Snacks and Smokes

This post is a recounting of a true story. The situation detailed below occurred the morning of Tuesday, January 31st, at approximately 3:40AM, in San Antonio, TX.

So, I’m at the gas station getting some snacks and smokes, and as I’m walking out the door after checking out, the previously empty parking lot now has another vehicle parked there.

There’s a black SUV parked a couple spaces away to my right, but I don’t pay it any attention, aside from the fact that it was backed into the spot.

As I’m turning toward my car, and open the door, I hear a female voice say “Heyyy…”, but not necessarily in a flirtatious way. I ignore it, assuming it’s going to be one of those “Hey, my car just ran out of gas and I’m stranded here, can I have a few dollars for gas money” type things.

In a split second, I compute in my mind that, “Hey, wait a second, that doesn’t even make sense, because wouldn’t they want to park at a pump instead, to at least look the part?”

I turn towards the SUV as I’m almost fully inside my car, and look over at the woman in the driver seat right as she lets off another “Hey, hi…”.

She’s wearing a beanie, and was either Hispanic or had a dark bronzer on. She seemed pretty, but with the crap lighting in the lot, it was hard to see details.

I look at her for a second, and then look at the rest of the vehicle, which could have been a newer Jeep Cherokee or an Escalade – I wasn’t interested in the model at that moment – and notice through the dark tinted window the silhouette of a shape or two moving around inside. Big shapes.

As I was looking at the windows, I asked purely out of instinct “Hey, you okay?”

I regretted asking immediately.

The girl put her hands up to her face as she faced forward, covering it, and when she brought her hands down, she had a furrowed brow and a smile, which I couldn’t tell was an attempt to be endearing, or a smile trying to hold back tears.

She continues, “This just isn’t fair…”

At that point, I see the figure(s) in the back of the car move again.

I immediately think to myself, “I’m about to get rolled.”

I sit back into the car, and pull my Benchmade folding knife out of my pocket, and place it under my leg.

I look back to the girl before she continues, seeing her hands go back up to her face again for a moment, as I reach for the door handle.

As she looks back at me with that confusing smile, and just as she is about to say something else, I say a quiet, “I’m sorry.” and close the door.

I turn the car on, reverse out of the spot slowly, and pass by her car as I leave.

I turn down the road to head home, which is all of a minute’s drive down the road, about a quarter mile.

About a hundred feet down the road, I see headlights pull out of the gas station, remembering that there were no other cars in the lot, nor any getting gas.

At the first light I come to, instead of going straight through the light to go home, I turn down a different road. I drive just under the speed limit, figuring if it’s anyone else headed home, they’ll just pass me by.

And then the lights in my rear view mirror get bigger.

And they continue getting bigger, quickly.

I realize quite quickly exactly how long and dark this road is at night.

I hold my speed, get my gun out, and place it on the seat next to me. It’s an M&P Shield loaded with .40 caliber rounds. I am a very good shot in most cases, and scored perfect on my CHL test.

At the end of the road, there is another light.

There is a gas station here, but a quick glance shows that nobody is there.

I stay in the left lane all the way to the light until I’m about 50 feet away, and then quickly throw my blinker on and cut across the lanes to the far right.

I see the vehicle behind me slow to a crawl in the far left lane in my rear view.

I’m sitting here waiting to see what they do, trying to weigh my options.

My radio is off, and my window is slightly cracked open.

All I hear right now is the blowing of my heater, the idling of my engine…

…the running of the vehicle stopped a good 15 feet before the crosswalk of the light in front of us…

…my heartbeat pounding in my ears, and the repeating ticking of my blinker, as I move my head to look like I’m looking back and forth for traffic on this quiet road…

…keeping my eye on my door mirror to watch the doors of the SUV at my 8 o’clock.

I slowly grab the extra magazine from my center console, place it between my legs, and rest my hand on top of the pistol beside me, for some reason expecting to get rammed from my left side and not wanting the gun to slide off the seat.

The vehicle on my left is slowly inching forward, despite the fact that their light turned green, what seemed like minutes ago.

Just as their passenger window is about to line up with mine, I decide to pull out and drive off to the right.

As I slowly pick up speed, I’m watching the vehicle in my rear view, and see the passenger window of the black SUV rolling up, with a man large enough to fully block the female driver from view sitting in the passenger seat, facing my direction.

I took the long way home, driving slowly to make sure there weren’t any unexpected U-turns going on behind me.

I pulled into my parking spot at home, and grabbed the pack of cigarettes I had purchased just a few minutes ago, but felt more like hours.

The adrenaline that had been brewing up in my body released itself, as I sat in my car, packing the cigarettes, slapping them into my palm.

As I unwrapped the cigarette pack, and withdrew one of the cancer sticks from it’s light blue package, I looked over at the gun on the seat next to me.

I reached over, picked it up, and tucked it back into it’s holster.

As I took a deep drag from the cigarette, I pulled my phone out, and began typing this entire night’s excitement out, struggling more often than usual to type the letters out on my phone. Shaky fingers are a pain, but I knew the adrenaline would soon leave my system, leaving me tired – I didn’t want to chance forgetting anything or leaving out any details, as I’m sure I would if I were to fall asleep soon.

I am not the type of person to incite violence, nor do I boast about being a gun owner. I do not believe the world is a better place with guns in all hands, but then again, I also believe that evil is inherent in all people, and we must work and strive to be good, and to put more good out in the world than we expect to receive ourselves. And I am well aware that some people tend to take advantage of those who fall into the latter realm.

And so, at four in the morning on a long dark road, being followed very closely by a big vehicle filled with an unknown amount of people whose intentions are unknown, well, that is just not the right time to worry about being nice.

a new beginning and a big idea

I’m not sure if that title is redundant or not… aren’t all beginnings “new”?

Hmm. Let’s put a pin in that and get back to it later.

In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to read this thing.

I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be using this for, but hopefully it’ll be worth your time if you ever keep up on it.

If you know me, or if you know me via Facebook, you’ll know that I like to both talk a lot, and write a lot.

I don’t even think anyone reads blogs anymore (I guess they remind me of the early 2000’s, if anything), but I’ve become more and more irritated at how difficult it is to find anything I’ve written on my Facebook profile over time. It just feels like such a fleeting and temporary outlet, where people can read it and send a “like”, and then it’s left to be buried by new content and cat videos and the like…

So, here we are – or, here I am, sitting in a Starbucks working on my laptop like some silly yuppie, writing a blog.

This isn’t why I came here though.

I actually had a purpose when I left the house today – I was going to come to Starbucks, get a coffee, put my headphones on, and get to work on something I’m really excited about.

Historically, I tend to be surprisingly productive when I lock myself up in a Starbucks blaring music through my headphones. I’ve achieved certifications, gotten jobs, made friends and all sorts of stuff…

This time, however… I don’t know. I think I’ve hit a road block.

I’ll explain.

So, recently, I had an idea for what I think would be a cool mobile app. But the more I research it and try to get all the information that I would need to make it come to light… it’s pretty daunting, actually.

I’ve drawn out a lot of what I think this app should look and feel like, and even went so far as to Photoshop up some mock interfaces for it.

I’ve begun reading books and listening to podcasts about startup businesses, app design, and all sorts of stuff. And at this point, it seems like this might never get off the ground.

But that’s just the pessimistic side of me coming out and pretending to be a realist (as if the world needs any more of that), I think.

So, what do I need to do right now?

Well, it seems like I’ll need to go about finishing what this thing is supposed to look like, and then maybe talk to a design firm and get a rough estimate on what it would cost to have them develop something that will be as intricate and easy to use as what I have in mind.

In the meantime, I guess I can also focus on doing a bit more market research, and see what real world interest in this thing might actually be, because I fear I’ve fallen into that whole stereotypical profile where I’m sure that this thing is revolutionary, and it’ll be the next big thing, and how could anyone not want in on it?

That’s dangerous.

It blinds you from the pitfalls and issues galore that lurk just beneath the shimmery surface of the ideal.

So I’m trying real hard to poke holes in my own idea, and it’s surprising how difficult it is to do so – except for about a handful of areas where I end up thinking “I’m sure I can just figure that little bit out later, it’s only 100% necessary to the idea working.”


See what I mean?

And after binge-watching Silicon Valley, all of the things I’d already said to myself and convinced myself of were hilariously parodied on the show, and I had to facepalm myself more than a couple of times, shamed at my level of basic bitchness.

Anyway, so that’s where I’m at right now. This idea came up about a week ago one evening, and after I was laying in bed ready to get some sleep… I couldn’t.

I got out of bed, went to Wal-Mart, and bought a sketching book, some colored pencils, a ruler and some pens. I went back home, and spent about four hours drawing out what I had in mind.

I think this should have made me feel better, but all it made me feel was more anxious to get this thing created.

I was I am so convinced this is such a good idea, I wonder why it hasn’t been done before, why someone isn’t doing it yet, but maybe they have and they already realized that it’s a terrible idea, or maybe it’s illegal, or just completely not feasible in absolutely any way, and may the heavens have mercy on whoever tries to make it happen…

This is what is constantly going through my head on the daily now.

I’ve run the idea by a small handful of people, and their response has been mostly positive, but of course they more than likely haven’t done the amount of research that I have into this field in the past week… but maybe that’s okay.

Maybe that’s exactly what I need.

I guess I’m just really hoping that this thing doesn’t end up being a dead end.

I hope that maybe it’ll be worthwhile.

Because if it works, I believe it would really, really help a lot of people.

But it’s scary, you know? Like, really scary. On a multitude of levels – emotionally, financially, mentally, technically…

But if there’s one mantra I’ve tried to apply more and more often in my life over the past few years, it’s this:

“It is okay to be scared. Just don’t let that stop you.”

Though, I do feel that this might just be the biggest thing I’ve done, if it gets done.

I hope I don’t let myself down.

And I hope people dig it, when it’s done.