night at the playground


late nights at the playgroundThere is a party —

At the Academy tonight. It is the Nicholl reader party. These are pretty fun. All the readers get together and chat up on scripts and have dinner and some cocktails. I never get to talk to as many people as I would like.

[Also I am insanely curious to know if the cute brunette guy Joan was talking to is Joan Boyfriend Guy — Joan Boyfriend Guy is mysterious which just makes me on task.]

The night tends to go pretty fast. But I get to catch up some.

[Also one of my favorite scripts made it to the finals yay!]

The Nicholl readers are all nice people. I have never met one I did not like. I think it has something to do with the act. It is time consuming hard work reading for Nicholl. Kind of a selfless act. And the people who make that act, well, they tend to be pretty great people. [Myself excluded I am mean as a snake but hey I keep nice company.]

The Academy has split up into two buildings and Nicholl stuff is at the Pickford Building on Vine and that is pretty close to where I live so I walk on down. The party starts at seven but I do not head out till eight because I am just like that. And I am walking along down Vine. And a guy starts following me.

He is pretty large. I do not look right at him, because I am like that too. I do not do a full stare in this kind of sitch unless I am in a corner and have to. But I know he is following me because I have this cross between an ex dancer’s and a country girl’s stride. Most people do not walk as fast or long stepped as I do. I tend to scream through regular foot traffic. It is just how I walk. Only there is not much foot traffic this night on Vine. There is very little foot traffic. And it is dark. And this guy is pacing me. Staying just a little ways behind, but always this exact amount of space behind.

The problem with this is, I do not know the guy’s intentions. I mean, maybe he wants to rob me. Maybe he wants to drag me into a dark alley and attempt to do something unpleasant to me. Maybe he is just totally whacked out and does not care about witnesses.

[Like witnesses here would really intervene. Upstairs neighbor guy would. But he is the only one I can think of and he is a Southern boy they are different.]

Maybe he is more together and has a solid plan and does care. I do not know. All I know is I picked him up at Sunset, he outweighs me by at least ninety pounds, possibly more that is a real heavy walk, he is coming from behind if he comes, and is trouble, big trouble, on the hoof.

You cannot go in the main doors to the Pickford Center after five unless it is a really big event. The day guards go home and you have to go around back. That means turn off Vine onto a little quiet street.

No people.

No lights.

No way in hell.

I keep going. And keep going pretty fast. I won’t run. Only prey runs. But I won’t slow down either. I keep counting people on the street and distances between and shadow areas and how far between each. I hit the Pickford Center and do not turn off. I keep going to a corner where there are three people standing under a light at a bus stop and I stop. And wait.

He hesitates a little. But then keeps going. I let that guy get a block down before I turn back for that little dark street to the back of the Pickford Center.

I stay twitchy all night.

And I make sure to catch a ride back home.


*by the way at no time during any of this did I get goose flesh or did hair on the back of my neck rise which all did happen when i read this damn post of anita’s how wrong is it her posts spook me ways immediate physical danger does not?


where the art work comes from :
that is late nights at the playground by foryoutoknowtice

27 Responses to night at the playground

  1. Yikes, Max, that is extremely scary. I think I’d be up packing, too, just because I’d be so wired from the memory. I am really glad you’re safe.

  2. You are a very smart cookie.

    I got jumped from behind tonight by a drunk teenager…Halloween is such fun! This was only my second fight since birth, but I won, no question. I lost about a shotglass worth of hair, she lost twice that and peed herself because the cops wouldn’t let her out of the handcuffs and into a bathroom. Also, they poured out the two bottles of Bacardi she had with her. AND her friends totally chewed her out for half an hour on the busiest street corner in Canada on a bustling Friday night.

  3. max

    Wow it sucks to be her.

    I am so glad you and I are us.

  4. Kym

    Sounds like you did exactly the right thing. My martial arts teacher tells us to turn around and stare hard at the stalker but somehow, I worry that this might make the situation escalate.

    I’m glad your response worked!

    And Rain, I’m sorry you were hurt.

  5. Is the martial arts teacher a man? And does he have years of experience? That might work for him, but turning around and staring is not something you do when an opponent outweighs you and will probably fight dirty and you are a woman. (My brother is a fourth-degree martial arts instructor. First rule: get away if you can.) There’s about a 1 in 3 chance that staring would work–the other two possibilities are that the stalker will either take is as an invitation (he is deranged, hence the stalking, he is not logical or rational), or he will take it as a challenge.

  6. Kym

    Actually, she is an amazing 57 year old grandmotherly looking woman with a will of iron and a key chain that holds enough lethal weaponry (all innocuous looking) to take out a football team!

    Her rational is that most stalkers don’t want to be recognized (note: this isn’t for a deserted area but for a place where, as with Max, some other people are around). She says looking at them will make them turn around and look for a more compliant victim. I think she is mostly right. But I believe, you might need to have some skills or weaponry (smile) to back up the challenge because that is what you are doing when you turn and stare at the stalker.

    There is some anecdotal evidence (from interviews done with rapists) that she is correct.

  7. max

    Kym’s martial arts teacher is tiny. I am a head taller than her. I am pretty sure she would beat me arm wrestling.

    My first rule is, avoid altercation. Once you turn and face someone? Alternatives are gone it is fight time. Maybe they will walk. Maybe they will not. But I really, really do not like being in a fight with someone twice my size. You come away with not pretty bruises. Hopefully less not pretty bruises than the other guy. But they still hurt. I will find any other way before I turn and fight. Last night, any other way was, stay fast, stay distant, stay in the light.

    Rain that is terrible. Hugs and aspirin.

  8. max

    [ps : next time give the drunk teenager the candy]

  9. Very perceptive, Max, to notice a guy following you.
    And a smart getaway plan.

  10. I caught the late bus last year on the day before Thanksgiving- which means in commuter bus speak that the business area of downtown Seattle was empty…empty and quiet and my bus stop was on this hill by this creepy little park.

    So OF COURSE this crazy guy walks up to me and wants money or smokes and he’s in my face and finally I look him in the eye and smile with all of my teeth and say, ” If you died right now, no one would care ”

    Sometimes that line between the stuff I write and real life gets blurry.

    Thank God.

  11. max

    You know a smile is one of the most powerful weapons on earth. Grown men have backed down from me just because I smiled when they were expecting scared. There is something about a person who is not scared when she should be that is scary even to the scary people.

    Not all of them though. If you meet someone who smiles back? Run.

  12. …I’d start screaming fire or something too…better you know, increaseing those survival odds is the name of the game.

  13. Kym, okay, in a crowded area, then yeah, I’d agree with her–but I thought you were specifically talking about what max had been faced with, so that’s my confusion. If someone thinks they’re invisible and you prove they’re not, it’ll probably make them go look for someone else. I’ve had guys stalk me at a mall or (pre 9/11) at the airport, and I turned and faced them with a hand up and a very loud, ‘get the fuck away from me.’ Which, believe me, gets everyone’s attention and they’re going to look at the guy and pay attention to what he’s doing. Just be sure that after that point, you’re not leaving alone or have to go to a secluded parking area, etc. (Obviously, you’ll have great instruction from her since she’s so tough. ;) )

  14. I, too, use the stare technique. But first I use the cross the street and double back and see if they follow technique. That way, if they do cross after you, turn and stare while they’re still on the corner. I’ve never had an instance where the guy didn’t immediately cross the street to get away from me watching him, OBVIOUSLY following me.

  15. max

    What is truly disturbing to me is, the majority of women I know have been in this situation — or worse. Men preying on women is not unusual. It is common. So common, almost every woman reading this can flash to at least one and more often more similar events in her life. At the mall. At a bus stop. Walking down the sidewalk. At night. During the day. In the morning. In the evening. Anywhwere, anytime. There is something seriously and disturbingly wrong with a world in which half of the people on the planet have to view the other half as a potential threat of attack.

  16. Everyone views men as a potential threat; men are actually the victims in the majority of assaults. But they are overwhelmingly the perpetrators as well. It’s a lot like racial profiling.

  17. max

    I do not think it is like racial profiling. Guys do not get pulled over for being male. Stopped on the street and asked for ID for being male. Racial profiing is different.

  18. Raincoaster got jumped? Oh my.

    Max, I wonder what he would have done if you turned around and screamed, “Stop following me!”

    Honestly, I think I’ve only had one person in my whole life follow me and he was a harmless pothead twit. Sounds scary though.

  19. I still can’t believe Raincoaster got jumped. Man I would have loved to have seen that fight go down!

  20. max

    Rain got totally jumped have you seen her recent posts? She got into a street fight with two drunk teenage girls. [Jeez, I turn my back for a second….]

  21. I have not seen it but since it’s my recovery day [translate – sitting around on my ass doing nothing] I will be sure to visit my little squid loving friend.

  22. max

    Canadian police sound more like arbitrators than like police they were really nice and reasonable to everybody where here there would have been a riot and lawsuits.

  23. No doubt. I’d be pretty angry about that – especially if someone grabbed a hearty fistful of my hair? That’s certain death.

  24. max

    The last fight I was in with a girl, I was a kid and it was a girl and her brother and I womped them both because they were pulling hair and I was punching. Pulling hair does not get you very far. A punch in the nose does.

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