Get a Ride From a Stranger

First thing’s first: Stage combat is fucking sweet. 100% take a class in it if you have the chance.

Second thing’s second: Stage combat classes that let out at 10 PM in a rather notoriously sketchy area of town make for strange bedfellows.

I’m getting ahead of myself: let’s Memento this shit so I can explain.

I don’t have a Polaroid budget; just use your imagination.

Today I was running late to get to campus, and illegally parked my car in a free parking zone that technically shouldn’t be abused for a 3 hour class. I didn’t get a ticket, so props to me, but I did have to move my car in the small period of time between that class letting out and my stage combat class beginning.

Now, there are only so many places to park downtown, and even fewer to park for free during rush hour traffic. I, being morally opposed to paying for parking (as evidenced by the fact I am willing to risk getting my shit towed rather than pay $25 for an on campus stall for the day) elected to park my car on the complete opposite side of the city from where I needed to be, so I could take the LRT down without worrying about dropping $10 to park underground from where my stage combat class is held.

I have priorities is what I’m saying here.

This did leave me in the slightly awkward position of needing to take said LRT at 10 PM, which is when the freaks start coming out in earnest. I’ve never felt physically unsafe on any of the stops I’d be making at night, but it’s also not great to be sitting next to a dude raving about murder while you still have four stations before you get off (true story).

Now, the only situation worse than the one I was contemplating was one taken by a lady in class: she parked directly behind our rehearsal space.

“Andrea,” you may be saying, “that’s free parking right by where you need to be, why the fuck didn’t you just go there?”

“Simple,” I lovingly reply. “Because that’s 97 Street at night, motherfucker, and I choose to keep my kidneys.”

This really is the best possible outcome of the situation.

Basically, the only spot to park for free in the immediate vicinity of our rehearsal space is in one of the shadiest parts of town at night, and this lovely little old lady looked at the situation and was like, “Try me.”

Now, she was smart enough to know this was a shitty fucking idea and was looking for people to walk her out of the class after we wrapped up, but literally every other person was heading the exact opposite direction because, again, 97 Street at night. Upon hearing I and another girl in the class were planning to take the LRT, however, she offered us a ride in exchange for acting as an impromptu posse.

The other girl accepted fairly quickly, because a ride’s a ride. I was debating taking the easier route with the drunks, but two small women walking alone at night on 97 still seemed like shitty odds, so I decided I’d throw my bulky ass frame into the mix to try to offset any assholes. What’s the saying? Two’s company, three’s a beat down?

Anyway, the three of us gathered our shit and moseyed on down the road toward our imminent demise, only to find the street totally empty. Like, there was no one there. I got myself totally amped for no reason at all, which I’m grateful for but, also, disappointing?

Until we started driving, anyway, and I realized I’d strapped myself in with a fucking menace.

Where we’re going we don’t need brakes.

This woman does not believe in headchecks. She doesn’t fuck with turn signals. She nearly managed to miss the fact a construction worker was crossing the road in spite of his entire person being fucking luminescent. It was a heart-attack disguised as a favour, and if I were religious in any capacity I would have spent the duration praying; as it was, I very nearly kissed the pavement when I finally reached the safety of my own car.

Knowing a driver like her shares the same streets as me makes me wish my car had airbags.

Ultimately, I’m still glad I took the ride: I had the chance to give the other girl a ride the rest of the way home so I knew she got there safely, and get myself back home in time to write this sucker up. I choose to take that as a victory, since my life is now at least 15 years shorter than it would have been otherwise. It’s just a little odd to realize that spending 20 minutes learning how to be convincingly choked to death was not the most dangerous situation of my day.

Cities, amirite?


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