Lunch and a Movie
I am having lunch with a friend, and I tell her about the creepy guy who followed me off the Metro one late night. I detail the whole encounter, which involved, at different points, his jutting his chin at me and saying “‘Sup, girl” and my running up the street in flip flops.
Over the years, she has given me much valuable advice on arming oneself and defense tactics, most of which I do not follow because I am too lazy to change even simple things about my routine – like carrying my phone in my hand instead of my purse, so that if someone snatches my purse I still have a means of communicating: wise counsel – common sense, really – that I rarely remember to do.
But the Metro encounter has left me angry enough to purchase pepper spray, and I’m hoping she will be proud of me. I know she has knives and guns, but does she have pepper spray? It’s in a pretty pink canister (the cheapest one I could find), and I haven’t bothered to test it out yet, but I am feeling empowered already.
She does seem proud of me. Then she begins talking about another knife she might get and rummages around in her purse.
“I’ve got Mace in here, too.”
This dear friend is a teacher. Her sharp mind sees through bullshit, while her warm heart and good sense of humor connect her to people despite it, and sometimes because of it. She was much loved by all of her students and their parents at our old school.
The one and only time I ever fired a gun was with her. She has laughed that she and her husband are like the survivalist couple from Tremors with an arsenal at their disposal. At school, other teachers joked that, if ever there was an apocalypse, we would all show up at her house for protection. She would laugh good-naturedly, then later tell me, “You can come, but I’m not letting those other dumbasses in!”
In the theater, while we are waiting for the previews to start, she demonstrates for me the best way to stab someone.
“You hold the knife like this, not like this. That way, if it comes back to you, you don’t hurt yourself.” She is gesturing with an imaginary knife, though I am fairly certain she has access to a real one somewhere close by.
“My husband teaches me all of these things,” she adds cheerfully. And I add to the mental list in my head – one that I whittled down over the years but recently have begun building up again – of traits I’d want in a potential mate: can teach me how to protect myself by stabbing an attacker in the best way.
I’ve yet to test my pepper spray to ensure that it even works. The time I shot the gun I was so paranoid I was going to shoot off my toes – or, worse, someone else’s – that I think I only did one round, hitting no target, before quitting. But I do carry my pink canister with me at night, and I try to remember to have my phone in-hand when walking.
And I have a place to go in case of graboid insurrection.