Go away, Trolley Trail rapist!
Do I update the status of my cat? (He didn’t die, but I think it’s my fault that he came close.) Do I explain my pursuit of Bella, the rough coat collie/akita mix? (She found her dad on the trail, and he turned out to know my own motley pack.) Or do I ruminate on how I feel about the fact that a woman got raped yesterday on the trail? (Pretty pissed off.)
Perhaps expecting to write a separate post about each of these events is neurotic. But I want to record notable and relevant experiences as they happen — that’s kind of the point of a blog. Surely, not every week will be so eventful…
In fact, it’d be great if the genesis for this whole project (lost dogs) ultimately didn’t yield many posts — dogs ought not be out dodging cars and bicyclists, anyway. As for everything else, I suspect the notable moments will occur intermittently or in waves. Isn’t that what life’s always like?
While I’ve been writing, probably 12 people — some on bikes, some with dogs, some who’d obviously rather be traveling in a car — have gone by. At this moment, three young, swishy guys are ambling slowly in one direction and two hipster chicks are biking fast in the other. We are told that the guy who lived in this home before us built it to face the trail, because that was back when the trail was actually a trolley track, and he worked on it. Supposedly, in his later years, he also used to sit and watch the joggers, bicyclists, dog-walkers and barflies go by. He’d wave.
Since summer hit and our neighbors began introducing themselves and asking what we’re doing to our yard, we’ve been waving, too. Zach started it. Along with physically transforming the corner we live on, we decided also to tap into (if not transform) the spirit of the neighborhood by showing joy to the people who wander near and into our sphere.
It’s actually great fun to flick your wrist and grin at unsuspecting drivers. If they don’t know us — and most of them don’t — confusion crinkles across their faces until, heck, they give in and smile back. It’s awesome.
When we’re out working in the garden, drivers are as likely as trail travelers to stop for a minute and talk to us about growing things. Occasionally, that whole phenomenon keeps us from getting tasks accomplished, but I like feeling connected to our neighbors and I am flattered by how impressed many of them seem by our effort to turn our property into a site of beauty and home food production. I guess I took for granted the prominence of our endeavor until I chased that collie dog several blocks down the trail on Wednesday and met a stranger to whom I wasn’t so strange. (Well, actually, I think I was strange to him, but he had an idea of who I was.)
Overall, I don’t mind being prominent. If our garden work and dog lovin’ happens to inspire other people to behave similarly, while simultaneously yielding us fresh food, the enjoyment of nature, neighbors and doggy kisses, that’s great.
But now a monster with a wayward sex drive had to go and revive my suspicious nature.
Every woman in this neighborhood had to be suspicious last year, when a serial rapist was on the loose in the area. The whole situation created a kind of mass hysteria. I tried not to get too caught up in it, but it’s impossible not to worry a little. The worry can bring people together, but it can also drive them apart.
Since I heard yesterday’s news, I’ve been thinking twice before smiling, much less waving, especially at men, unless Zach is within (their) eyesight. I wonder constantly if my dogs are big enough to deter a creep should I brave the trail on my own, in the dark.
I know better than to live my life in fear. The weirdest shit (like your cat losing motor control at 2 o’clock on a Saturday night) always happens when you least expect it, anyway. But I reserve the right to be angry about a jackass violating a woman on our trail. My trail. Her trail. Anywhere.