Monday, October 10, 2011

Red Ryder, Radio Flyer


Many of you have heard my near kidnapping story. The one where I was about to ride off into the desert sunset on a large Black Stallion led by a native guide. At just the last possible moment, as my horse was being led in the opposite direction of my family and friends, my son appeared coming up over the hill, hollering my name. I could barely make out his form as night was falling, but I heard him calling and I yelled back to him as loud as I could. 
Who's to say what really would have happened. As I've said before, I am quick to imagine the worst. But that is one story I have no interest in finding out what "would" have happened!

Since that time I have learned some important lessons while living abroad. Not everyone thinks eye contact, a nod and a grin are simply mere acknowledgments as you pass a stranger on the street. I have worked hard on this as my natural response is exactly that.  Especially when you're by yourself!
Case in point:
First day out on my own here.
Kirk had previously walked me to "Sports City". It is a huge athletic center with venues for every sporting activity you can imagine. (It is not too far from our apartment.) There is even a shaded large park area with paths and trails for walking and running. I noticed quite a few women there alone, some walking, others running, and we both agreed it was a safe place to walk.
I timidly made my way to Sports City one afternoon, anxious to go for a walk and listen to some music.  When I felt comfortable enough,  I put in my earphones and began to listen to music. Sort of.

 My brand new " Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" IPod

My brand new " Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot 
Range Model Air Rifle!" IPod
 was not working. This was a once in a lifetime deal on Amazon. The IPod Nano Generation V 16GB
in the coveted and hard to find fire engine red. The earphone jack did not fit the ipod! I bought it 6wks ago but hadn't listened to it due to that persistent headache. So I'm walking along fiddling with the wires and holding the unit perfectly still, yet hearing sporadic, fuzzy sound.
I looked up to see this old white rusted pick up truck headed slowly towards me. (I'm on this narrow but paved path.) This man's big hairy arm hanging out the window 
reaches towards me and he grins. He yells out,
"Hello? How are you? Hello? Hello? How are you?" He slaps the empty seat next to him and loudly says, "Come. Come with Me. Come here. I take you with me!" I walk past as quickly as I can, headphones in place like I can't hear a word he's saying. As I sneak a peak back, I see the brake lights on his truck light up, lighting a fire under me as I rush towards the park exit.  Of course I'm turned around, flustered and desperate to escape. I'm secretly hoping to hook up with the women in hijabs and black floor length gowns. (Like I can disguise myself amongst them.) Alone I find myself flush up against a fenced dead end. The ledge to my left is too high to jump down. I don't see the truck anymore, but I'm sure he sees me. (when in all actuality he probably just drove on his merry way without a second thought). I retrace my steps and find myself on the road home. Relieved but still in a hurry I dodge traffic, and march down the main street without hesitating. I'm wearing sunglasses, still have the ear buds in, and looking straight ahead. Suddenly I'm startled by this hissing noise right by my ear. Another man has decided to taunt me with those snake like noises that are sometimes heard when a guy is wanting your attention, or hoping to fluster you. "Never let 'em see you sweat" is my motto and I continue on without even glancing his way.
I'm more angry than I am scared when I walk through the doors of our apartment. And then I wonder, why, within the space of an hour was this 50 year old, gray-haired women harassed twice? There is no other explanation than,

 My "brand new Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range
Model Air Rifle!" IPod...
(and the way I tilted my head to hear the music.)

(I might add here that I just returned from another outing on my own.  I left Kirk here and took my ipod thinking I could stroll around the block and listen to a session of conference. Pretty sure if I wiggled the wires right this time, I would get the sound. Some of you may wonder how on earth I got lost again. But others of you know that it goes without saying.  For 45 minutes I walked with non functioning earphones in place putting on the air that I knew just where I was headed. Every street here is either straight up or straight down. "Both Favorites".  For every valley I walked down, there was another mountain staring me in the face. Finally, when familiar territory led me back home, Kirk was surprised to see me panting so hard and red faced (I have asthma you know). He wondered why on earth I hadn't called him or taken a cab.  (Because, I had to figure this out on my own.) I collapsed into the chair and threw my ipod on the couch telling Kirk it was garbage!  He picked it up, slid the jack into the thing like it belonged. A perfect fit. Now it works like a dream.)

1 comment:

  1. Scary! I like your "don't let them see you sweat" approach. That's what I always did. But, you could always try Gretchen's approach: "chase them down and curse at them in arabic." Haha