So, my mom called just now to hear all the details of my trip to the park, which I have now recited for my dad, my mom, the Professor, and Pith, and gone over in my head eight hundred times. It shook me. I remain shaken. Is it stupid for me to go to parks alone? But do I want to live my life having to always have some other person with me at all times? I’ve been going to parks every weekend for a year and a half and this is the first trouble like this I’ve had. And what if I’d been with the Butcher? Would that dude just have tried the jogger? And how is that a better outcome? He never even touched me and he got in his truck and left. Say I’d been with the Butcher and he just waited for us to leave and got out of his truck after and gone into the park with the jogger? That could have been much worse than what actually happened.
I guess it’s just been a long time since I’ve been face to face with someone I know would hurt me if he had a chance. And I’m still not sure what it is about my behavior, if anything, that changed his mood from reaching for me and asking me to go for a walk with him to him getting back in his truck and driving off. As I was telling the Professor, the only reason I even noticed him sitting in his truck in the first place is that I try to be vigilant about paying attention to who else is in the parks I’m in, not for my own safety (perhaps stupidly), but because I know people are fearful of my dog and I want to be sure that I have time and space to let them by, especially if they also have dogs. If I hadn’t had the dog with me, I might have not noticed him until… I don’t know. I don’t often pay attention to who’s getting out of their vehicles when I’m trying to get in mine.
Really, until I was sitting in my car, just muttering “Jesus Christ,” I didn’t even really register what was going on. I was just thinking mostly about where his dog was. I don’t think he actually had a dog. And then, when I saw him reach for me, over top of my dog, when I understood that he had no fear of her, that’s when I got scared. But I couldn’t think to do anything. I mean, that’s the other part that bothers me. I just went about my getting in the car like a total unafraid badass, but I wasn’t in control of myself really. I was just determined that I was going to get in my car and that’s what happened. I don’t really know how.
Ugh, anyway, apparently I’m still going to tell this story and still feel freaked the fuck out and still worry I’m over-reacting and then still feel like “What? You should have let him take your arm and guide you back into the park?!” Which, of course, is fucking ridiculous.
But, after I told the woman at the community center and told the jogger what had happened, I sat in my car a second and thought, fuck, why don’t I have a word I could say that would make the dog attack? Like ‘peanut’ or something.
And when I told my mom all this, she said, it’s too bad you don’t have a word you could say that would cue the dog to attack. Like ‘peanut’ or something.