This week has been super exhausting, y’all, and while I totally intended to recharge this weekend, apparently my form of recharging these days (actually, always) is mentally resetting by admin hours and outside escapes mixed in with just enough social contact to keep me from going crazy. I was looking through photos the other day and found this one from August 2012 (crazily, four years ago), when I was deep in the middle of cramming through writing my thesis and had gone on a one of quite a few hikes in the Scottish countryside as a means of escape. The past few days has felt just like those weeks, down to listening to Fun on repeat (how did I not know they had an earlier album?! I love Spotify), the sky matching in color, and the layers of clothes being about identical.
For some reason, I’ve been thinking that I’ve entered this ‘novel’ stage of my life where I crave being outside all the time, but seeing that photo was this sudden reminder that this being a ‘new’ thing is totally inaccurate. I’ve always escaped outside. I’ve always craved the sun. I’ve always laced up my sneakers and hit the road at the first sign of mental chaos. I’ve always never been able to sit still. I may cycle through periods of intensity and preference for what I’m doing, but that’s always been me at my core, and probably always will be. (I am also holding an old-school camera, and this was probably taken with my actual one. Some things never change.)
Anyway, I spent a chunk of the weekend trying to get my life together, and I spent a chunk of it trying to grab any sunlight I could, which included a ho-humm run and a fab cycle to Tiburon.
Nothing too out of my current ordinary, but this week in general was just bizarre.
I had a ‘interesting’ encounter on Friday that’s set me off on one of my ‘I Am Not a Rasher of Bacon’* kicks (*copyright Z 2007, since used to denote any situation where I feel particularly either a) taken advantage of, b) harassed, or c) made uncomfortable by some unsolicited or inappropriate male encounter). Example: creepy guy in park who laid down on the towel next to me back in May. Without going into detail, it was one of those give me vibes like I am going to be locked in a basement and eventually murdered sort of deals, which I rarely actually get, so when I do, it freaks me out just a bit. I’ve always had an eerily good intuition about people and situations (it’s kind of unsettling, because it’s rarely wrong).
Couple that with the women killed while running this week, and my Bacon-o-meter is on high. I just read this article in Runner’s World about the problem not being women running alone, and it dawned on me for the first time in a long time how sad it is that getting harassed and sized up and catcalled is so part of the norm that it takes getting the really creepy vibe for it to put me on edge. I actually notice it less in San Francisco than I have anywhere else I’ve lived (bar Seabrook…), but there have been points where I’ve come back from runs with double-digit counts of people who whistled, yelled or honked in totally ‘normal’ areas. Why is this okay? Why do I/we think this is okay?
I’m aware that I need to be vigilant when I’m out alone, whether it’s on the road, on a trail, walking the dog outside my front door, walking to work, regardless of how wrong I think that is or how much I want to pretend I’m invincible and strong and capable of outrunning or out-fighting someone that would come after me, but that’s such a sad fact of life. Unfortunately, what’s sadder is that I’ve found over the years that I actually have less of a problem with strangers on the street than I do with people I vaguely know or actually start talking to, to the point where I know I am overly guarded, cautious and untrusting, because letting down that guard too quickly is read immediately as a green light. Stranger danger I can deal with. Acquaintance danger is a whole new level.
My eternal optimist holds hope that the next generation will be slightly (a lot) better in this aspect.
On a lighter note, I spent the last 12 miles of today’s cycle hallucinating visions of this burrito.
And I’m about to go buy some ice cream. #sundayfunday complete.