Sunday, 11 April 2010

Adventures in Etobicoke

I had the weirdest experience in the middle of the night last night.

At around 1 a.m., I was driving Diana home from my place.  I drove along my street to do a left to go north on Brownsline.  I don't normally do this.  I normally go through the small side streets because it's less congested, and I wouldn't hit any traffic trying to do a left.  However, since it was the middle of the night, I presumed there would be no traffic, so I decided to head straight to Brownsline...

As we approached Brownsline, I could see a drunk, middle-aged, shirtless white man standing in the middle of the street on Brownsline just north of where I was.  He was yelling in the direction of the bar that was on the west side of Brownsline, and standing on the line that divides the north- and southbound lanes.

I should have detoured, but I continued with my left turn onto Brownsline, intending to head northbound to Diana's place.  As I did my turn, he stopped looking at the bar, and focused his attention on my car.  He walked directly into the lane I had turned into - the right lane in Brownsline's 2 northbound lanes.

I stopped.

He looked enraged as he walked toward my car.  I saw that he had nothing in his hands.  Diana instructed me to honk and reverse, but I instinctively first just locked doors.

I continued to pause.

In the brief moment between when he first stopped in my lane and looked at me, and when he stood directly in front of my car, all I could think was: what are my options.  I don't want to hurt him.  I don't want us to get hurt.  I don't want to pay for damage to my vehicle.  So, I didn't drive forward: I didn't want to inadvertently hurt him, and  I wanted to keep him ahead of the vehicle, and not at either side.  I didn't want to anger him further, so I didn't honk.  I locked the doors in case he tried to get in.  I made sure I was ready to hit the gas if it came to that.

I continued to pause.  I didn't reverse because I was afraid to take my eyes off him, and I can't reverse without first checking my mirrors.

Then he ran toward my car, and furiously roared while he pounded the hood of my car with his two fists.  I honked, panickedly reversed, and screamed at the top of my lungs.

He began to walk out of my way to the left lane ... into the path of a pick-up truck ... that breaked, but hit him.

He appeared to still be standing as I put my car into drive, and speedily fled before he could continue to do any damage to my car.  Diana instructed me to pull over so that she could call 911.  So I did.  We were far enough so that I could drive off if he began to head toward us, but close enough so that we could see what was going on.  We saw cars and people start to crowd around, and it looked like he or someone, was dragged to the side of the road.


My dad always warned me to stay away from crazy people and situations.  When he was teaching me to drive, he'd point them out, saying that it was best to keep an eye out for them, and just to stay completely out of their way.  I learned that before I was born, he was sent to the hospital from a situation similar to mine: a couple of drunk men dragged him out of his car instigating a fight.  They wanted to see his "kung fu" - a racist comment if ever there were one.  There was traffic, so he couldn't easily flee the situation.

Last night, I saw the drunk, middle-aged, shirtless white man standing in the middle of the street, and I didn't heed his advice.  Years of warning, but it didn't sink in until now.

Daniel always laughed at me when I hit the lock button every time anyone came near my car.  It may have been best if I detoured, but I'm happy knowing that I wasn't going to have been easily dragged out of my car.
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