I am now an advocate for awareness.

DISCLAIMER: This post is unrelated to religion, faith, sports, music, food, dogs, or anything that brings joy to my life. I’m writing this to share with you, especially the women readers, the need to simply be careful and be aware when out in public.

This past Saturday night started off extremely well, as I had dinner and drinks with a great friend at a place both of us had never been to. We were at this restaurant for about three hours where we had great food and four small margaritas. We were so pleased to catch up with one another, and the environment at the restaurant kept us in good spirits, laughing and cutting up like we always do. When we were ready to leave, we decided to check out a lively place that had shuffleboard, darts, two indoor bocce courts, and a good beer selection. (If you know me, you know this sounds like the exact kind of bar I want to experience.) So, we used our Scoutmob, which gave us more delight in the significant decrease of the total bill, got in our cars, and drove a few blocks to the workplace of her dad where we could keep one car parked safely and securely.

I parked my car, hopped in hers, and we were off to the bar that’s really an arcade for adults. We parked in a parking garage next to it and excitedly walked inside to find the main restaurant with tables on the first floor and the games on the lower level. My friend and I headed downstairs, she bought us each a beer, and we immediately snagged the shuffleboard table, claiming it as ours! (To play, you must defeat us! And be afraid, for we are scary and intimidating when we compete.) Two men were our opponents and they were a little too friendly, quick to give awkward side hugs and smiling way too much. Regardless of their annoyingly perky personalities, we beat them (DUH) and realized another team called “next.”  At this point, we were feeling tired and drowsy, so we played but with a major lack of effort and drive.  We lost.  Purposefully.  We were getting ready to leave, when the two men from the first game (standing with two other men) gave us a hard time for leaving. “Y’all are going now? Don’t you want to play more? Can we buy you more beer?” We left, arm in arm, and walked quickly back to the car.

Now, this is the point where I blacked out. Yes. I blacked out. I cannot remember the drive back to my car. I cannot remember giving my friend her long overdue Christmas present. Even more terrifying, I cannot remember my 25 minute drive home and the stop I made at a gas station to fill up my tank. I cannot remember any of those occurrences. I can’t remember changing into my pajamas when I got home or even walking up my stairs. The last thing I do remember is trying to type on my phone and not having the motor function to do so.  I was trying so hard to communicate with Chris.  I also remember sitting on my knees and shins sobbing, so confused as to why I could barely move and could barely talk. I can’t remember exactly what I said to Chris but it obviously went on long enough for him to call my home phone four times and then make sure I called my Mom after no response from his calls. (I found out later that the things I was saying and feeling were things Chris was reading simultaneously from a website that listed symptoms of a date rape drug.)  My parents came upstairs, probably equally as frightened as me, and convinced me I needed to go to the hospital.

After a couple of hours from when I got home originally, the symptoms wore off and I just felt extremely tired.  The next morning and the entire day, it felt like the worst hangover anyone could possibly imagine.  Not fun.  My day consisted of watching TV in my pajamas while consuming gallons of water (which often just sat uncomfortably in my stomach) and eating here and there.  I got a good night’s sleep and the next day I was essentially back to my normal self.

Now, let me be clear.  I am NOT writing this to receive sympathy or hugs; rather, I’m writing to explain the sometimes unfortunate reality that is our society.  This sort of thing does not solely exist in TV shows and movies.  Sadly, it happens.  So, please do not call, text, or email me and say you’re sorry this happened.  I’d rather you use my story as a way to enhance your awareness.  Use it as an educational piece.  This might bring about slight paranoia, and that is also not my intention in telling you this.  However, paranoia is different than being smart, observant, and aware.  I was not smart by going to an unfamiliar bar with just one other girl.  I was NOT smart by driving, even after dinner.  I realize how blessed and lucky I am to get home safely.  Thank God for that.  And I’m blessed Chris was near his iPad and that my parents didn’t silence their cell phones that night.  But I can reassure you that instead of being paranoid, I am going to be smarter and more vigilant.  Thanks for reading.

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