Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dude! What are you doing in my car?

I had the oddest encounter yesterday in Aberdeen.

I work as a graphic designer in Aberdeen during the week and have been for around the last year. I have fallen into a routine that is quite comfortable, where every day of the work week is pretty much the same; drive to work, go to lunch, drive home. Aberdeen is half an hour away from my home, so I spend a little time driving every day. Not too much drive time, just enough to get some thinking (quit laughing!) done, or at least listen to the latest album I've become obsessed with.

Yesterday, well, yesterday was a little different.

My alarm is set for 7:00 Monday - Friday (thank God I can set my iPhone and forget about it), and at 7:00 am, it went off. I quickly (as I do every morning) reached over and turned it off. I sat back down on the bed, fell back, and closed my eyes. I lay there cussin' in my head about it being Monday morning (after a long weekend) and I didn't want to get up and go to work. You know, the typical whining. This went on for what seemed like 5 minutes. In reality, when I decided to get up and get ready, I looked at the time and it was 8:22. I start work at 8:00. I called in and told them I was running a little late and would be there as soon as possible. I was an hour late. When I did get to work, it was, unfortunately, Monday.

Lunch? Lunch went well, at least I think it did, though the phrase "Everything's better with cheese" will forever have a new meaning.

The rest of the afternoon went by as normal (for a Monday) until it was time to go home for the day.

I went to my van and went to leave work. I put the North MS All Stars "Key To the Kingdom" on the radio to listen to on my afternoon commute. I took my right onto Franklin and a right onto Jefferson. One more left and then a right onto 45 and I'm on my way home!

As I pulled up to Matubba St. (which was pretty busy this time of day) I see this younger (than me) man walking toward the intersection. As he sees me, he starts waving and runs up to my window (which was partially down, because I was smoking (I know!)) and started saying things like "I know you from somewhere, don't I?" I reply with, "I don't think so," and he goes into this spill about he's been out walking all over town looking for a job and can I give him a ride home because he's worn out from walking.

Now, I've lived in bigger cities where pan-handling is commonplace and I know it when I see it. I immediately begin telling him I'm on a schedule and don't have time for side trips. Matubba St is still too busy for me to pull out and leave, so as I reiterate that I am in a hurry (for the third time), I look at the clock in my van, to help stress the point.

Side Note: My van has a slightly occurring electrical problem in which all the gauges will start flopping around and it says a door is open, which turns the interior lights on. I have turned the lights off so as not to cause me problems when driving at night, and a quick blow to the dash usually makes the gauges go back to working correctly, at least until the next bump. The only problem is that when it doesn't see all the doors closed (as was the problem yesterday), it doesn't automatically lock the doors when you put the van in gear. 

Like I said, I looked at the clock in my van to help stress the point, and when I looked back to the window, the "gentleman" had already walked around the front of my van and was in the passenger seat closing the door, before I even realized it!

I just looked at him dumbfounded, trying to assess the situation. He didn't look to be carrying anything that could be used as a weapon. 

As soon as he was in the van, he started crying about how he hasn't had anything to eat in days and he has 2 kids at home and he'd do anything, and he meant ANYTHING, if I could just give him some money to feed his kids. It took me a few minutes (and several right turns) to get him to understand that I had a wife and 2 children waiting on me to get home to eat myself and I don't carry any cash on me at anytime and I only get paid once a month and it's already all gone (all of which is total BS). When he figured out I wasn't going to give him any money, he said, "You can drop me out right here," to which I promptly slammed on the brakes.

I'm not even ashamed that I dropped him off right beside one of the better neighborhoods in Aberdeen. I'm just glad he got out.