My clinical schedule sometimes necessitates my parking in a garage near the subway station. The other night, I left the hospital late and didn't get to the garage until midnight.
All I wanted was to get to my car, drive home, and go to sleep. I was beat. So when the elevator doors opened, I only hesitated a moment before entering, despite the guy already on the elevator.
The guy who was standing in the corner, WITH HIS BACK TO THE DOOR, WEARING A DARK BLUE HOODIE WITH THE HOOD COVERING HIS HEAD, RUMMAGING IN HIS BACKPACK.
Yes, I know. I was stupid. I should have backed up and taken the stairs or waited for the next elevator. If life had a soundtrack, I'd have heard ominous music as the elevator doors opened, warning me that Something Bad might be about to occur.
As it happened, I didn't give a fuck in that moment. Maybe subconsciously I was thinking, "I refuse to let fear guide my actions." Maybe I didn't want to offend the guy. Maybe I took his slender build in with a glance and realized I could probably take him in a fight (because I'm fucking MEAN when I have to be, and I fight dirty). Of course, if he had a knife or gun, I'd be screwed. Most likely it was just fatigue clouding my judgment.
So, instead of being smart, I stepped into the elevator, hit the button for my floor, and addressed him loudly, "Where are you going?" I wanted him to turn around so that I could see what he was up to.
Here's where it really gets surreal. The dude turned around and faced me, and he was drooling like a mastiff. I'm not even kidding, it was like a waterfall running out of his mouth, down his chin, and dripping onto his clothes. Incessant. Copious. Disgusting. I don't know if he had some kind of handicap, or if he was high as a fucking kite (though from looking at his eyes, I vote for "high"). Either way, I maintained eye contact as he mumbled something about wanting to get on the train. I cheerfully pointed out that he'd "missed [his] stop," since he needed to get off on the previous floor, and as the doors opened on my floor, I hit the proper button for him and hightailed it towards my car, while glancing over my shoulder to make sure he stayed ON the elevator.
My adrenaline was through the roof at this point and I was darting glances all over the deserted parking structure (which I naturally do anyway, I'm not completely stupid, all appearances to the contrary!) Without further incident I got into my vehicle, the trusty Blue Zephyr, and drove home.
Of course, thanks to the adrenaline rush, I ended up not getting to sleep until 3AM...
Let this be a cautionary tale for all of you, especially my daughters. Don't be dumb. This could have ended tragically and only luck was on my side.
*edited to change "adrenalin" to "adrenaline", because otherwise my daughter was going to stroke out.