Last spring, I wrote about being drugged by a restaurant manager while on a business trip to Dallas. Coupled with the sudden and unexpected ending of my marriage, my recovery from that incident has been slow and methodical. I have taken the time I needed to “get well,” if you will. Multiple doctor’s visits, lab tests, dietary and exercise changes, long road trips (road therapy), as well as addressing a new-found mental stress has been imperative to my recovery.
I wish I could say that this was the first time I had been drugged, it was not – but it has become the one that mattered, the one that scared me, the one where I was almost raped. Perhaps it is because I am more aware of the danger, or because of my age, or simply because my three daughters are the ages where this could easily happen to one of them. Or maybe it is because I want my son to be supportive of women’s issues and really understand why women are afraid, concerned, and becoming more vocal.
I Will NOT Forget Being Drugged
I won’t forget. Mostly because I cannot, but also because there is now a calling before me – one I did not want. I really didn’t want it, but I cannot remove the impact, anymore than I can remove the incident. It has taken me a week to even write about the latest. Writing about my life is much like giving birth, for it is painful, it is embarrassing, it is necessary. The birthing is a required step.
So here it is.
Last week, I attended a book release party for a local new author: his first book filled with his experiences and the photographs he had taken. A novice author, an amateur photographer putting his experiences of traveling 15,000 miles on 2,500 paddle outs on a Stand-Up Paddleboard. Right up my alley, I have a couple Stand-up Boards and I love the ocean as a swimmer, boogie boarder, diver, snorkeler, observer, and wannabe surfer. I wanted to be a part of this event. I purchased a book and had my book signed by the Author/ Paddle Boarder, Rich German and asked if he’d be a guest on my podcast after the new year. Earlier in the evening, I had watched my drink made, as has become my practice, and proceeded to make some new friends, refreshed current relationships, and ended my evening with an excitement about my expanded local network.
I proceeded to my car, where I sat for a moment and texted a friend. While I sat there, I watched, what appeared to be, two very drunk women try to walk up the inclined street where I was parked; they had just left the same event where I had been. One of them kept falling down. My selfish brain told me to ignore them and drive away – as I had plans for the evening. But my heart (and ultimately my head) would not let me. I got out of my car and walked over to where they were resting on someone else’s vehicle, one of them barely able to hold her head up. I asked if they were alright and if I could give them a ride home. I could not let them get in their own car or an Uber in their condition. I could not drive away because when I had been drugged, a good friend and extended network had taken care of me. I needed to help them – I needed to make sure they were safe.
They were rightfully leery
Who is this stranger wanting to help us? Why do you want to help us? Are you an Uber driver? Is this your job? and…, Are you an angel?
I told them my name several times, as they asked several times, I assured them I only wanted to make sure they made it home, safe and sound. One lived in the city immediately north of Laguna Beach (where we were) and the other lived in the city immediately south – no where near each other, and not close by, at all. Fearing they would pass out, I asked for their addresses first thing. After a very eventful drive, one that included one of them throwing up all over my front seat and the other accusing me of kidnapping several times, I was able to get them both to their front doors. The discovery of a missing wallet just before I dropped the second lady off prompted me to return to the restaurant where the event had been held and search everywhere for the lost wallet – leaving my name and phone number at the front desk; I even searched the street where I had found them, but to no avail.
I worried they would think I had stolen the wallet.
I didn’t care that there was throw up all over my car. I didn’t care that I’d had to talk the woman in the back seat down from her metaphorical ledge. I didn’t care that this had taken 1.5 hours out of my night. I only cared that they had made it home.
I couldn’t stop thinking about them and the next morning, I called the one whose phone number I had. She’d had a rough night, as had her friend and they had come to the conclusion that they had been drugged. They had been drugged. They think they had picked up a drink that had not belonged to them. I told her about my drugging and cautioned her to never turn her back on a drink or consume anything with which that was unfamiliar or a drink she had not seen poured.
Like me – like my incident, they were ladies out for an evening together – out to have fun, at a place they knew.
I cried that night as I drove away from the restaurant following my search. I cried again when I hung up the phone the next morning. I do not want this to be my calling. But I don’t think I would have been able to sleep that night or lived with myself – period – had I driven away.
Taking Care of Each Other
We must. We need each other. Yes, there is evil out there – but there is more good than evil.
Be the good.