Earlier today, I was walking Dozer. Pretty average, ordinary activity around here. Of course, that wouldn't make for a very good story, but today we happened to run into a situation that I needed to share. First off, I was wearing yoga pants, a hoodie that said "Aspen" all over it, and had an ipod strapped to my arm while my dirty blonde hair was up in a bouncy pony tail. I looked like a typical white girl from the suburbs, but true to my mismatched nature, I mix it up a bit by walking Dozer, a large breed "dangerous" dog on a chain. (We'll talk more about this later, no animal cruelty here!)
Well, the town I live in isn't known for being the nicest place on earth, and the street on which my home sits is merely one block from the "ghetto". Walking just a few minutes brings me to neighborhoods filled with condemned homes, graffiti, and barb wire fences around local businesses. Now to fully appreciate this story, you'll have to understand that my perception of "safe" has always been a little different than others. Anthony has told to walk toward campus instead of the direction I take, toward the north side, or the ghetto, but I'm not a very good listener.
So off we went. It had been around twenty minutes, I turned down a side street I don't usually take, and started headed back toward my house. A block ahead, there were five or six gentlemen (of various races, as I understand this post may sound prejudice, which is not the intent) standing in the sidewalk. This didn't bother me, until I got closer. The men stood shoulder to shoulder blocking the sidewalk. Something was said about this not being my place, and advice to turn around was given. Furthermore, one of the individuals held his hand up, pointing toward me with his index finger and thumb extended, and all other fingers folded into his hand. Now what does that look like? I simply smiled, and turned down the street just before their house to avoid cofrontation, and kept walking. Until one of them yelled "that's right".
Ok now. I'm a pretty tolerant person, but I deserve to walk around my neighborhood just as much as the next girl. I wouldn't recommend what happened next to anyone, but because I'm stubborn, slightly insane, and overly passionate about my beliefs, but I turned down the next street, turned down another, and finally turned down one more to pass by this house again.
As I walked past, I smiled, waved, and said good morning gentlemen, as they all stopped and starred. One's jaw even dropped! I felt safe doing this because of my dog. In my experience, most people aren't foolish enough to take on a dog that looks like him, despite the fact he is a very nice dog in reality. Thankfully, the situation had a safe, relatively good outcome, but it could have been much different. So my question to you is, Have you ever had a similar experience? Where do you walk/run/get outside? Do you feel safe here? Have you ever changed your route, time, or anything to ensure greater safety? Is there anything you carry with you- pepper spray, a large dog?