As I sat on my couch and listened to the ongoing reports about Natalee Holloway, I shook my head and wondered, "Tsk, what was she thinking, getting drunk and going to a deserted place with a stranger?"
And then I remembered.
I was 19 years old and met him on an airplane. He was significantly older, and he complimented me on my skin...said it was so clear and had a gorgeous glow. He called me later that week to ask me out. I was flattered and said, "Yes." We drove to a restaurant 40 miles away...one that "would serve me alcohol." It was located in a rural town called Lodi. There was nothing else there, no other reason to travel that far. I wanted to be cool so I said, "Okay."
When we were seated and ordered drinks, I was Carded. I told the waiter that I didn't have my license with me, and he replied that I wouldn't be served. Dinner conversation lagged after that, my date was bitterly disappointed. A little knot of fear started to bud in my belly, and I requested that we call it an evening...early. He and I never spoke again after that.
I know now that I made a foolish decision going to a restaurant in a remote area with someone who I'd just met. I was lucky - that waiter saved me from my own poor judgment, and I fondly remember him as my Unknown Hero.
Now I sit on the couch and watch the updates on the search for Natalee, and I understand. It just takes a succession of bad choices that seem innocent enough at the time.