's wild shit, glad your timing was perfect!

~ Sir Wad

4/05/2014 8:13 PM  
Blogger David said...

A lot can happen in just a matter of seconds, or *not* happen, as case may be.

A lovely reminder to count those seconds and count on those seconds and to live fully in each of them.


4/09/2014 11:32 PM  
Blogger Strumpet said...

Thanks to you Devo, Sir Wad, and David for the kind words.

I think it has taken me quite some time to get over this. It shook me up a lot, it gave me much to think about, and it took some doing to NOT separate it from reality yet still be able to walk down the street.

I'm not sure if I've accomplished that last one just yet.


5/13/2014 8:09 PM  

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