Someone asked me for a story about using the Five Stages in a situation. Here’s my favorite yarn about someone trying to mug me.
Some years ago I was killing time in a topless bar waiting for my girlfriend to finish her night class. Back then, not too many places had ATMs like they do now, so the patrons tended to have lots of cash. (Less so going out than coming in, but still…) Three guys walked in the back door and stopped.
Immediately my radar went off. That’s not how you enter a bar — especially a topless joint. But more than that, they were trouble on the hoof (intent). Ignoring the nekkid wimmen, they visually swept the room, with their attention stopping and focusing on everyone who was alone. (Silent interview). That included me. Then they turned and walked out the door. Okay, it could be nothing, maybe they were looking for a friend or something. But still odds are something wasn’t kosher. That behavior wasn’t normal.
Visualize this: The layout of the property was you couldn’t get in from the front. You had to take a long driveway to get from the street around back to the parking lot. There was a large no parking zone immediately outside the backdoor and a low wall with an entryway in front of the actual parking lot. Driving in, you’d have to zigzag to get into the parking lot.
Well it was time for me to go so I got up and walked out the backdoor. Sunnoffa…
The three of them were loitering against the wall at the entrance to the parking lot. Two were on one side, the third was on the other. It was a perfect pincer in a choke point (positioning). Anyone coming out of bar or coming from the parking lot to the bar had to pass by them. When I walked out, one guy looked at me and registered I was one of the alone guys. He quickly looked away. He told his friends and their body language shifted in preparation of attacking.
Instead of walking into the trap, I turned and walked up the driveway.
See I’d walked there from the campus. Where we’d also parked. As I walked up the driveway I glanced over my shoulder. They were following me. This pissed me off. Now you have to understand I was a cocky bastard at the time. But I’d survived the streets of Venice (back when that meant something). So I turned the corner of the building waited a second and leaned back into view and waved at these guys.
Instead of recognizing they’d been made by a player, they looked away and tried to pretend the weren’t up to anything. Amateurs.
The bar was a few doors down from a major intersection. Catty corner was a bowling alley with a large parking lot out front. As I approached the intersection I slowed down for timing. As the lights changed I bolted across the boulevard. Now I and the three guys were on different corners. I leaned against the traffic light pole and gave them a look of “Seriously?” They did the Little Bo Peep routine… again.
The light changed and I crossed the street into the bowling alley parking lot. They crossed to the opposite corner and waited for the light so they could follow me. The parking lot didn’t have uniform lighting which helped. I made a big show of walking into the light so they could see where I was. Once I passed the puddle of light and moved into a more shadowy area I dropped down and bolted to the side.
When I popped up like a prairie dog several rows over (and near the exit of the parking lot) they were wandering around where I’d been with confused “where’d he go?” expressions.
Laughing, I headed off to campus. That was a good night, I didn’t get robbed, and I didn’t have to kill anybody to keep it from happening. Best of all I got to go home with my gal.