bibbsy and i get into a lot of uncomfortable situations when wandering around rochester at night. usually directly after having very thorough, very interesting conversations. and also usually after eating ice cream. we sat on a bench in the darkness, illumination coming from two sources: 1- the street light hovering over the cascade street cul-de-sac and 2- the house next to the park on cascade street. deep in conversation, neither of us realize the advance of two middle aged, mustachioed, tank top wearing, beer swilling individuals. men. who would approach two young women, in a park, at night, but them? you say we should know better. of course we should. bibbsy's mother had warned her minutes prior (via cellphone) that something may happen in a park at night. to which my dear friend responded:
i thought it was a good point at the time. apparently, we were both mistaken.
"we don't know matty."
"oh, we thought he was over here."
"nope. he's not."
"how old are you girls?"
"nah. you're not 19. they 19?"
"nah. but where's matty?"
"we're 19. we don't know matty."
"you're like 16..." -mumbling- "so where's matty?"
"we don't know matty."
"you're not 19. 17 maybe..."
the above conversation ensued, with the second said man staying much longer than necessary, hovering much too close for comfort and clearly slurring [clearly slurring? oxymoronic? i think so, but appropriate] his words until they were a total mess of sounds, indecipherable to even the greatest of linguists. after rather large anxiety attacks, in which we both envisioned horror movie plotlines and SVU coldcase files, our thumping hearts were calmed when the men (with beer in hand) returned to their illuminated, intoxicated household. we looked at each other, laughed nervously, and continued on with our previous conversation. bad idea. we should have left when the cop car stopped at the corner to 'watch for speeders.' that's bullshit. he was watching us. too bad he didn't come out and tell us to "get yourselves inside, ladies. it's awfully late for two young women to be hanging around in a dark area as this." or some other sage wisdom that his doubtless experience has provided him. we were daring. we remained, proclaiming our right as legal, law abiding citizens to express our desire to sit on a public bench at night. but, unfortunately (in hind sight), the cop drove off, and we were still afforded the right of free loitering in a public rest area. so we did just that. bad idea.
20 minute interlude
and then it happened. bibbsy was talking, i was listening. and then i heard something else, something behind us. i turned to look, seeing the Budweiser twins returneth with a third, stumbling friend. maybe this was matty? who knows. one of them appeared to be holding a shotgun, although this may just be my overactive imagination remembering faulty, more frightening details in the after-effects of my terror. nervous as this trio had me, i turned back to the conversation at hand. yet again, i heard something else behind me. the rattle of a chain against cement. the padding feet of a quadraped. the panting tongue of a monster.
-enter scary doberman. growling. tied to small tree by chain. and leaping, as if about to successfully break from said chain.
my head turned slowly, my eyes focused dimly in the darkness, and i swear to whatever else on earth, i saw the pupils of the beast, glowing. time to go. the minute we stepped off the bench, this massive dog began to bark. and snarl, and lunge, and leap against the only feeble restraint that held it away from us. in the dark, this chain was invisible. we could not tell if it had the capability to come running at us or not. and it certainly tried. oh yes. weaving back and forth in the yard, ready to rip us limb from limb, lusting for massacre. i have never been afraid of a dog in my life, not german sheperds nor terriers nor great danes. not even other dobermans that i have come across. but there is something in the sound of a dog's bark. the tone changes somehow, and the ear can hear the difference between a bark that says "hello! what's going on? who are you? pay attention to me! what's this? what now?" and a bark that says "i want your blood." and this dog had the second one down to a t. not to mention the growling, snapping, snarling fangs that were offset by the gleam in its blackened eyes.
"they've got a doberman."
"oh my god."
"oh my god."
"i think it's about that time."
"i think it is, yes. they've got a doberman. fucker."
"it's going to attack us."
"i don't want to get eaten by a doberman. i don't want to get eaten by a fucking doberman."
"is it still on the chain?"
"don't look at it. no visual contact. looking at it will only provoke it."
-viscious barking, snarling, and chain-rattling-
"i don't want to get eaten by a fucking doberman."
"maybe my mother was right. it's crazy out here. never again. never again at night."
we walked as far away from that thing as possible. at a right angle to the house, instead of in a diagonal across the grass. single file on the sidewalk, right up against the edge of the ditch. single file! at night! could these men not see the extreme measures we were taking to avoid this dog? could they not understand the terror that was striking into our hearts at the mere thought that we might be bitten, much less approached by their canine companion? no. no such luck. i do believe that, in the event of such a horrific occurence, these men would have been too drunk to fully comprehend the consequences, and therefore be striken totally useless in any effort to halt such an attack. and so, after the longest half-a-block walk of our lives, we found refuge in the steel-framed, silver body of my trusty little escort. do not let the inanimate punctuation of the above conversations fool you into believing that we were not hysterical. although our voices were never fully raised in fear or alarm, let me assure you ... we were both seconds from dying of panic.
At what age does it become socially unacceptable to hide under your bed?