So it’s a funny story…until it’s not.
Let me preface by saying that I am a full time student who works two jobs, so I only work at my restaurant job on weekends, mainly Saturday mornings. The restaurant is called Golden Valley Brewery and is located in McMinnville, Ore.
One morning, I was asked by my boss if I could cover someone else’s shift, this someone would be what is known as my “relief,” so as soon as she would comes in to take over, I would be able to leave. This time, however, she was sick and wasn’t able to take over my position, so I agreed to work for the entire day, adding up to a 10 hour straight shift.
This was the busiest Saturday I had ever worked, and needless to say I was ready to go home. At around 8 p.m. my boss told me it was safe for me clock out. After taking the back exit out of the kitchen, I get out my keys which had a pepper gel sprayer on it. I normally park about two block away because employees aren’t allowed to park in the resturant’s main parking lot.
It’s pitch back outside with the acception of a couple street lamps, yes like the Narnia type street lamps, which didn’t offer much light at all.
I look to my right and I see that a couple bigger guys started to follow me. I know they were following me because they kept glancing over in my direction and sped up with me as I started to walk faster.
I thought to myself, “it’s okay I have pepper spray, let me test it to see if it still works though.” I point the nozzle at the ground and start shooting to see if it was functioning properly, but it was dark so I couldn’t see if anything was coming out. I then point the nozzle forward so I could see it in the light, the pepper stream shoots out and I feel relieved…
I had not been paying attention to the wind and some of the pepper tainted air had come back towards my face and it me in my left eye. I was standing in the middle of a dark sidewalk with two big scary men behind me, blind.
I’m screaming, crying, hyperventilating, and just overall panicked that I now have no way to get to the safety of my car which is across the street. I get out my phone but I can’t see what to type to be able to call someone. I end up using Siri to call my mom to pick me up.
I was able to use what little sight I had in my right eye (which was also watering and hurt because I had been getting makeup in that one) to be able to cross the street and get into my car.
I am now in my vehicle with my hands covering my eyes and my head between my knees. This was the worst pain I had ever felt in my entire life, but then I remember, I could have been taken, beaten up, mugged, ANYTHING! because I had made myself so vulnerable in that moment. Not only was I a woman walking alone in the dark at night, but I had nothing to defend me, I was free for the taking. I coudn’t even run if I wanted to because that meant I would potentially put myself in more danger, especially when having to cross a street.
I had walked that distance many times before in the dark, did that mean I was any less scared each time I did it? No, not at all. If anything I got more nervous every time I knew I had to walk two blocks, in the dark, by myself all the while having my keys between my knuckles, constantly looking behind me, and then finally checking to make sure there is no one under my car before I feel safe enough to even get in. Even after getting in I don’t feel safe; I have to turn around and check the back seats to make sure no one is hiding.
It’s the same kind of nervousness and paranoia that tells you there is someone hiding in your shower waiting to kill you. Except in this circumstance, there’s a more realistic chance of a woman getting hurt. Serial killers don’t hide in showers, but the source of that fear hides under cars, follow women home, or picks them up off the street.
I will tell this story until the day I hit the grave because not only will it bring me a little chuckle because come on, I pepper sprayed myself. You hear me say that and you laugh…until I tell you the full story. That’s when you should get angry on behalf of women, and what they have to endure.