Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Living Alone, and Lack of Fear

I'm going to be honest.  I thought it would be very pretty scary to live alone.  I thought once the sun went down I'd be double and triple check every window and door compulsively, have a baseball bat for self defense, if I hadn't given in and bought a gun (I happen to be a pretty good shot)..

When I was 20, I moved in with my boyfriend and three of his good friends. It was a great household, full of awesome music and laughs, and we were all damn good professional cooks.

One roommate started having his cousin and friends over.  One day my boyfriend was about to walk with them to the bus stop, but decided making out with me was more important.  15 minutes later there was a drive by in front of our house.  One person died and two ended up in the hospital.

Apparently the roommates cousin was in a gang, and my roommate was having struggles between the path he was on (hanging out with white dudes and listening to punk rock) and wanting to connect with his Hispanic roots, which in this case, meant his cousin's gang. Instead he ended up in the hospital.  

Yay, my boyfriend stayed home and didn't get shot and we got married and had 13 great years and are still good friends because of hormones!  But was suggested the cousin's gang was going to do something back to the shooters, which meant since the other gang knew where we lived, and I was a pacifist alternative hippie batcaver who was "WTF??" about the sudden turn my life had taken, decided to pack up our stuff that day and went to go stay with my mom.

For 25 years after that, I've been a bit anxious to be alone at night.  Of the "sleep with a knife by the bed when my partner is out of town" variety.  In college I wrote papers on the recidivism rates of sex offenders.  In Chiropractic college, I went into school very early one morning to study and a naked man was in the otherwise empty building who was wandering around and stopped and posed, his genitals pointing at me (not the first time a strange dude has done that).  I am female and vulnerable, and I hate it.

I've moved to a place where there are lots of car break ins, vandalism, security systems. I know what registered sex offenders are in my neighborhood. I am on Nextdoor, where every day I get to see my neighbors report the crimes of the last 24 hours (and be aware that maybe 5% of them are on there so things are far worse than that).  I subscribe to the newspaper which fills me in on all the horrors of this city, both in print and digitally!

But... I haven't been scared.  I've been pondering that this week, it is unexpected.  I want this place to be a fortress -  It's not, but for some reason I don't feel terrified once 10pm rolls around. I don't feel terrified at 2 am after 3 horror films.  I haven't made it to Goodwill to pick up a baseball bat and it's been almost a month.  I'm only peripherally aware of where my pepper spray and metal baton are.

Now..what I DO hate is people knocking on my door.  Although it's like the phone, its for MY convenience.  I don't owe the person a response to as they infringe, uninvited on my solitude.  I feel obligation to answer in case it's an emergency or my neighbor, and ignoring it makes me feel a bit guilty.  But damn...Jehovah's witnesses especially, why do you think two guys knocking on stranger's doors during the day are going to make a lady alone at home want to open the door? 

Tonight was a good chance to feel scared.  A few strangers have knocked in the few weeks I've lived here when I'm home but it's been while it was light out. This place has a half round window at the top of the front door, which I thought was high enough above the peephole to provide me privacy so I let it be.  Tonight I found out at that tall dudes can look right through it, when somebody knocked at the door and naked me (it's in the 80s here dammit) went to go hide in the kitchen until they went away.  What I felt though, was mostly irritated at being interrupted.  Minding my own business, watching Project Runway All Stars, sorting my fabric...go away.

This is vaguely making related. I'm going to either have to make a curtain or fabric cut outs to Modge Podge to the panes (I might have enough of some adorable Liberty of London print now that I think of it). 

Maybe I'll make a clay plaque that says "If I'm not expecting you, turn your ass around and don't knock"  Maybe I'll use my woodburning tool to carve that in a nice slab of walnut and weld it to my chain link fence.  Whatever, I'll find some way to craftily MacGyver the shit out of it.

I'd wondering if I should examine the reasons too closely I haven't felt the need to be on guard - but I should probably just enjoy the peace of mind while I can.

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