The One Where I Tell You How I Almost Got Shot: TWICE.
It seems like lately I've been so busy trashing critiquing celebrities and taking care of housekeeping duties here on the blog that I've strayed a bit from storytelling. And I'm sure you've been missing my stories. Or not. But nevertheless I spent yesterday making a list of some things that have happened in my life that might make humorous &/or interesting stories.
I have six of them.
•Getting hired for my very first teaching job three days before school started as a 5th grade English as a Second Language teacher. (Fun fact - I do not, nor have I ever, spoken a word of spanish or any other "first" language.) CHECK.
•Having to move into a new house while on complete bed rest. As in, "in the hospital" kind of bed rest.
•The time Husband and I had second row seats at a taping of "The Late Show With David Letterman" and the second guest was animal expert Jack Hanna. And he had a snake. (Fun fact - I am terrified of snakes. As in "hyperventilate and burst into tears" kind of terrified.)
•My three colonoscopies.
•The time Husband and I almost got shot in a Dunkin' Donuts.
•The time Husband and I almost got shot at a Best Western.
scrrrreeeeech. Hold on.
This seems like a good place to start.
The first time -
The year was probably around 1989. But I can't be sure. All the college years have become a big blur of stirrup pants and permed hair and White Zin as the years have gone on. And on.
Here's a photo from around that time so you have a visual before I tell the story.
I wasn't kidding about the perm. Or the White Zin, apparently.
Husband and I had been dating for a year...two?... (again, the details have been blurred by the passing of over 23 years and as many barrels of Chardonnay) and were in the middle of studying for finals. For a change of pace (and obviously a donut) we decided to go study at the nearby Dunkin' Donuts one night at around 10:00. It was a good choice, because I remember it being quiet and empty save for one other college boy studying at a nearby table. Plus, there were donuts. We sat at the counter for some reason, and after about 20 minutes the lone employee looked over our heads out the glass storefront and said something like, "Oh, shit, here she comes again."
Of course we followed his gaze.
And oh, shit there was a raggy and homelessy looking woman veering down the street, waving a gun and heading right for the door. And I wasn't thinking she was comin' for the sprinkled Munchkins.
Now, for the re-telling of the chain of events that followed, I have to give you two versions - mine and Husband's - because they vary significantly and as this story has been retold over the past 23 years, have been the source of many arguments and bets over who's remembering it accurately (me), but whatever.
Here's my version of what happened next (i.e., the truth) -
*imagine everything I'm about to say in slo-motion, because that's how it always plays out in my head:
Husband and I see crazy and homelessy woman waving a gun over her head and approaching door.
Jump off our barstools and run to the back of the store, frantically looking for an exit.
Other studying college boy runs with us.
By this time, crazy woman has entered the building and is shouting at the Donut man.
He's shouting back.
I discover an open door! A bathroom! Safety!
I run in, Husband and boy follow, I yell at them to CLOSE THE DOOR! CLOSE THE DOOR! and we crouch behind the toilet.
All three of us stay crouched and shaking on the floor of the bathroom for 12 or 80 minutes listening to the shouting (really it was probably only like one) until the Donut man comes and tells us it's okay, she's gone.
We run out and see that she has, in fact, left the building and is continuing her crazy walk and ranting and gun waving down the street, scoop up our books and papers and backpacks, make sure the Donut man has called the police, and run out the door as fast as our shaking legs could carry us.
I believe I even left a half of a chocolate glazed on my plate.
I was that kind of scared.
Husband, on the other hand, remembers it this way -
Crazy and homlessy woman approaches door.
We jump off our barstools and run to the back of the store, frantically looking for an exit.
Other boy runs with us.
Crazy woman enters store, begins shouting with Donut man.
We discover an open bathroom door.
Michelle pushes everyone else out of the way, runs in and slams the door, leaving me and other boy out in the open like Budweiser cans at target practice.
We bang on the door, and finally Michelle opens it and allows us to join her in safety.
The rest of our stories match up, but to this day he is convinced I left him to die in a Dunkin' Donuts.
Whatever. He almost got me shot about three years later.
The second time - (this one's longer. Settle in.)
It was summer of 1992 (this one I know for a fact) - the year before we got married.
Husband and I drove over to the California coast (from Arizona) and meandered up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco. After a couple of days in the city by the bay, our plans were to head home via Hwy. 5, which, while not nearly as scenic, would get us home more quickly. This being the first "grown up" trip we'd taken together (other than the times in college we'd go camping and lie to our parents), every aspect of it was planned and budgeted meticulously. We'd planned to stay in Best Westerns every night (the reason escapes me now, but this fact is important) and had reservations in different cities all along our route.
The day we left San Francisco we headed to the Best Western in Salinas, California.
Ever been to Salinas?
Like a scene from a bad hooker movie (because I know you know what I'm talking about). The whole town. And most especially, the Best Western. Totally the type of place Dexter would turn into a kill room. But, since we had reservations and a deal of some sort, we stumbled in the front office late that night, tired from our day in San Francisco and really needing to just crash and rest up for the long day of driving ahead.
The hispanic man behind the desk was short.
Not only in stature, but in his demeanor.
We paid the man, took our key and went to our room.
Our room that had stained sheets, dirty carpet and a pubic hair on the toilet seat.
Now, if there's anything you should know about Husband (and 90% of the general population), it's that bodily fluids and particles that do not come from his body or mine (or years later, those of his children) are his straw. As in, "that broke the camel's back".
And so, despite it being after midnight, we high-tailed it back to the front office and rang the little teacher bell on the desk to summon the man from his dark, attached apartment where he was either watching t.v. or possibly skinning dead cats to politely tell him his motel was a crime scene and to ask for our money back.
The short man got angry.
Spoke very rapidly in a language I'm gonna assume was Spanish but could easily have been a variation of Chinese about "already paying" and "no refunds."
Husband got angry.
Spoke in a loud voice about yellow sheets and little black hairs on the toilet.
Man refused to give us our money back.
Husband slapped his hand on the counter.
Short, angry man snapped and opened the drawer under the counter and reached into the waaay back and.......
We don't know.
I cannot honestly tell you what it was he was reaching for.
Because I grabbed Husband's arm and pulled him out of there faster than a frat boy in Mexico runs from a donkey.
We got in our car and took off, leaving our $59 (I'm guessing) with the tiny angry, dark man who was going to kill us. By this time it was around 1:00 or so. We were now not only exhausted but so full of adrenaline that we didn't know where to go and since we were stuck in a part of town where we obviously didn't belong, decided to make a fast getaway, no matter the late hour. I grabbed a map, discovered that the next Best Western was in Milpitas which was about 57 miles away, and we began to drive.
The lonely two-lane road that connects Salinas, California to Milpitas is desolate and in the middle of the night, as dark as the front office man's nasty and violent soul. The only thing that kept us awake on that hour's drive was trying to avoid the hundreds of little desert mice that darted and scurried across the road (at first)....and after we got really sleepy, trying to see how many we could hit. We talk about that drive all the time.
This photo was taken in S.F. the day before our near deaths in Salinas, and I wanted you to see how threatening we looked.
And how totally out of place we were at a motel where I'm quite certain more than one hooker has met her fate.
But the silver lining to this story? The Best Western that we pulled into after 2 a.m. in Milpitas, CA. was brand new, and had a hot tub in the room.
Worth almost getting shot? Maybe not.
But worth it's weight in donuts because there wasn't a stray pubic hair to be found.
Next storytime I'll tell you about my colonoscopies.
Bet you can't wait.