Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. (Mark Twain)

I used to live in Riviera Beach. A lot of people automatically think, "Riviera Beach is a really bad place to live." But sometimes towns, just like people, get reputations they don't really deserve. For the most part, Riviera Beach is just a small town. There are a few neighborhoods that I wouldn't go exploring by myself late at night. Then again, there are very few neighborhoods anywhere that I would go exploring at night. Generally it's just a bad idea to explore anything at night by yourself.

Anyway, I'm getting side-tracked from my story. I used to live in Riviera Beach, so I'm used to driving around the town. I know the short cuts, and which ones to avoid, when I want to go somewhere. I don't worry about my daughter working in Riviera Beach, or about driving late at night to pick her up, because the main roads are perfectly safe.

This evening when I went to pick my daughter up, I took my usual exit off the interstate. There was a pickup truck already stopped at the traffic light at the bottom of the ramp, and one car in front of me on the ramp. As I was gliding to a stop behind them, the car in front of me pulled off to the side of the road and two huge guys jumped out of the car. Leaving the car door open, they started toward my car (I had just come to a stop behind the truck.) I'm watching the guys (because really, jumping out and leaving your car with the doors open is just weird), and I noticed that both of them are holding something down by their side. It's almost as if they're trying to hide whatever it is that they have. Then I see a glint, and realize that it's something metal. Keep in mind this is all happening really fast. They guys are almost to my car, and the thought races into my mind "I didn't lock the car doors!" So I start groping for the automatic button, but as usual I hit the button for the windows instead.

At this point, I have to admit that pure panic sets in. I start banging on the buttons trying to get the window up and the doors locked. Windows are going up and down all around the car, the locks are clicking down and up and down again, and the guys are coming around to my side of the car and the stupid truck in front of me doesn't realize that he needs to run the d*** red light so I can race away!

The guys get next to my door, look in through window so they know I'm in a panic (it has to be clear on my face), and they smile. Then they pass me by. I can finally see what they're carrying. They each have a spray paint can, and they're heading to the underpass bridge. It wasn't a carjacking; it was a graffiti tag. I was so relieved.

And of course now the light finally changed, so I could drive away (still shaking).

Riviera Beach is just a normal small town, despite it's reputation. As long as you stay out of certain neighborhoods, you don't have anything to fear. Except fear itself, apparently.

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