#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

I’ve been spending a lot of time walking home in the dark and thinking about how many people would say, “That’s unsafe.” Of course, it is unsafe. I am aware of this. Perhaps I do it because it is unsafe. The silence draws me to it. At least that’s what I tell myself. I mainly do it because I have no other choice. But talking about silence is the much more poetic way to speak.

The sound of your own footsteps is similar to squeezing yourself into the underwater world of a bathtub – a place where we can hear our own heartbeats (and probably the sloshing of water fighting the unnatural and contorted way you have to lay in order to fit underwater as an adult.)

Look! I'm a mermaid...with legs. Wait a second...
Look! I’m a mermaid…with legs. Wait a second…

As a kid, I didn’t have this problem. I used the bathtub as a pool. Goggles and all. I suppose that’s why a brilliant idea occurred to six-year-old me: the shower could be a pool, too. A raining pool. To do this, I clogged the drain with towels, and once a puddle formed, I had the perfect area to play in. The game was called “hurricanes and mermaids”, and my Barbie’s were the participants. We lasted thirty minutes before my mom ran in, screaming about how the kitchen ceiling was dripping with water. It occurred to me that – to our kitchen – I was the hurricane. What my mother was in this metaphor is still beyond me. Real hurricanes don’t have a curly-headed woman to stop the storm by turning the shower’s knob off. Something tells me this is exactly why I will never be a mermaid in a hurricane. I suppose that would also be called common sense.

I won’t lie. I have been told for a long portion of my life that I don’t have a lot of common sense. Mainly because I overthink everything – which sometimes results in appearing as if I hadn’t thought at all. Take my current situation as an example. I’m walking alone on a dark street in the middle of the night all by myself. If you happened to drive by and see me, you would probably think I was an idiot. After all, this is how a couple Law and Order: SVU episodes start. Right? I would like to take this moment to explain how much I would like to rant about the assumptions people have about those who are walking around by themselves, but instead I will continue forward with something I dread a little bit more than that: statistics.

If you get into the statistics of it all, only 26.1% of violent victimization happens by total strangers*, and – in fact – you’re relatively safe walking down the street by yourself. Even though articles like What It’s Like to Be a Woman at Night gain popularity, you are probably safer walking at night than you are driving in rush hour traffic. Especially where I happen to be. I am by no means encouraging people to waltz along the midnight path like I do. I have no choice but to. But this doesn’t mean I’m right or you’re right or any of it is right. I do, however, think it’s rather sad how society has snatched the serenity of the silent, midnight walk away from us. And I like to take it back, even if I shouldn’t. That being said, every time I return home unharmed, I have to confess I believe in society a little bit more. I also remember the hurricane. It is difficult not to when the rain falls.

Walking around in twenty-degree weather has become a norm for me lately – being carless and all – but walking in freezing sleet rain for a long period of time was new. Then again, being forced to walk around to find work has toughened me up a bit. I almost welcomed it. Almost. I definitely didn’t increase my walking speed. That would only make the holes in the toes of my boots get bigger. No exaggeration. But the moment was still an enjoyable one. It reminded me of the mermaids and the hurricanes and how I would’ve rejoiced in my young age at the opportunity to play in such awful weather. For that reason alone, I almost jumped into a puddle. Almost. I had to remember my boots again. But I managed to take my hands out of my pockets and enjoy the feel of the rain slipping through my fingers.

This might be where I lost my common sense, and a part of me has accepted my neutral reaction at losing such a thing, but a bigger part of me prefers to listen to the rain anyway. It is much more accommodating when you let it fall on your shoulders than pretend it isn’t hitting your ceiling at night. It becomes less ominous, more subtle – a way of breathing in a new day when you’re struggling to find a reason to stay positive since the next storm is coming.

One of these days, I’ll also remember to carry an umbrella.

~SAT on #SATurday

*Taken from latest Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)


I look forward to hearing from you!
I look forward to hearing from you!

27 thoughts on “#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

  1. Dude, night is like the best time to walk places – I’m way more familiar with London in darkness than I am in light, which is a weird thing but I think it’s pretty cool. Also I find it’s much easier to write at three in the morning sitting in the middle of a deserted street – the things around you are way more interesting than the interior of a room or a duckpond or whatever.

      1. Wouldn’t call the places I’m in beautiful, more striking – there are a lot of ominous-looking streetlamps behind trees and building sites and stuff, which are quite cool.

  2. Imagine what you could do now with one of those removable shower heads. 😀 I have to admit that I’m edgy about walking alone in the dark, but it’s more about being the first victim of a zombie invasion than anything else.

  3. Takes me back to my high school days when a couple buddies & I would roam the night every weekend. We never went around singly, always at least in a pair. I lived in an area that was a sort of a transition between safety and ghetto, Some nights felt free. Other nights just felt wrong. We’d look at each other and silently agree that tonight was a “bad” night. We never stayed out long enough to find out what “bad” meant, but we felt it all the same. The good nights, though were very good. It was as thought the night spoke to us about peace, about quiet, & maybe a bit about adventure. We never did much; we just went around, soaking it in.

  4. I love to walk down the street at night. I live in a rural area, so we have no streetlights. It’s wonderful to see all the stars and moon. And hear the owls and coyotes yipping. It makes me feel as one with nature. 🙂

    1. That sounds nice! I used to be closer to nature – we lived on some land I obsessed over. Lots of trees. But we’re nowhere near nature now, so it’s been rather strange doing the frogger thing. I enjoy it when I see a falcon land on a light post or a goose in a nearby homemade pond. It reminds me of the forest.

  5. I walk home in the dark too, every night. Along a very deserted path, and strangely I don’t ever feel scared. I like being in the dark, gazing up at the stars (when it’s not cloudy) and having a bit of alone time before coming home to two boisterous kids and a tired husband. I do carry an umbrella though, that is essential in England!

  6. Shannon for years, I too, enjoyed walking late at night. The world’s quiet was very calming. It was a walking meditation for me. At the time, I was in my 20’s and no matter what neighborhood I lived in — safe, or unsafe — I walked. It’s therapeutic I believe. I was berated by my family that I’d be a statistic. I wasn’t.

    It seems you walk for different reasons but if you are seeking solace you may want to try deeper forms of meditative practice that will bring answers/solutions faster.

    Wishing you all the best in this New Year! [And put some tape on those boots. :-)]

    1. I used to walk for solace when I lived on some land I could use, but you’re right – I’m rather walking around looking for work. I recently lost my job and my car, which hasn’t been easy, especially at the same time. But I am trying to find the positive side to it all, especially while walking around town. Thank you for the advice! I have tape on my boots now, but I need to find a way to get new ones. :] I hope you had a wonderful New Year as well! Thank you for commenting.

  7. I love going out in the dark for a run. Theres something amazing about running into darkness where you can’t fully see what’s ahead combined with the peacefulness. But at the same time, because of past experiences, I’m more scared of going out in the dark than most women, so it’s an odd combination of feelings for me. But the more I do it, the less scared I become. I’m glad to find someone else who likes the dark.

    1. Me, too! I used to run at night when I was in college. Now, I use a gym, but I do think about those night runs when I walk home at night. There’s a certain beauty at night that’s different than other beauties. Thank you for sharing your emotions toward this topic! I’m glad to hear your fears are subsiding.

  8. Thank you for following my blog Shannon. I to like you love writing as well. I will check your blog out as well. I see that you live in Lawrence, that’s cool, I live in Ottawa, just fifteen minutes south of you. Keep up the good work.

  9. The beginning paragraph should totally inspire you as a great beginning for your next book. 🙂 a girl walking at night, hurricane, mermaids, family telling her to be safe, a crazy shower scene….yes, take all the elements and mash them together. 🙂

    By the way, just finished “take me tomorrow”. Other than the language, it was sooo good. There will be another book right? You really did a great job at the ya genre…you are doing what you are born to do.

    I’m new to your blog. Also hoping to be an author one day. I’m enjoying reading your journey!

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