November 14, 2012

Hitchhiker reminds of dangers lurking

Timothy Lake log bridge
Timothy Lake log bridge (Photo credit: freddy)
As the father of a teenage daughter and because of the number of  girls perpetually reported missing and eventually found lifeless, I feel the need to tell girls and young women to stop getting into situations that make them an easy target. It is sad things have come to this, but it is a fact of life.

Unfortunately, society has taken a long and drawn out turn for the worse. As for the reasons behind this decay, that is a subject for another time. For today, a growing number of predators now walk within the urban jungle. Unfortunately, they most often find their prey before they can be hunted and thinned from the herd.

What prompts me to say this is the memory of finding a girl years ago in the mountains, up around Timothy Lake - all by herself. After hiking around the lake one fall day, after the summer crowds had left, I saw a hitchhiker along the main road near the lake. Soon, I noticed it was a girl. I was on my way home and had barely driven a mile down the lonely road when she appeared.

The first question I asked myself before stopping was, "What the hell is she doing up here all alone?" I had seen no one else all day.

I pulled over and she climbed in. She told me where she needed to go, which was out of my way, but I figured I better take her straight there. As we continued to drive out of the area, I started to ask her the same questions that I hoped her father would ask her. "Why are you up here by yourself," I asked. She proceeded to tell me her story.

She had come to the area the night before with a girlfriend and three boys. She was told by the boys that they would give her a ride back to town the next morning, so she could go to work. The five of them apparently had made a camp somewhere in the hills above the lake along a logging road. She told me the boys had brought beer with them, and soon, after a fire was built, the drinking proceeded. One brew led to another, and, after awhile, the boys became belligerent. Well, one thing led to another, which led to her asking the boys to take her home. They refused. They then told her they were not going to take her home the next morning, either, because she wasn't playing by their rules.So, she woke up early, climbed out of the tent and made the long walk down the logging road to the point where I came into the picture.

The way she had told the story, I knew she had already learned not to sink herself into a predicament like that again. However, I proceeded to tell her that not only had she put herself in a precarious situation the prior night, she was now sitting in a pickup with a stranger who could easily take her somewhere she didn't want to go. I assured her that wasn't the case, but asked her what she thought would happen if I were some deranged psychopath. Her silence told me she had the right answer.

This whole episode occurred at a time when few people had cell phones, so I suggested to her that she call someone when we found a pay phone. I figured that might ease any anxiety she felt while riding back to town with me. She said it would be best if she called her father.

After locating a phone, she called her dad, who seemed unhappy but not overly concerned that she had received a ride from a stranger. Late as we were, she asked to be dropped off at her place of work and we parted.

GIRLS. Walk with a buddy, remain lucid and be aware of your surroundings at all times. When you are grabbed by someone you don't know, fight like your life depends on it, because it probably does! Furthermore, don't trust anyone you don't already know well, and even when you're with people you already know well, use your head!

And if you do ever make the mistake of going to the woods with boys who brought beer, be sure to tell them that your dad is the meanest S.O.B. ever to walk the face of the earth. Tell them that he will hunt them down and do immense bodily harm to them if they choose to treat you in any way other than how a princess should be treated!
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