Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stark. Naked. Fear


(I couldn't resist this photo, the chap looked exactly like him which added to my fear.)

I was out road-training today. Ansa would be part of the scene but the other day - she is one hell of a smart dog - at about 2k outward bound, she sat down and looked at me. I got it. 4k is roughly her limit even though I had pushed her a few weeks ago to 7k. So today I pushed her to about 5. Put her back in the car in the shade. And toddled off to do another 6k+ by myself.

And then it happened. At about 2k into this dogfree portion, he came marching out of the bush just ahead of me, a gun over his arm. And for, what, 10 seconds? 20 seconds? My heart pounded in fear. I thought I would pass out. Seriously. And he waited for me. And through my head ran: you deliberately choose busy roads for your solo walks. Cars are passing all the time. You can attack him with your car key up his nose. How long does it take to load a gun, it doesn't look loaded. Is he aggressive? What the hell is he doing out here? And on.

"I thought I saw a caribou, where would I get a caribou?" he said to me without even the barest of greetings. An American accent.

Internal debate. Caribou shooting is a no-no. As a matter of fact this is not hunting season for anything apart from trout.

"I don't know," I said carefully, "And I'm training for a coming race so I need to keep moving, OK?"

"Ha-ha," he said helpfully, "You're going to get yourself killed on this busy road."

Heart stoppage once more as I pass him. I await the click of the gun. Does he mean by him?

No click, just an innocuous whistle.

I am safe once more.

It has been a long, long time since I felt this naked fear. A man walks out of the bush. And the world stops for a minute.

Does a woman on her own ever feel safe?

24 comments:

  1. oh.

    Deep breaths on this one.

    You are brave.

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  2. Not so much brave as angry I had to feel this way after many years of not tossing a thought towards unexpected sightings of dubious male figures.

    I remember a policeman stopping me in Toronto to tell me not to run at night as it was dangerous. And I told him to go ahead and catch those bad guys then, that's what cops are supposed to do.

    I refuse to be intimidated. Then and now.

    XO
    WWW

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  3. If it was Dubbya you had good reason to be afeared. The man is a menace with words. If he's as clumsy with a gun I'd worry too!

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  4. That was a terribly scary situation and nowadays we expect anything crazy to happen, because incompetent, crazy people own weapons, especially those with an American accent.

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  5. "Does a woman on her own ever feel safe?"

    Not when she meets a man with a gun who's supposedly hunting caribou out of season. And what's he doing on a busy road with a rifle?

    As Molly pointed out, guys like this (it is Dubbya, yes?) with guns makes us all unsafe!

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  6. Memories surface
    of years ago
    walking in my woods.
    There sat a man under a tree
    with gun in hand,
    My heart beating rapidly
    I ask "what are you doing on this
    property"
    he replied "is is private?"
    Yes I answered as I turned
    and headed home
    my heart beating rapidly.
    He could have shot me in the back.
    I am ever careful...

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  7. Molly:
    I imagine he got his shooting lessons from ol' man Cheney who blasts faces off his friends.
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Irene:

    The customs stop Americans coming across the border with guns all the time and remove the guns. I don't know where this guy got his, he could have borrowed it from a hunter.

    XO
    WWW

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  9. Pauline:

    I might have felt the same even if he didn't have a gun, I was so shocked at the sudden intrusion and his complete unawareness of how frightening his appearance was to me, the sole woman walking on a road.

    XO
    WWW

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  10. OWJ:

    Scary stuff. Makes me think of carrying a lady-pistol, LOL. I never would but we are defenceless against these intrusions.

    XO
    WWW

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  11. That was a scary situation. Why even a man faced with a sight like that would feel scared. I would have.

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  12. Ramana:

    Yes, I wondered about that, I have difficulty seeing a huntin', fishin' Newfoundland man being scared. But perhaps....

    XO
    WWW

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  13. So many men have no idea how scary their behaviour can be to others - not just to women but to men as Ramana says. Or maybe they do and they just get a secret kick out of it. Either way I'd be pretty rattled if a guy toting a gun suddenly popped up in front of me.

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  14. Yes, I think cluelessness is part of it Nick and then like you say a bit of a thrill for them tougho macho boyos.
    XO
    WWW

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  15. If you don't carry pepper spray you should. Dogs are a menace, too.

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  16. Not nice, Wise Web Woman. Guns may go off even when there is no intent.

    "Does a woman on her own ever feel safe?", you ask. Yes. I do. In the middle of the night, down a dark alley. Don't know why. Is it trust in men, trust in myself, or have I read too many fairy tales with a happy ending? Don't know. Neither does it matter. I have found myself in hairy situations. Yet, oddly, the hairier the calmer I am, the more quickly my brain turns over.

    However, and please laugh if you must (I most certainly did), my son recently told me he wouldn't want me out on my own in our city after midnight. "There are nutters out there, Mama", he said. "Total nutters. With not a clue what they are doing."

    So take care with your runs and do what I used to: Running along a lonely canal, at six in the morning, with only cows in neighbouring fields for company. "Are you crazy or something?" I was asked. No. I am not crazy. I trust. In others and myself.

    U

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  17. Hattie:

    Pepper spray I think is illegal here, will have to check it out. Maybe I should be afraid of stray dogs but I never have been.

    XO
    WWW

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  18. Ursula:

    I do believe I am the bravest of all my friends, at least according to them.

    It is only incidents such as this that drive home to me how foolhardy I am perhaps. And then I forget about it until the next time such a shock happens.

    I don't visit trouble until trouble visits me kind of philosophy. I mean any woman who runs the streets of a big city like Toronto at midnight has guts, right?

    XO
    WWW

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  19. It's not fair, but women are not safe out on their own. No matter how you feel - fear or no fear - there are people who will hurt you. But I go out on my own anyway, usually with pepper spray in my hand.

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  20. Orla:

    Note to self: bear spray.

    Tx. :)

    XO
    WWW

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  21. SAW:

    Wise woman indeed. No, it isn't fair at all.

    The potential victims are the ones responsible for their own safety.

    XO
    WWW

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  22. A nervous moment for sure, and now that I know you're safe, my thoughts are with the caribou.

    In Ireland, of course, the men-folk (politicians anyway) are more likely to march into the bush. To hide.

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  23. Stan:

    He would be thrown in jail for killing one of our endangered caribou and I'd be first at the police station :)

    LOL on the pols. Just read the main article in the Irish Times today about all the stuff they get away with. Unbelievable.

    XO
    WWW

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