I started doing step aerobics again this week. So, before yesterday, I was already feeling muscles I hadn't felt in awhile.
Yesterday, I got to work and started my day's tasks, revising some forms. A voice came over the P.A. system asking us to evacuate the building. My first thought: I thought the fire drill was supposed to happen on Monday. Even during drills, I behave like I'm supposed to: I leave the building. As I was making my way to the stairs, several more messages came over the P.A. system, and each message sounded a bit more panicked. We were told to cross the street and wait in the parking lot of a restaurant.
Now, we don't have a lovely, residential campus. We're an urban campus. Crossing the street means crossing 6 lanes of very busy traffic. Students streamed across the street with no notice of traffic laws. Luckily, the traffic was able to come to a halt.
I spent over an hour standing in the heat before a group of us decided it was time for cooler air and a beverage. We headed to one of the restaurants that ring the parking lot and had a civilized afternoon, talking about the dissertation topic possibilities of one of our group, the poetry projects of several of us, the fate of the planet, that kind of thing. We shared a pizza; it was just lovely. Not what we're paid to do, but we were kept out of the buildings for several hours because of a bomb threat.
So, my muscles are feeling weird, but I'd have probably gone out anyway. However, on the news last night, I heard about a rapist who forced a woman into his car--this happened just 6 blocks from my own running route. It happened yesterday 2 hours after I was out for my morning run. The victim, too, was out for her morning walk. The man has not been caught.
Part of me feels silly for skipping my run. Before he attacked the woman in my neighborhood, he was 4 miles away, trying to abduct a high school girl who was walking to school. For all we know, he's miles away this morning. I went out yesterday, when there was danger about, and had no problems.
My husband says I should carry a gun. I'm not so sure about that, but I should probably carry a cell phone. I may not ever have to summon help for myself, but it wouldn't be uncommon to need to summon help for others. The high school girl got away because another woman yelled at the attacker. I assume that afterwards they called the police. It would be handy to have a phone in a situation like that.
How would I protect my cell phone from my sweat? That's the logistical part that has flummoxed me before. I suppose I could carry it in a sandwich bag. It's probably more impervious to sweat than I think.
I know some women who dial 9-1-1 before they go out for their morning jog, but they don't hit the button that tells the phone to make the call. It's like a panic button, I guess.
So, today I'll take it easy--give my sore muscles a chance to rest. By tomorrow, the news reports won't be so fresh in my head, and I'll hit the pavement again. Probably.
Everyday Poetry at Radio Free Nashville
4 weeks ago