I was reading a post on someone's blog recently about safety... specifically the safety of a woman when out walking on her own. Now the lady in question walks mostly in the countryside with a dog - but sometimes on her own - and she walks quite long distances in some fairly remote areas. The various comments made were discussing how safe or not we would feel when in similar situations and what precautions we take to keep ourselves safe.
This gave me a bit of a jolt because it is literally years since I thought about my safety in any serious way. Not since my dating days in fact. You see, I would consider my safety when I was younger because I suppose I considered myself likely to attract the attention of a predatory male. Now that I am in my fifties and have been married for donkeys years.... it never ocurred to me that anyone might want to attack me!
Even if I did carry something worth stealing, I still don't really ever feel vulnerable to mugging or anything like that. I suppose I am sensible and in the evening if I do go out then I will walk in well lit areas and I don't usually talk to strangers. Certainly around here, my son who is aged 21, says he is in more danger of getting attacked than I am. And he has had his fair share of 'incidents' admittedly they are getting less as he is getting older - perhaps he looks older, or perhaps he just gives off a different vibe. I have noticed that when he goes out the door he assumes a 'gait', a kind of air of 'streetwise and kinda cool'.
He did tell me of an instance once when he was walking down a fairly quiet alleyway in our village, it is dimly lit and it was quite late in the evening. An elderly lady was approaching and he noticed that she had an extremely pained look on her face and she was panting hard and fumbling in her bag. He was about to ask her if she was ok - he thought she might be ill or something, when she shouted at him that she had her mobile phone on her and she would call the police if he came any closer! My son was completely stunned! He is, contrary to the way he looks perhaps, a very sensitive, caring and considerate human being.
There was one occasion I remember when out quite late at night walking the dog (not the kind of dog that would make an attacker back off). I saw quite a crowd of young people congregating underneath a street lamp. They all wore hoodies and they were smoking cigarrettes and swearing (the most awful words you've ever heard) really loudly. It crossed my mind that perhaps I did not want to walk through them, but I didn't feel like I could cross the road without giving the impression that I was deliberately avoiding them, so I continued on towards them.
As I got close to them they did not move out of my way so I said in a reasonably loud voice 'excuse me' . They began to move aside and I was overcome with a really strong smell of washing powder or Lenor from several of the 'hoodies'. Inadvertently I gave a big smile, after all, who could be afraid of someone who washes their clothes in that much Lenor - or indeed someone had a mum who was looking after their clothes for them so very carefully. it suddenly made them seem so inoffensive.
The response to my smile of course was a chorus of 'oooh ahhh' 'what a really cool dog' 'what's his name?'