I run the in the morning. In the dark. With headphones on. Admittedly, not the smartest thing in the world to do. It’s why, for years, my husband bugged me to take a self-defense class. Or twelve. I refused on the grounds that I was too afraid of getting hurt.
But he was relentless, and alas I gave in. I would go, I said, as long as I could wear one of these:
He dropped the subject.
Until a few weeks ago. After hearing reports of a man flashing a woman while she was running in my neighborhood, my husband gave me a couple of early Christmas presents.
I was excited to try out my new badass toys, but also a little afraid. Of harming myself. And so, the new toys sat on my bedside table for a couple of weeks. And then, last week I decided to explore. I opened the pepper spray first. It seemed less…violent…than the other gadget, and there seemed to be less chance that I would accidentally end up spraying myself.
I was wrong.
I should clarify that I didn’t actually spray myself. I should also mention that I was in the bathroom when I test fired it. And I should also warn you that pepper spray, like air freshener, does tend to permeate the air. Especially in a small, enclosed space.
Enough said. But I will also say this: the shit works.
And so, being the kind person I am, I decided to share my experience—simply as a public service announcement mind you—to my friends on Facebook. It was there I shared that I am also the proud owner of a stun gun.
One kind friend, after reading about my pepper spray debacle, felt it necessary to suggest that I might not want to test out the stun gun while in the bathroom. More specifically, while standing in a pool of water.
My friend made a good point. And so, not being one to read directions (hence the pepper spray debacle), I decided now would be a good time to start. And surprisingly, the instructions told me that it is safe to use my stun gun while standing in a pool of water. I, however, decided it would be prudent not to test this theory.
In fact, because of the pepper spray debacle, I made my husband test fire the stun gun. Let me just say that the stun gun is back in its case, buried in the bottom of a drawer where it will stay until the pepper spray runs out.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “where the heck does Suzanne live that she needs pepper spray AND a stun gun?” The unfortunate truth is that it doesn’t matter where you live. Any woman spending time outside alone after dark (even in the daytime), should protect herself.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you’re stubborn (like me) and insist on wearing headphones, keep your music low enough that you can hear someone approaching. Carry a cell phone, and for extra measure, buy some pepper spray.
But always remember to keep these items safely stored, away from children.
What about you? Do you brave the dark solo? If so, what do you do to protect yourself?
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