31 March, 2012

In This Crazy World, Clearly Anything's Possible!

Just a small taste…some food for thought…

I walked into town this morning. Not unusual for a Saturday.
I was wearing baggy jeans and a hoodie sweatshirt. Not unusual for a Saturday.
I had my hands in the pockets of the hoodie because it was a bit cool this morning. Not an unusual thing to do.

There was a guy about 30 yards ahead of me most of the way into town. Not impossible, because from where I live there is only one street to take that will cross the canal into downtown. A part of me wanted to call out to him “I’m not following you! Just heading into town!” but I didn’t because that’s not me. …unlike my friend Aphrodite, who would probably do exactly that and then end up walking the rest of the way into town with a new friend. I wish I had that knack.

Anyone who’s lived in a major city knows that, even if there’s no conceivable reason for someone to be following you – or perhaps especially if there’s no reason – when a stranger is taking the same path you are, your radar perks up. We just stay alert because in the big city that’s what you do, for your own protection. I do not live in a big city, but could tell this guy’s radar was perked up. (This particular hoodie is several sizes too big for me, so not exactly figure flattering, and with my hands in my pockets and my short hair, it’s not inconceivable that from a distance I looked like some hoodlum up to no good.)

I knew I wasn’t doing anything suspicious, and assumed the guy ahead of me wasn’t, either.

A family going the opposite direction rode by on bikes on the far side of the road. I could see them look at the guy as they passed. I could see them look at me as they passed. Something about the – to my eyes – puzzled look on the father’s face made me wonder:

If it was night-time, and I suddenly put my hood up, would I have been shot?

(Those of you who can’t imagine why this thought would cross my mind…look up “Trayvon Martin”. Very big case in America these days.)


  1. Well it's hard for to imagine that anyone would be suspicious of you - but on the other hand, with the world as it is today, like you say, anything is possible.

    I'm always on the alert when I'm in the States. More so than most people because I'm not used to the environment - and my senses have been warped by movies and over-hyped news. In my fertile imagination - almost everyone in America is carrying a gun.

    Guns really scare me. I don't like them at all. If you're going to kill someone, I much prefer the stabbing method which our friends in the UK use. It's just as damaging of course; but somehow less scary.

    But on a more serious note - what happened to Trayvon is horrific. It's just so sad when you see pictures of his bright and happy face. And although it really doesn't compensate his life - I do hope that his killer is made accountable for his actions.

    1. Trayvon's case is horrifying to me, but seems so distant. When I had that thought this morning I realized that it could be anyone. I'm tall, and again, with nothing to indicate that I'm "just a girl" and therefore not a threat, someone seeing a hoodied, intimidating figure from a distance could well be startled.

      ...personally, I prefer the stabbing idea too, not that I would like it done to me. Some of the guys at work worry about me and my dark mind. :)

    2. I enjoy a little morbid humour now and then lol... In fact, there's something I should share with you. I bet you would enjoy... However, it's on my other computer and there's a storm coming right now so I have to unplug. I'll try and remember to post it for you tomorrow.

  2. In today's world you can never be too careful. This also makes many people overly paranoid.

    1. But after the Trayvon Martin case, how paranoid should we be?

  3. I hope this isn't too long to post in feedback. This is from Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country". I cut it down a bit so it's not the full version. I love Bill Bryson's books and this little passage just cracked me up.


    In 1967 the prime minister of Australia, Harold Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed astounding to me – that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on).

    At the visitors’ center I stopped in to have a look at the displays and got to chatting with the park ranger.

    “So it wasn’t a good idea for Harold Holt to go swimming out there?”

    “Well, I wouldn’t go swimming out there,” he replied. “You know, there’s about a hundred shipwrecks just a long here.” He indicated an absurdly modest stretch of shoreline in the vicinity of Cheviot and the Rip.

    “Mind you, Harold Holt’s drowning is pretty well forgotten anyway.”

    “So you don’t get a lot o f people coming here in a kind of pilgrimage?”

    “No, not at all. Most people barely remember it. A lot of people under thirty have never even heard of it.”

    He broke off to issue tickets to some other visitors, but as I was leaving he called to me with an afterthought. “They built a memorial to him in Melbourne,” he said. “Know what it was?”

    I indicated that I had no idea.

    He grinned very slightly. “A municipal swimming pool.”


    His grin broadened, but the nod was sincere.

    “This is a terrific country,” I said.

    “Yeah,” he agreed happily. “It is, you know.”

    1. Good ol' Harold Holt.

      The joke everybody thought of and the Government put it into action.

      I heard in the comedy circles in the late 80s, early 90s, in Australia that it was a slang term.

      Harold Holt: the joke that everybody has thought of.

      E.G. In my home town there is an Asian noodle place called Asian Box (True story ;)

    2. I feel like this maybe wasn't your style of humour. I'm sorry to find myself apologizing again (not the apologizing part - just the actions that require apologies). Please feel free to delete it if it's not to your tastes; I shouldn't have posted something that has the potential to offend.

    3. Don't apologize. It is funny. I've been negligent in responding today. Just missed it. No worries! Post what you like!

    4. Oh good! What a relief lol... I really thought I had screwed up! Thanks :)

  4. This was a thought-provoking post and I have a lot of thoughts on the unfairness and cruelty of Travon Martin's death. I signed the petition. And I just appreciated that people are using the internet as a platform to address this issue.

    [your everyday girl,
    writing about guys]

    1. It's sick, in this day and age or in any era! But one would think we had grown.

  5. Just jogging in my neighborhood with my hoodie on, the women all look at me like I'm a rapist, and I don't even follow them. I'm waiting for the day I'm maced in the face just because I run past one. This is for my health, lady, not because I want to rape some out of shape 50 year old woman.

    1. Most of the houses in my neighborhood are seasonal - weekly rentals or people's second "beach" house. On my street there are exactly 3 of us living there year-round.

      I had an idea to dress up like a witch on Halloween and just wander all the streets to freak out the few people who were down for the local festivities. What would they have thought? It never worked out...maybe some other year.

  6. I've thought this before. I have a Walmart next door and if I need a few things, I just walk over there. I hardly ever wear coats in the winter (and I'm in very northern Indiana) but what I do wear, is a lot of hoodies. Top that with I'm bald, so if it's chilly at all, my hood is up. Plus I'm 6'3" and 250 lbs. I see people watch me cautiously when I walk past them.

    1. Just smile to show you're friendly ... unless you have gold teeth ...

    2. I usually smile and do the head nod. Don't know if it helps or not, but I haven't been shot so it must make a difference.

  7. I had a conversation with a customer last week about guns. An eighty year old woman in our town was knocked down from behind while carrying her groceries through her back yard. He took her purse and ran.
    The customer said this is why she and her entire family have permits to carry a concealed weapon.
    I have been mugged before. I was walking to my car in my maid's uniform (I was actually a maid at a local hotel) and three guys mugged me at knife point. I gladly handed over my purse, but then one guy tried to put his hand up my skirt and I used my coffee mug to break his nose. I luckily got away.
    I told the customer that I don't believe that everyone carrying guns is the right idea. Since that day I was attacked, I have taken defense classes and I do carry mace. But, when you pull a gun, you have to be prepared to use it because once a gun joins the equation, it's your life or theirs. She then told me that when she was training her daughters, she had them carry an UNLOADED weapon. I was furious. That is like bringing a butter knife to a knife fight. Her daughters were not prepared to defend themselves.
    I just think that too many people think guns are the answer. Defending your home is one thing, but carrying a firearm around with you just seems like a good way to escalate the violence.
    I know first hand that there are bad people out there. Sadly that wasn't my first attack in my city and the first one did not turn out so well for me. But, do I believe that my rapist or would be rapist should be killed? No. A human life is a sacred thing. I am not prepared to take one and so I should not carry a gun.
    I wish more people held that philosophy.

    1. Half the guys I work with carry guns, and I hear the "guns don't kill people" argument any time someone brings up gun control. I understand it is the people behind the guns, yes. But if those people don't have to learn how to use it properly, or have temper issues...maybe they should require anyone owning a gun to be psychologically cleared of any anger-management concerns!


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.