Life is a giant mystery. Not everything is happiness and rainbows in there, either.
Sometimes, it's scary. Sometimes, life is more like a horror movie than a sitcom. Wild animals, unsurvivable situations, car accidents, awful awful things surround us on a daily basis.
They leave lasting scars.
Almost The End
I was driving to school one winter morning. It was winter, so it was still dark in the morning. I saw a trash bin in the middle of the road. I drive a crappy Saturn with plastic panels so I figured I'd take one for the nice cars and hit it to push it to the side of the road.
Also, I was a kid so it seemed like a fun idea. But last minute I chickened out, but still drove very close to it. That's when I saw it was actually a kid tying his shoe in the middle of the road. Doesn't paralyze me with fear, but it never fails to scare me with I think about how close I was to a different much worse life.
Way Too Close A Call
When I was 19 I was VERY blatantly followed by a man.
I was backpacking in Europe for my gap year and one of my last stops was Lisbon, Portugal. It took me a little while to notice but after about 10 minutes, there was no mistaking it.
I was wandering around, taking in the city and stopping at some little shops on the way back to my hostel when I realised a man (mid 40s at least and fit/strong looking) walking parallel on the other side of the street was stopping at the exact same time as I was and just kind of resting against the wall whilst I was inside the shops. I made a point of abruptly turning around and going back the way I came and he did the same.
I took AGES in one shop thinking he'd give up but when I emerged 20 minutes later, there he was across the street staring at me. I stopped, stared back and yelled "What the f**k do you want?!" He looked away as though he was looking at the clouds. I walked back towards my hostel again, more quickly and he crossed the street and was getting closer to me. I panicked and stopped at a small restaurant and asked the man behind the counter for help.
Thank god his English was excellent because my Portuguese was (still is) utterly atrocious. I explained what was happening and he told me to sit and he would keep an eye on me. I sat and ate and read my book for more than 90 minutes before deciding it was safe to leave.
As I went to say goodbye to the shop keeper, I had a horrible feeling in my gut. The street was on a big hill so the restaurant was the lower level and a small skatepark/street performance area was above. I looked up and there he was.
Standing there staring at me like he'd been there watching the whole time. I FREAKED out! I yelled for the nice man who'd been helping me and screamed that he was right there, watching me! My hostel was no more than 400m up the road and I was terrified that he'd follow me all the way and then who knows what would happen next?! I was terrified!
That shop keeper, a genuine guardian angel, waved down a taxi and (I assume) explained the situation. He then gave the driver €20 out of his own pocket and looked at me and said "it is ok now". I was almost in tears, I wanted to hug him. The taxi took me on a big twisting route to get back to the hostel and stayed to watch that I got inside safely. I didn't leave the hostel for 2 days after this, I was just so paranoid. I'm so incredibly grateful to the man who's name I never got. I think it's safe to say he saved my life.
The Kindness Of Strangers
Got roofied. Woke up on the floor of a strip club at 5 am with the bartender and DJ sitting beside me. They told me that I had passed out on the floor right in front of everyone and a customer kept insisting that he was "my friend" and was going to drive me home.
The bartender and the DJ didn't buy it, and stuck around after closing until I woke up. I didn't remember anything at all.
Some of these people are lucky to be alive today.
A Temporary Scare
Had a car crash with my mom when I was eight. Direct collision with a truck. Good Samaritans took us in their car and drove us to the hospital.
On the way there my eyes got filled with blood and I went temporarily blind. All I could see was a light blue colour with a sort of tingling that I can't explain otherwise.
Started panicking very much and the two strangers were trying to soothe me while my mom was crying next to me. Their voices slowly faded away. I thought that I had died. F**k, it still gets to me..
I was thrown out of bed at 4:30AM on 1/13/94 by an earthquake in Northridge California.
I was bounced up and down on the floor like a rag doll and had no ability to stand up to run or get in a doorway which would have been structurally sounder.
It was the most terrifying 2 minutes of my life and I have been thru some scary things, but this took fear to a whole new level.
Car Crash And A Sandwich
I was going to a community college and I had a break between classes, so I decided to drive to the mall and do some shopping. On my way to the mall, traffic got stopped by a train going through.
I decided to pull out the sandwich I had packed for lunch and eat it. I took a few bites and started choking... like legitimately choking.
I started to panic, not knowing what to do. I tried to cough it up, but there was no coughing. I immediately thought that I needed to run out into stopped traffic and frantically wave my hands for help, or else I was going to die slumped over my steering wheel.
I unbuckled my seat belt and threw open my car door. As I twisted to the left and went to stand up out of my car in the middle of stopped traffic, I dislodged the sandwich from my throat. Scary times.
Being followed home from work by a stranger who then tried to get into my house (thankfully I locked the door right behind me). Once he quietly jiggled the doorknob and realized it was locked he started banging and saying "I know you're in there b*tch".
I hid in the shower and called 911. He tried to get in a window as well, then I shouted the police were on their way. He laughed and said "don't worry, I'll be back". I was on a work assignment, living alone 3000 miles from anyone I knew.
He was gone by time the police came. I never found out who it was but spent my last month of that assignment in a hotel. I didn't dare stay in the apartment my job provided out of fear he really would come back, like he said.
And all of these people carry those mental scars.
I had just moved to a new city and was living alone with my dog in an apartment complex. It wasn't in the safest part of town. I got up to get ready for work one morning and opened my microwave. There was a note inside. It said "Your dog is barking."
I've never felt such a sense of dread. I called my parents who were about an hour's drive away. My dog wasn't reacting like someone was in the apartment so I just sat on my couch and silently waited for them to get there. We had the locks changed and my dad looked all over but it was just the note. Nothing else seemed out of place. My dog goes to work with me and so she's never just home barking alone. The whole thing was surreal and terrifying.
A few days later I'm talking on the phone with my sister, who had visited me a few weeks before I found the note, telling her about it and she casually says, "Oh, I found that note on your door when we got back from the store and put it in your microwave. I thought you would find it and laugh."
She had brought her dog when she came to visit and apparently she was barking when we left to get food. I just don't use my microwave very often so I didn't end up finding it until days after anyone else was in my apartment. Mystery solved!
The Sad Truth Of Schools
In the late '80s, we were sitting in our grade 2 classroom and they announced a strange code on the PA system. The teacher said we all had to be very quiet and go lay down between the bookshelves at the back of the classroom. I remember making jokes with my friend Jamil and the teacher gave us a look and held his finger to his lips - I knew then something was very wrong.
The classroom phone rang and the teacher crouched low and ran to get the phone. Shortly thereafter, someone quietly knocked on the door, was let in by our teacher and asked us all to line up.
We were told we were going to play a game to see who could run the quickest and quietest down the hallway and out the doors to the playground. Once we were out of the school we had to race to see who could run the fastest across the field to a neighbouring Catholic school.
Turns out, one of the dads had just had a domestic with his wife and broke into our school with a gun demanding to see his kids. After we were all evacuated, the police cornered the gunman in a teacher's washroom and he ended up taking his own life.
Mother Nature Takes No Prisoners
My pregnant wife and I were passengers on a "luxury" yacht that got caught in a serious storm off the west coast of Iceland. 2 huge waves smashed through the backdoors of the yacht filling the entire lounge area in 2 feet of ice cold water. Most of the 60 passengers and crew were being sick, crying etc.
Electric shorted out, plates and glasses were constantly smashing. Wife and I managed to get back to our room, but all we could do was cling on to the bed for dear life. How the boat didn't tip right over I don't know.
This went on from 8pm to 5am. I can still hear the demonic sound of the wind and the huge bangs underneath the boat when it left the water. We left the boat when it docked the next day and didn't return. Got all our money back from the travel agency and did our own thing for the next 7 days.
The scary moments in our lives are all too common of an experience.
Hopefully you, reader, have not experienced anything to this magnitude, but if you have, please share your stories with us.