Thursday, December 24, 2009

Many run, but who's run to save oneself?

Many people are into running now, but I bet only a few had run to save themselves. I had this kind of experience, more than 2 years ago. Running is experiencing a revival in my social circle, so this old blog entry (over at Multiply actually) is seeing a repost, with a few edits.

I had a dinner with some of my P&G colleagues in the G/F restaurant of 6750 (the one before Lolo Dad's), and after nice food and talk, I finally left for home at around 1030PM. I commuted home.

At the time of this event, I lived in San Nicolas Street, a few meters from Chinatown Steel Towers, the 28-storey building in Chinatown (of course). It was already 1130 by the time I got there.

To help visualize the path, I have to walk along the Asuncion street side of the Steel Towers, and make a left turn into San Nicolas Street where my house was located. Asuncion is a brightly lit street, San Nicolas is a darker street with many vehicles parked alongside.

As I turned the Asuncion-San Nicolas intersection, I noticed two men sitting on a stump near the intersection. Being naturally observant, I took a quick glance at them - one guy seemed to be sleeping and the other was looking blankly into space. They didn't seem to be dangerous. Anyhow, I walked past them and around the intersection, into the darker street.

I was now walking along San Nicolas. Have you ever experienced that at times you can somehow feel if someone's looking at you, or even following you? I got this weird feeling a few seconds after turning the corner, and trusting my instincts, I turned around a few seconds after.

And, I saw the guy who was staring into space at the intersection. He was walking silently behind, following me. He must have been following me for about five seconds already.

There was absolutely no one (awake) within my immediate vicinity. There were a few sleeping people, but they were behind a truck and couldn't see me. Even if they were awake, I'm pretty sure these people wouldn't help me (the bystander effect). I've experienced it once before: I was robbed in broad daylight at knife point, and people saw it but just stood there, passively.

As I turned around seeing the person, the person's face suddenly became aggressive and started to chase me.

I carried a heavy bag, I was tired, and my mind was rather preoccupied with work. But seeing the person start to give chase (I only got to see his face and some features, I couldn't make out what he carried, he is probably carrying something), I had no choice but to run. For a split second, I thought of fighting - but I also remembered that this guy had at least one companion - who knows if he has more companions on the other end of the street.

Run on a silent, dark street at 1130 in the evening.

I ran, and I shouted while I ran to call attention nonetheless. I made a quick turn behind a truck, got near the sleeping people, and darted to the door. The guy must've panicked when I did that (again, I can't be sure, everything is so blurry). That noisemaking, along with the facts that I have a much longer stride than the guy, and there were people and street lights around 30m away, might have bought me time and I managed to get to safety and get into my house.

No one woke up when I shouted. My legs felt extremely tender then, and I felt that at anytime during the chase, I could've fell down. But it was just a short chase, probably lasting less than a minute.

The local government or the baranggay should be making sure its constituents are safe... Or, people can be more vigilant and form some kind of group. I am not sure.

What could have happened if I didn't trust my instinct and turned to see the guy? What could have happened if I fell down? We can never know for sure. Somewhere in the multiverse, my friends there know - if the multiverse exists.
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