Or, as is often the case, not.
Here's the picture, see? Our Young (-ish? Aw, c'mon, gimme that much...?) Heroine, armed only with a Scout knife -- her employer having certain regressive notions anent firearms -- climbs aboard her trusty scooter along about 0400 (a.m., mind you) and sets off down somewhat mean & scary streets.
These are by no measure the meanest or scariest in town but parts of the neighborhoods my journey passes through are hardscrabble poor; and it's a sad truth that the poor are the favored victims and frequent refuge of your blue-collar criminal. Along this route, we find (at the intersection of College Ave and Easy Escape) the high-zoot coffee shop that got held up a little while back. That said, some folks hereabouts might be poor but the the overwhelming majority keep their lawns mowed, the shrubbery trimmed and while the paint might not be as shiny-bright as where you live, it's not neglected, either.
Me, I'm a small-town girl and we lived some miles outside even that town; my notions of "dangerous neighborhood" owe more to Hollywood than real life. Go look up the stats: outside of some very small areas, usually ones where storefrontless entrepreneurs of various sorts are found offering their wares to passers-by, most places in cities are not significantly less safe than the countryside. Oh, the hazards differ but "tore up by a combine" or "hit by a tricked-out Chevy" differ very little when it happens to you, nor is the subtle distinction between a crackhead and a meth brewer hopped up on his product all that clear when either one gets in your face. Likewise, the wee sma' hours are not the most dangerous time of day, crime-wise: I'll take "dusk to midnight" for the win, Alex.
Still with me? Okay. Three paragraphs of setup out of the way, an' here I am in the dark an' gloom, waitin' on the light at the intersection of Poor and Proud, when, suddenly-- out of the corner of my eye, I see movement! Oh, noes! Whatever can it be?
[CUE dramatic organ music]
Undaunted and gauntleted, I turn my helmeted head toward the motion as the Dire Threat moves closer and into the streetlight: it's a-- a-- A Mom and two teeny-tiny, just-old-enough-to-be-skipping children. Which they are, under her watchful gaze. She and I both realize we're givin' each other the "who's that stranger?" look at the same time and grin at one another. As the happy family crosses the street, I say, "Howdy" and she says, "Good mornin'!" and her kids wave and wave.
Yessirree, ya gotta look out while on the roads in the dark of night, cos y'might meet ordinary people. Oooooooo. 'Cos there's about a zillion of them per bad'un. I'm not sayin' there aren't bad guys or even just severely whimsical Urban Outdoorsmen wandering loose and I'm not sayin' it's bad to be wary (quite the reverse); but there really is more good than evil in the world, and way more friends out there you haven't yet met than people who will hate you on sight. Be as ready to smile as you are to fight or flee. It's more way likely to happen and a lot more fun.
1. Of which I have blogged before. Short version: while it would be handy to be armed to and from, fat lot of good a sidearm would do in the starship anyhow, there is no safe direction: too many people, too much expensive gear, all in too little space. If badness happens, my plan is what it has always been: be elsewhere, rapidly. Bein' in Engineering, I know all the Elsewheres and have keys to most of them. Alas, I'm not good at carrying this out; last looney in the lobby with explosive claims (he lied. As usual), I joined the other electron-pushers in just happening to find reason to saunter out: if we get blowed up, it won't be for lack of trying to stop it.
2. 'Cos I learned my greeting methodology from Clint Eastwood's spaghetti Westerns? Dunno. Habit.
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
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