The Fear

2 Apr

Because I travel frequently for my job, I spend a lot of time alone – in taxis, hotel rooms, conference rooms late at night. I’m a modern woman, meaning I know to stay aware of my surroundings, not talk on my cell phone while walking alone at night, end conversations with anyone who seems sketchy.

But I depend on strangers. My three most fearsome situations, in no particular order:

I depend on the taxi driver to take me to the airport and not to an undisclosed secret bunker. I shared this fear with my mom, who laughed. She assured me nothing would happen and instructed me to memorize the taxi number in case something did. And I know the chances are one in a million, but the fear of something unknown happening keeps me from closing my eyes when in the backseat, even when drowsy.

I depend on the hotel employee who brings me my room service dinner late at night. I trust him (almost always a him) to remove the covers from my dishes and present me with a bill, not shove me in a closet or do god knows what else. But I still brace myself when opening my room door after a brisk knock.

I depend on the custodial service cleaning empty office buildings late at night to work around me. They usually ignore me or nod in my direction. I expect them not to lock me in and prevent me from leaving the building. I always offer a polite smile and ‘thank you’ as if it will keep me safe.

I suppose these safety concerns can be blamed on television crime dramas, or the 24-hour news cycle publicizing every middle class white girl gone missing. I once took a self defense workshop in college, but I don’t think it worked because my newly-learned moves had no effect on the 150 pound girl who was my partner.

And if I carried a weapon, I would probably either injure myself or accidentally injure an innocent bystander who was just asking me for the time or something.

Anyone know of non-violent ways to feel safer that don’t require a lot of work? I’m looking for the self-defense equivalent of the Shake Weight.

2 Responses to “The Fear”

  1. psychowatcher April 3, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    Not to freak you out but I had a cab driver one time that went past my street. When I said something he said “I’ll let you out where I want.”
    Scared the crap out of me.
    The door had not locked properly so when he stopped at an intersection I got the hell out.
    I was a wreck for weeks scared to death because I had, of course, given him my address…
    I never saw him again.

    • that brown girl April 3, 2011 at 12:10 am #

      Oh my gosh! This is exactly my fear! Thank god you got out safely – I hope I have the smarts to do the same if in the same situation.

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