Monday, May 5, 2008

It's like riding a bike...

I really hate when I find myself having to make decisions and choices based solely on the fact that I'm female. I'd been trying to ride my bike more since I don't live within walking distance of too many places. A couple weeks ago, I was out for a bike ride...I actually wasn't alone, but we'd wound up on separate sides of the streets because I'm kind of pokey.

Anyway, he stopped to mess with his brakes or something, and it was getting dark, so I decided to stop and wait too. While I was waiting, a group of five really big guys came walking down the sidewalk. I didn't think too much of it. Until they stopped. And decided to "chat" - "how you doing?" "where are you going?" "that's a nice bike" "why are you waiting here?" Then I noticed they were all drinking. And blocking the path. One of them decided it was appropriate for him to rub my back.

That was when I got really pissed. And nervous. And pissed because I felt nervous. Then I rode away, figuring my guy on the other side of the street, oblivious to all of this, would catch up. And that's pretty much the end of the story.

I wish I had smacked the guy who touched me. I wish I had said some bad words to them. But I felt too scared.

I actually live in one of the safest big cities in the whole country. That proverbial bad apple though, is the one I was thinking about when I restrained myself.

Because of those jerks I now have avoided riding my bike on several occasions because I wasn't sure I'd make it home before dark.

I did a woman's studies minor in college, and this was one issue that I could never really resolve satisfactorily. There will always be a physical power imbalance between men and women. Getting paid less and tolerating borderline inappropriate comments from co-workers is one thing, but things like being afraid of some idiot morons and making transportation decisions based on these idiots ticks me off because there’s nothing I can do about it.

I guess I could buy mace, but that’s not my style.

I could pretend these issues don’t exist, but I really don’t think that’s a prudent idea.

Anyway, I know this is only vaguely on topic, but it’s been bothering me since it happened. I’d like to say I feel better having written about it, but I don’t.


Heather said...

That's awful! I'd have been terrified. I have never ridden my bike near dusk. Thankfully I'm always home by late afternoon. There must be some way to ward off unwanted advances.

A few years ago, there was a peeping tom in my apartment complex. He knocked on my door several times and dropped his pants. Then in the evenings (9-10PM) when I was walking my dog for the last time at night, I'd run into him again and again (pants dropped each time). Disgusting! I called the cops and everything and we finally got him, but it made me SO MAD that I felt threatened just walking my dog at night. So I walked around with the cell on my hip, the dog leash in one hand, and a 18" metal flashlight in the other. I wasn't going to let him scare me. It was MY neighborhood.

Hopefully this is an isolate event and it won't happen again. Why it feels good to scare people is beyond me. What are these people thinking? Geez!

Verde said...

I am so sorry! That is really creepy, and yea my heart would have been in my throat.

The passive riding away was indeed the best thing. What it meant is that you did control the situation and you did it without escalation.

Debbie said...

I can't wait until you get home and I can give you a hug! Those guys had better hope that your mama doesn't make contact with them - I totally agree with your post and could rant all day. I am glad that you are safe.

arduous said...

It is hard. I have to walk 2 miles home from PT every day. It's better now that the sun sets late, but I admit, I got a little stressed out in April when I would do most of my walk when it was dark. Nothing happened to me, but I was always feeling like something MIGHT happen. I am considering getting mace, but I haven't done it yet. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. That totally sucks.