Wednesday, April 08, 2009

I think I am a trouble magnet

Weird stuff, stuff that requires police involvement, happens around me a lot and I don't know why. I don't run with a shady crowd. I live in a pretty nice neighborhood. I don't frequent places normally associated with criminal activity. I don't engage in any illegal habits. Yet I find myself frequently involved in odd circumstances. I don't think I have a hero complex. Generally, heroes have a much lower laziness quotient than I do. I certainly don't seek these situations out. I don't even know where I would go if I wanted to do that, although 'places I normally go when I'm just out and about trying to mind my own business' would seem to be a pretty good start.
I've already shared this story. Now let me tell you about the last week or so.
  • Last Friday night, around 9:00 or so, I was on my way home. I passed a bus stop on Hillsborough Avenue where I saw a woman sitting on the bench and a man standing over her, leaning down just inches from her face, obviously screaming at her and flailing his arms. I did a u-turn, parked and walked over to see what was going on. Sometimes having a physical presence that implies the ability to do bodily harm combined with just a touch of demeanor that suggests bodily harm is not only possible but likely, and a loud speaking voice, is a blessing because he took off. The woman, who didn't know the man, was petrified. She was just minding her business, waiting for a bus to go home, when he came up out of nowhere threatening to beat her up without even offering a reason. She just sat still, hoping he'd go away but didn't know if that would work. I called the police who took a description and said they would patrol the neighborhood, but since he was gone, wouldn't dispatch a car to the location. I hung up and waited there with her until the bus came.
  • Yesterday morning, I was at work. We have a business center for guests with a couple of computers. A guy came up to me, agitated, saying he couldn't get his document to print. More than agitated, he seemed on the verge of being seriously upset, which raised a flag. We have two computers and only one printer and almost every time someone has trouble printing, it's simply a matter of the cable not being plugged into that computer. I took the cable and went to plug it in but happened to glance at the screen before doing so and saw a text document containing clearly pornographic content. He minimized it right away and mumbled something about it being an essay for a college application. I intentionally plugged the cable into the wrong port (so it wouldn't print) and asked him to bring the document back up and try printing again. He did so, and of course it failed, and he minimized it again very quickly but not before I was able to verify that it was definitely porn. I said, "that's weird, let me go get my manager and see if he knows what's wrong". He got spooked and left. Upon looking closer at the document before deleting it, we found out it was extremely graphic child porn. Called the cops, who were extremely interested, but I don't know if they caught him or not. I feel terrible about it because if I had known exactly what it was while he was there, there's no question he could have been detained until they arrived. Instead, he may or be out there and doing more than downloading twisted stories. This will cause me considerable lost sleep.
  • Last night, I went to the Lightning game and was walking back to my car afterwards. It was quite a while after the game had ended so there wasn't a crowd around. I was walking north on Jefferson Street and there was a young woman walking the same direction on the opposite side. Suddenly a guy comes running up from behind which immediately sets me on edge (a quick aside to people who run at night for fitness: nobody enjoys that except you. For the rest of us, adults running at night mostly signifies some kind of unhealthy activity taking place.). He runs up to her and they start yelling at each other about something that happened at the bar they just left. So now I'm stopping, keeping an eye on what's going on in case I have to call 911 or something worse. She takes off walking and he stands there. Then he runs up to her again and they resume arguing. This happens a couple of times, except now they're going up the on ramp to the Selmon Expressway. I stay at the bottom and I watch him come down and walk away but she's still up there, presumably walking along an expressway at midnight. I call 911 and for the second time in about 12 hours I'm giving my name, date of birth and home address to a police officer.
If you believe in any kind of higher power even a little bit, when enough crazy things happen to or around you, at some point you have to look skyward and say "Why me?!?"


JPFDeuce said...

Why you?
Answer: Because you ar a good person and know what to do in these instances. You know right from wrong and that makes you a sight better than too many others.

Anonymous said...

Because YOU are Tampa's very own and much needed Batman! That's why...