Friday, October 08, 2010

Here We Go Again

Yesterday I went out.

A pair of attorneys at the firm are getting married in the next two weeks (but not to each other).

One is one of my bosses. The other is what I dub a quasi-boss because she gets a lot of work from my Big Boss, and in turn I do a lot of work with/for her.

A nice little bar was picked out for the gathering.

It was in the heart of downtown Newark. Two minutes from the Prudential Center (for non New Jersinians, it's a place where the New Jersey NBA team plays, they have concerts there, that kind of stuff). A little over a half-mile from the office. 7/10ths of a mile to be precise.

I know because I google-mapped it and walked there after work.

After I had had my fill of getting tipsy and making a general ass of myself, I wanted to go home.

It was 9:00 p.m.

Coworkers asked me where I had parked.

I replied back at the office.

"Do you need a ride back?"

"Um, no. I can walk."


I just don't fucking get it.

Ok, granted there was a Nets game going on and a big Poetry Festival (yeah, I guess poetry isn't dead after all), so the po-po was pretty visible.

But I would have walked by myself anyway.

And I did.

I said my goodnights, and set off.

Only to be chased.

No, not by some big scary mother-raper-father-stabber.

By one of my male coworkers who plead with me to let him give me a ride back to the office.

I held my ground and kept walking and told him there was nothing to be afraid of.

I've done my research. I'm more likely to be raped walking around Anchorage, Alaska.

And it's not like I didn't know where I was walking. I walk past that bar every other Friday to cash my paychecks (I've stopped going to the bank in the neighborhood where Mrs. Longbotham used to live).

Finally I was able to shake Knight In Shining Two Piece Suit.

Only to have my phone ring as I got to parking lot where my car was.

I just missed the call--it was Big Boss.

He filled me in on the story this morning. He apparently took off after me when Knight in Shining Two Piece Suit failed at his mission and called me when he couldn't find me (oh yes, I'm on his speed-dial. Lucky me.).

What can I say? I don't lolly gag. If I've got somewhere to go, I walk. Must be from all those marches to the grocery store mom used to put us on when we were little. March up to the grocery store, load up our backpacks with the groceries and march back home.

I did call him back after I saw I missed his call. I told him that I had just made it to the parking lot and I was safe and sound.


I mean I get it. You want to be nice. You don't want bad things to happen to people.

But what if those bad things are perceived by you and not others?

I know I'm the minority but Newark is going to get NOWHERE if people are afraid to go outside at night.

And let's just cut to the chase and say what I'm almost positive they're all thinking. They don't like the idea of a 5'2" white girl walking home in a city that is (or at least was in 2000) 74% not-white.


I can't help but wonder if we were in say I dunno some affluent part of New Jersey they would go through such trouble to get me to get into their cars to drive not even a mile.

Seriously, I don't know what I find more appalling, the idea of hopping into a car to travel .7 miles, or living your life in such crippling fear of the unknown?

And for the record, I was not raped, robbed or murdered on my short walk back to my car. Half the people I saw on my trip back to my car were mothers and kids/babies.

Well maybe I should be scared. Babies are known to have sharp teeth.



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Blogger T. Budnik said...

The 'Nati has the same problem with at least one of their neighborhoods. It's more of a perceived danger than a real one.


8:48 PM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

It's a hard thing to change peoples' perceptions. I don't want to stereotype, but from my "I move too much" experience, it's usually those folks who haven't seen much of the world outside their teevees whose ideas seem too set. You rebel you!

And now I have Arlo Guthrie in my head...'the meanest father raper of them all, was coming over to me...and he sat down next to me and said, "Kid, whad'ya get?" I said, "I didn't get nothing, I had to pay $50 and pick up the garbage."' :)

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK! I get the point! I was cruel and inhuman making you kids walk the mile to Carrs and filling up a cart just to have you all carry it back home on your backs!! :)

And for all that you all FLUNKED gym!!!! :)

LORD! I am glad that I did not raise scaredy-cats!

Love, Mom

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Right downtown? I'm assuming on a busy street? Lots of places here people don't walk at night but we've got a pretty aggressive crime rate even in the nice areas of town so it is a danger. Funny how it's the posh uptown where I wouldn't be walking at night instead of downtown!

7:00 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I'm familiar with Newark, having gone to school one town over. There are neighborhoods I would not voluntarily walk alone through at night. But then, there are places here I wouldn't walk alone through at night. I'm not crazy. And neither are you. You'd think they'd have learned that by now and trust your judgement. I imagine if you didn't feel safe, you wouldn't walk.

Having said that, it IS nice to know they care about your safety.

8:08 AM  
Blogger JRS said...

Hallelujah! How annoying. I didn't have a car for 13 years and never had a single problem. Now I live in Detroit and people think I'm nuts for going to stuff in the city alone and walking. Please. Bad things can happen anywhere. If I had spent my life worrying about all the potential dangers out there, I never would have made it to 30 countries, and my life would have been far less rich as a result. I have no patience for people who let fear (and car-induced laziness) rule their lives! Glad to hear that I'm not the only one.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Crafty Christina said...

At least they care!

I'm a minority and still won't walk certain areas at night. Though I'll tell you the truth... walking at night in the burbs is way scarier than walking in the city. In the city, there are a million people around while in the nice burbs, everyone is tucked in by 9.

10:41 PM  
Blogger DPUTiger said...

Holy cow, I could not agree with you more. I'm pretty fearless about walking by myself, and I always have been. I mean, there's no reason to be stupid about it. I wouldn't walk through Pittsburgh's Hill District at night, but shit! I wouldn't walk through there during the day, either!

They do get half-points for being concerned about your safety. Even if they're a little overzealous, they do care. Which is nice. And all that.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom worked in Newark during its chop-shop and car-jacking capital USA years. On her first day, she was rear-ended by car trying to elude a cop (moving her out of the way, bumper-car style, so the stolen car could ride the pavement!) "New Jersey Drive"...for real.

It's better now. But probably worse than the late 1990s for residents of many Wards. (Police-informant symbioses aren't helping).

"I can't help but wonder if we were in say I dunno some affluent part of New Jersey they would go through such trouble to get me to get into their cars to drive not even a mile."

Nearly everyone I know in NJ is *horrified* when I walk to their house from the train station, or to the shops, etc.

It's a disease.

2:34 PM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

yeah the same thing happens to me all the time. i walk 2+ miles each way every day and nothing terrible has happened yet. not that i can convince my coworkers of that. city living instead of the suburbs--OH NOES!

3:07 PM  

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