i was just over at my friend (?? now i question everything!) erin’s blog and she wrote up the post that i was going to write. so i’ll link it here and then you can know that i thought these things before i read her post, but she beat me to it AND had an interesting (and scary) personal story to relate to it, as well.
the post is about all these scary attacks occurring in lakeview/lincoln park. and she notes, as do i that it’s pretty shitty that people are getting attacked and killed (they do it with murders, too) on the south and west sides and there’s just not the cover story in the red eye about it. that sucks. it makes it seem like certain people’s lives (rich, white) are more important than other’s (poor, non-white). so, i’m acknowledging that front and center.
then she talks about how even being attacked herself has not diminished her desire to live in the city. i have not been personally physically assaulted, but i have had two bikes stolen and been burgled once. so, crime has affected me as well. but i still wouldn’t live anywhere else. i know that you have to keep vigilant in certain cirumstances and not dick around.
for instance, except for the time i lived at crack central (argyle/winthrop), i have always lived in places i consider safe (wrigleyville, edgewater ? — what’s berwyn/kenmore?, edgewater, bridgeport, lincoln square. however, when i’m walking by myself at night, i tend to have ex-oprah shows and various things from magazines ranging from sassy (old school!) to glamour ringing in my head. things such as:
- walking down the middle of the street rather than on the sidewalk.
- knowing that i should never be taken to a second location. should something happen, i should fight right then and there. even if he has a gun. chances of me being mortally wounded then vs. being killed somewhere else are pretty low to high.
- carrying a whistle (i need to get a new one).
- knowing that i should yell, scream, swear and make a fucking scene should something get crazy.
- if it gets real bad, vomit or piss on the guy.
- don’t keep your purse all floppy doppy.
- don’t listen to headphones or talk on the cell phone and not know what the fuck is going on.
- don’t leave yourself all vulnerable by getting too intoxicated.
on that note, ES talks about the other thing that i was thinking/brought up when a bunch of my friends and i were talking about these attacks. that NO ONE ever asks for it. period. not if you were naked passed out on the sidewalk. HOWEVER, when i see a lot of these attacks taking place between 2-5 a.m., i have to wonder if any of them were intoxicated. again, it doesn’t excuse the acts, but i know that i’m a very lucky woman to have never been in a lot of trouble when getting home drunk. that’s the total lack of having my senses about me. seriously.
the other thing she talks about in her post right off the top is something that i think CANNOT be overestimated (is that right? cannot be underestimated? you need to hold it in the highest regard, is what i’m trying to say.) — instinct. go with your gut. if something tells you to cross the street, get on the bus, take another way, run home, call a friend, get a cab. DO IT. i think sometimes maybe i’ve avoided shit because i just listen to my gut. period. i don’t judge it. well, sometimes i do … did i cross the street because that guy was black? however, i will say that no black man is as scary to me than a group of white, privileged, drunk, backwards baseball cap wearing dudes. so, i don’t judge it. if my gut says, ‘get out,’ i do, no matter what it might *seem like* or *look like.*
i don’t really believe in pepper spray (sales have been on the rise), because i don’t want to live in fear and put that out there and because i fear it would be used against me. i am, however, glad that i now have the kind of friends who always watch me walk all the way in the door and who notice when i leave parties.
so take care, friends. but don’t leave the city. fear isn’t worth it. the city is a great place.