It’s not often that you get smacked in the face with a truth so profound that it makes you swallow a whole lot of words you have carelessly said in the past.
But it happens.
As it did to me, last Friday, on my way home from a match with my carpool buddy. We’d closed down the club, as we usually do, after a pitiful loss followed by a night of merriment with the team now that the big C is letting up a little. And under the light of the moon, in the dead of night (2 a.m. is one of those times that the world just seems a bit alien, amirite?) we were walking to his car.
‘Man. Dyou know it always makes me happy knowing I have someone to walk me to my car round here?‘ I said to him, while glancing at three or four cars standing at the far end of the parking lot.
He looked at me questioningly.
It was only then that I realised…
Really really realised…
How much that weird kind of fear is a part of my life. That strange kind of fear of having to go anywhere. Alone. At night.
Because I’m a woman.
You see – I’ve always kinda shrugged at the whole women in charge movement. Sort of held my hands away from the heat of #metoo. SJWs. Lifechangers and people making noise.
Not because I think they’re wrong, on the contrary. Just mostly because I tend to not agree with their methods, most of the time. Not that I’d know a better solution. A way that would be wiser. A quicker path. Not at all. But even when you don’t know what is right – you can still have an inkling about what feels wrong, I suppose.
The anger. The passion. The urgency. I never really connected, I suppose. I don’t have the heart of a world-changer. I’m well and good living in the confines of my head, most days. But I admire them all their quest. Their mission. And the justness of their cause.
Because as we were walking to that car I found myself explaining to my 6ft-plus strong Iranian teammate (who, I suppose, might look intimidating to anyone who doesn’t know his kindness) that I was glad not to be alone because of the cars on that lot.
Cars belonging to the standard night-population of our specific parking lot. The type of loud-bassed-big-mouthed-small-dicked small-town gangsters dealing in even smaller misdemeanors and filthy attitudes. Nothing to be particularly scared of, in general. The types of gangly youngsters with a bark way worse than their bite.
Unless it’s 2 a.m. and you are a woman walking to a lonely car on an empty parking lot with a small crowd of slightly criminal onlookers.
They’re only there because the cops sort of allow them to be. Figuring they’re better off on an off-site sportspark parking lot than at the local McDonald’s. Or the town center. Or wherever else they’d park their stupid asses.
And though they would not stop me from attending matches, or closing down the club, or walking to my car when I’m alone – there’d be anxiety gripping my heart none the less if I had to.
The ‘what-if’ fear. The ‘are they going to…?’ uncertainty. The ‘this might be a mistake’ surety.
Thoughts I had to explain out loud to him. Feelings so familiar they’ve been a part ofmy life so long that I usually don’t even pay them any mind. Fear that is so standard to me as a girl. Because he never had, and will never feel any of them. Because he’s a guy. And he doesn’t have to ever think twice about walking to his car alone at night.
And suddenly all of the girls up in arms started making a whole lot more sense. Because when you really really think about it?
That shit be crazy, man.