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Monday, April 12, 2004

I'm a Safety Girl! 

Had a bit of a problem Saturday during my trek to Daytona. Nothing too serious, just scary. I thought I would share it, just to remind everyone how important it is to stay aware of your surroundings, no matter what.

For all the years I've been on the road, I've been on the road alone. Back in my steel days, it was never in a good neighborhood. Think about it - where do you find welding shops, processors and fabricators? Not usually in the upper end areas of town. I can safely say I know more about the bad parts of most towns in Florida than the average girl. Now my calls are in somewhat better areas, and I guess I've just lost my edge.

I learned a long time ago to Pay Attention to what's going on around me. I've had some close calls and usually gotten away without much incident. Saturday was another one of those.

Ending my day in Daytona. It's spring break so there are way more drunks around than usual. I've been on the road since around 7:00am and it was starting to get dark. Pretty tired, and just thinking about that 4 hour drive back to Tampa.

As I crossed the parking lot from the mall I realize someone is following me. At first I thought it was just my very tired, overly active imagination. **First Mistake - always follow your gut instinct. I didn't pick up the pace and just kept walking while checking my voicemail. **Second Mistake - don't do anything that distracts you. As I approached my car a couple of young "gentlemen" decided to introduce themselves.

"Hey bitch - what you got in that bag?" Manners 101 states I DO NOT have to respond to an opening like that. I didn't. Too late - can't get in the car without giving them the chance to get in also.

So I turn and face the music. I have to give these guys credit - they are either really brave, or incredibly stupid. I'm not a little girl and they weren't muscle bound by any stretch of the imagination.

One grabs at my purse/briefcase and I swing it away from him. I then decide offense is my best defense. In a manner that mimics my attack on the gentleman that rear ended me I start walking towards them and letting them know in no uncertain terms what I thought of their actions. Oh - and did I mention I can raise my voice to a fairly loud volume? Yep - I just kept going at them. Didn't give them a chance to say a word. I was prepared to defend myself physically but hoped (Please God) that it wouldn't come to that.

Amazingly enough - they turned and left (picture 2 running drunks trying to get away from 1 crazy woman).

Now - I fully admit I did EVERYTHING wrong here. I should have parked under a light in the mall parking lot. I should have waited to check my messages until I was in the car with the doors locked. I should have paid attention to my instinct when I first noticed them behind me. Lucky for me - it turned out all right.

Please don't pull a Tammi. Do as I say, not as I do. I promise to start playing it smart. I'm even thinking of taking a self defense class in the near future.


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