Monday, June 26, 2006

Waiting with bated breath.

A while ago a close friend of mine’s coworker was mugged in a crummy part of Seattle. She and a girlfriend noticed a man following them. They did not call the cops, they did not enter a store or other establishment, they did not call a cab. They walked faster. Then the man who was clearly following them grabbed her handbag and she didn’t let go. He dragged her half a block along the sidewalk, scraping the hell out of her. Quite frankly this girl is lucky he didn’t shoot her, stab her, or punch her in the face.

I would like to say this:

If someone is following you, go inside a business, call the police and call a cab. If someone grabs your handbag, for the sake of sweet zombie Jesus, LET GO. You can buy a new bag. You can cancel your cards. Unlike Jesus, if you are shot in the face you will not wake up three days later.

Now, this story convinced my dear friend that she would get mugged walking (literally) across the street from the bus-stop to her apartment in the heart of a well-lit residential neighborhood. So she asks me where to get pepper spray (yes, actually I am the repository of all knowledge). I tell her G.I. Joes will have it, but she is much more likely to accidentally spray herself than an attacker. She wisely dropped the topic.

Later that night we decide to make a Target run, and she asks if we can stop in at G.I. Joes. I agreed rolling my eyes.

We get into G.I. Joes and I march her to the ammunition counter where we stood for a good three minutes before anyone realized that we actually wanted something from behind the counter. The college aged kid came over and incredulously said, “You girls looking to buy some ammo?” I responded, “Nope, apparently some girls are looking for trouble.” Monica turned beet red. I said, “This is your cockamamie plan- you ask.” She asked the young man for some pepper spay and he removed one of the keychain mounted cans. She then looked at me and queried whether she might need the medium sized can. The counter guy and I looked at each other. “For what- elephant stampede?” I asked.

She then said, “Actually, I need two more.” “Why,” I reasonably asked. Well, apparently she had told two of her little friends that they too were obviously at risk of random violence. So now we are walking towards the register with three cans of pepper spray and a bag of gummy worms. The guy at the register gives us the eyebrow, and I say “Don’t look at me, the gummy worms are mine but the THREE CANS OF PEPPER SPRAY are hers.”

Now this is going to make me sound like a huge jerk, but while all three of these girls are college educated professionals- they cannot be very uhm… sensible if they are buying pepper spray. I’m waiting for the day when…

1. one of them is attacked and they are busy digging around in their handbags, opening the leather case, turning the cap off safety and then spraying themselves in the face

2. they now have a false sense of security and instead of running to safety and dropping their handbag, they turn to face their attacker and are subsequently injured in addition to being robbed

3. one is arrested at the airport for attempting to transport a weapon on an airplane

4. one is dragged across the sidewalk/ raped/ murdered/ generally manhandled while frantically digging through their Coach tote for the pepper spray can in their car

5. they have left the can in the car in 90 degree weather and it explodes

6. or while digging about for a Certs one of them activates the spray in Nordstrom

I don’t know if any of you have caught any pepper spray, but I caught some incidentally twice and it really really blew. A lot. Pepper spray, like Seattle, is not bullshitting. I wouldn’t want to be close enough to a can of pepper spray to actually use it.

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