Short version of story:
Met strange guy in dark parking lot alone.
Had a panic attack later.
Lived to post about it.
Incredibly long winded version of story:
I was sitting in my car just getting ready to go home Wednesday night after soaking up the free WiFi. The place was closed, and everyone else had already left. I had just a couple things left to do, and then I was going to leave…..
But then I noticed a guy walking across the parking lot, headed straight for me.
He looked a little stressed out.
I didn’t know whether to communicate with him or drive away.
If this had been in a town like Lansing, I would have driven away.
When I went to MSU, there were frequent stories of women going out alone at night and getting attacked and/or raped. (not just rumors; actual stuff in the newspaper where the police listed the crimes).
Now I (thankfully) live in a very boring place where the crime rate is low (but not nonexistent).
Perhaps against my better judgment, I let him come up to me and start talking.
He said his friends had stranded him at WalMart (about a mile away) and he had walked all this distance trying to find someone with a phone so he could call someone to come pick him up.
Again, probably against my better judgment, I let him use my phone .
And he really did call for help.
And he said thank you and gave my phone back.
Simple as that.
He started telling me about how he was stressed out because all these bad things had happened to him at once. The first thing was his home had burned down, and then there were other items on the list too, and more, and more. I felt so bad for him. Then after all that, for some reason his friends had stranded him at WalMart. As he walked away, he said something like “but I got my cokes in the bag… that’ll make me smile, right?” At first I thought he might mean cocaine, but I could see a few coca-cola cans in the bag.
He thanked me again for the help and walked off sadly to wait for the person who was coming to get him.
Now that I think about it, I don’t know why he couldn’t have used the phones at WalMart, or asked any of the customers in the parking lot there, but whatever. (That is kinda weird, right?)
Anyway. I went home (after getting a cup of Mt.Dew). Walked in and put my laptop case on the bed. Did my usual nighttime ritual of taking off the leg braces, lifting myself in bed, getting comfy, pulling a couple blankets over my lap…
I reached into my laptop case, where I’d also kept my tablet…
And my tablet was missing.
My brand new tablet which I love slightly more than oxygen.
The panic attack started gradually as I searched and searched again, and searched a third time even though by then it was ridiculous. I got up, put my shoes back on, grabbed the canes, hobbled back out to the car to re-trace my steps…
Nothing on the floor, nothing on the porch, nothing in the yard where it might have dropped out, nothing in the car.
By now the panic attack was in full force.
Hyperventilating. Heart pounding. Vision blurring more than usual. Terror. Gasping. Repeating the same three words over and over and over and over again: (“I don’t understand, I don’t understand, I don’t understand, I don’t understand….”)
I started grasping at wild theories… did the phone guy steal it somehow?
Still hyperventilating in full panic, I went back to the bedroom and pulled back the covers again…
And there it was.
Which makes NO SENSE, because I had ALREADY SEARCHED THERE multiple times.
Yet… there it was.
Panic changed into relief, but it still took forever for me to get my heart rate and breathing normal again. Ever heard the loud deep gasping someone makes when they’re hyperventilating? Yeah. That was me.
But eventually I finally calmed down. I’d found my tablet.
It still makes no sense that it was right there in the exact same spot I’d already searched multiple times, though. I just don’t get it.