Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that I am afraid of birds. Cowering, trembling sort of afraid. Let out an involuntary squeal afraid. As I’ve aged my fear is within my control. I can sit at the beach and be surrounded by sea-gulls, I can even walk through an aviary – though it would never be my choice. SO, last night I was a little amused that my evening took on a birdy theme – saying good bye to another dear friend having dinner at The Aviary and then drinks at The Bird.
I put my friend in a taxi at around 10pm, she was very conscious of it being a school night. For my part, at home with four small children I don’t get out that often so I decided to hang-out at the bar drinking bubbly and listening to divine music for as long as I could.
Walking, in the rain with my yellow umbrella, I was conscious of just how many solitary men are out and about at night. They’re fearless as they move about the dark city. Myself, I am careful. Looking for bright lights, listening for footsteps behind me, conscious of alleyways and dark nooks ahead. Frankly it pisses me off. Why can’t I just move about at night fearless? It is a huge injustice. It struck me that I could if there was a curfew on men. Wouldn’t it just be lovely if say two nights a week all men had to be indoors after 9pm? Women could just get out and about having a lovely time without fear of attack.
Sometimes I get miffed that my partner doesn’t worry about me more. I often walk about at night time on my own en route to public transport. My friend caught a taxi because her husband doesn’t like her to catch the train alone at night. There are moments when I think, “why doesn’t Dave care about me like that”. They’re fleeting. He believes in my right to walk about in my own city. He believes in my ability to look after myself, not needing a patriarchal carer. He believes in me.
Sitting on the train, hooking away with my crochet, I notice that I am one of only three women on the carriage. The others are all men. Do any of them look like they might attack me? What would I do? What I do do is remind myself that I am more likely to be attacked by someone I know. I think statistics. More likely to die in a car crash. More likely to be hit by a bus. I want to be safe, but I don’t want the fear of what might happen dominate my life.
Walking in the front door I was greeted with the comforting sight of little Ace asleep on Dave’s chest, both passed out soundly on the couch, the t.v. flickering. Finally this baby boy of ours can eventually fall asleep without me. YAY! There are more nights drinking bubbly and listening to live music in my future.