Jul 23, 2006

On Walking Alone at Night

(Toledo, OH) I consistently preach to my children that people should always walk in groups, and that walking at night is dangerous.

Yet I found myself last night doing the thing I have warned against: walking alone at night.

I had intended to leave the going-away party I attended before dark, but found myself chatting until well after 10:00 pm. It was quite dark when I said my goodbyes.

I do not live in a particularly dangerous neighborhood, but criminals respect no boundaries these days. It took only a minute for my guard to go up, but heck - it was only a mile, and the weather was nice.

The night world is very different from the day, and you hear quite a variety of sounds while walking along a dark road: fireworks off in the distance, cicadas shrieking in the trees, emergency sirens, people laughing, people arguing.

A van blew the stop sign at McGregor and Harvest while I approached the intersection. It came to a halt thirty yards down the road and a woman got out.

"Why are you acting like this?" she cried in the dark.

"F** this - I'm out of here!" was the unseen man's reply as he sped off.

I decided not to stick my nose in a domestic quarrel and continued walking.

A carload of teens whizzed by, flashing their brights and honking the horn at me, the loon who was walking on the side of the road.

"Faggot!" was the rhetorical brilliance offered by one of the passengers.

My response was a one-fingered salute, which caused them to brake and turn around.

"Here we go," I thought as the car circled back. I began to look for a stick or large rock to defend myself when the car passed. A 20-oz soda bottle was hurled in my direction, and the group shouted some more colorful phrases, but they evidently tired of the "Taunt-the-Pedestrian" game and did not return.

I arrived home unscathed, and really no worse for the wear, but I vowed that any exercise benefits derived from late night walks are more than canceled out by the inherent danger of walking alone at night.


Anonymous said...

Hell, I won't walk alone in my 'hood during the DAY.

Peahippo said...

Mike, it appears you obtained a full-intensity exposure to what passes for culture in Toledo. No wonder people don't leave their homes.

At least you were lucky that it was dry. Walking near any road while it's raining also takes the risk of being intentionally soaked by more of Toledo's finest citizens shuffling their lard-asses to Wal*Mart or some bar in their rusty gas-guzzlers.

Borg said...

Wow, Toledo must suck.

I live across the bridge from a very rundown neighborhood, complete with homeless shelter, in what must be the poorest city in my state.

Yet, I can walk at 1:00 in the morning downtown, and have never had ANY problems.

ADVICE: Look really mean all the time, dress in black, shave your head, wear combat boots, and carry a lethal weapon.

If they know you're crazy, they won't challenge you.

Kate said...

sounds more dangerous than hookers :-)

Do said...

Mike - I'm shocked! LOL And that's one of the 'better' neighborhoods in Toledo!

Just goes to show that being an idiot (the punks in the car - not you!) doesn't mean you are relegated to a specific area.


Lisa Renee said...

One of the most coolest things about moving to where I live now compared to when I lived in Springfield township is I have sidewalks! Less harrassment from the idiot drivers day or night.


McCaskey said...

I must confess...I love the night, and I love walking at night. Although it certainly needs to be done in a safe area, and you have to be vigilant.

Anonymous said...

Er um Mike -- in all likelihood it wasn't a bottle of soda that they were hurling your way.

Be forewarned very gross visual image coming ....

Not all kids, but some kids have been known to relieve themselves into their soda bottles and then throw the bottles at oncoming cars, pedestrians, etc. Those that do not explode are left on the side of the road for commercial lawn mowers to split with their blades and be sprayed by.

Nice huh?

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

Murder rates are up a bit this year and last, after a decline to their lowest point in 30 years...I'd say it's still pretty safe, at least safer than the media would have you believe.

(No offense intended, Mike. :) )

Stephanie said...

I don't walk alone at night any more, though I do travel to the curb and within my driveway, and even that's far enough to get harrassed around here. We're right along the main traffic route from the bars to various different neighborhoods, and get both the "high" class harrassment and the thief types. Yet still, never has a drunk jumped our curb.

historymike said...

No offense, McCaskey.

"If it bleeds, it leads."

Hooda Thunkit said...

I thought that you lived in one of Toledo's neighborhoods; I’ll bet that you did too.

It just goes to show that stupidity and bad behavior knows no bounds...