Living While Female

A story of female reality from my life.

Back in my twenties, when I didn’t own a car, I often rode my bicycle to and from my 3 to 11 pm swing shift at the hospital. There’s a walking/biking trail (the Burke-Gilman, for you locals) that runs through town and I frequently used it.

(I’m sure my mother is already getting anxious, reading this, because riding alone on a trail at 11 pm is Not Safe. And that’s the whole point.)

So I was riding home one night on the dark, deserted trail, when ahead of me I saw a group of men, walking the same direction I was going. Although their backs were to me, I was sure of two alarming things:

  • There were four of them.
  • They were male.

Oh, and one more thing:

  • They were walking side-by-side and therefore blocking the whole path.

As they were not yet aware of my presence, I stopped to consider my options. I could turn around, find an exit off the path, and take the street route home. Or I could ride up behind the men, politely ask them to let me pass, and hope like hell that they would step aside.

If you have to ask why I found this situation alarming or what I was afraid of, you must surely live in a puffy soft bubble of cluelessness.

This is what I did: I rode towards them, very fast, and when I was quite close I shouted “ON YOUR LEFT!” Startled, they jumped to the side and I blasted by them, riding fast enough that they couldn’t catch up even if they were inclined to chase me.

And so I made it home safely. After that, though, I stayed off the trail late at night. Even though nothing actually happened, my heightened sense of vulnerability became intolerable. Taking my chances in traffic seemed like a better bet than facing the unlikely but not impossible predator on the trail.

And that’s the unfortunate reality of living while female. The pervasive fear of male violence often directs your actions. Because even though most men would never hurt a woman, some men would, and they look exactly like the harmless ones.

I don’t need to connect the dots to recent events or national conversations for you, do I? Well, if you’re a Twitter user, file this under #YesAllWomen.

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A TALE OF ROMANCE, GRITTY STREET DRAMA, AND MURDER

Having spent a week watching me mope about, my dear husband wanted to cheer me up.  Or maybe shut me up… how much moping can a guy take?  In any case, he treated me to an evening of dinner theater last night.  We didn’t get home until early this afternoon.

No, the show wasn’t that long.

Having secured the babysitting services of the divine Gungaboy, Technogeek surprised me with a night at a swanky hotel, followed by an in-room massage in the morning.

All together now—you know you want to say it—Awwww. 

So I was in a much improved mood this morning as we were strolling through downtown Seattle, intending only to exchange an ill-fitting gift at a department store and grab a mocha.  Unfortunately, our path took us right through a gauntlet of protesters holding signs decrying the “Israeli occupation of Gaza.”

Now you might be wondering, “What possible effect could a bunch of protesters in Seattle have on the endless, pointless conflict in the Middle East?”  I cannot answer that.

You might also be wondering, “Why don’t those protesters point their accusing fingers in the faces of Hamas, which rewarded Israel for pulling entirely, completely out of Gaza with unabated violence and continuous rocket fire at civilian targets?”  I can’t answer that, either.  Or maybe I can.

Across the street stood a lone counter-demonstrator.  He held an Israeli flag aloft and shouted “I stand with Israel!”

A protester shouted back, “Go home!”

Another protester shouted, “Death to the Jews!”

At that point, Technogeek’s grip on my arm tightened and he steered me down the street at a swift pace.  “Don’t engage those people,” he told me, which is funny because that’s what I always tell him when he looks like he’s about to haul off and deck some idiot making an ass of himself on the street. 

Isn’t that what marriage is all about?  Keeping each other out of jail?

Safely in the car, we were discussing our theater experience and lamenting the lack of murder-mystery dinner events in our town.  TGeek said there might be a company that will stage one of those events at your house.

Then I had a great idea.  What if we had a party with a planned murder mystery component, but we didn’t tell our guests it was going to happen.  We would just let them think a real murder had occurred, and wouldn’t they be surprised and delighted later to find out it was all a game?

It was TGeek’s opinion that said guests would be Not Amused and would in fact Never Forgive Us.  And now, to find out the truth of the matter, we must have a poll.

If your party hosts staged a murder and let you think it was real until the “crime” was solved, how would you feel?
I might actually murder said hosts with my own sweaty, shaking hands.
I would pretend to laugh it off while secretly seething inside.
How droll!  How tres amusant! 
I’d be on to the scam as soon as the “detective” with the twirly mustache showed up.
  
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