#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.)
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)