A little more than a year ago I wrote of my experience with a maybe creeper dude who followed me until I literally outran him. It’s been quiet since then, no more overt creeper alerts bordering on stalker.
I was then and am now ever vigilant. Chevy and I don’t miss much when we’re out on the dirt. We make a pretty good team; his pointer skills are pretty damn good at this point in our partnership. He’s even alerted me to massive black tractor tires, a definite first for his canine sensibilities. Once he even made sure I was careful to approach an inflatable sled someone left on the section behind Maymont.
And then last month Chevy and I were out for a run to the Poop Loop from the parking lot at Tredeger, a route we’ve done many many times. We arrived at Ancarrow’s Landing at the same time as a big CSX truck, the kind that can do a lot of heavy lifting.
The driver of the truck navigated the sort of roundabout; we met at the boat ramp where I noticed there were 6 men inside. No big deal, a track lays close to both the Slave Trail and the bypass. Some of the men including the driver waved, I responded in kind. But as is the case for a single woman and her dog, I was on alert due specifically because there were six of them and one of me.
Chevy and I visited the porta potty and, upon exiting, noticed the truck now faced east and was parked close to the boat ramp. Some of the men were no longer in the truck so I looked around, needing to locate them. They were at the very end of the ramp looking out over the river. Again no big deal, they’re doing their thing and we’re doing ours. Except I still felt on high alert and it was unsettling.
They came up as Chevy got in the water. I kept my distance whereas Chevy visited them one by one. I am not sure if he really liked the 3rd guy or if that guy was the last one in line so Chevy settled in for some attention. We stayed back a bit as the men continued walking up. They had spread out at this point and it started making me even more uncomfortable. There was a man on more sides of me than should be allowed. Men, teach this to one another okay? So I got Chevy’s attention and off we went.
I did not say goodbye, have a nice day, good luck, nothing. I felt I needed to get out of there so I did. If I hurt their feelings or most likely man pride, tough shit.
We continued on to the Poop Loop. I stopped about 200 meters in, looked at Chevy and said out loud, “Shit, going this way probably isn’t the best idea if they’re going to follow me, huh?” He stared at me, awaiting my decision.
I chose to keep going though I wondered the whole time if they would be waiting for me when I got back. Or maybe they’d be hiding in the brush somewhere. All kinds of scenarios were playing tag in my head as I ran. Every single one of them had me fighting for my life and hoping to put a dent in theirs.
Yes, they were in CSX company attire. Yes, they were on the clock. But we ladies know that doesn’t mean shit when a guy or group of guys decides to do whatever it is they want to do.
The good thing is they weren’t there when we got back to the parking lot. Everyone in Richmond must have heard my sigh of relief when I noticed the lack of a big white truck.
People love to tell me to be careful. To be vigilant. To run with a buddy. To do this. To do that.
Except it’s not me or any other woman doing this to ourselves. We don’t wake up each morning saying out loud to ourselves, “I think I’ll get mugged today!” or, “Let’s go see if those guys wanna rape me!”
Seriously, think about our backward logic for a minute. And then go teach your sons/boyfriends/husbands/teachers/ friends/everyone with a penis to be aware of their privilege and stop expecting us – women – to be so accommodating.
I am not doing it anymore. I shouldn’t have to fear for my life just because a truck full of grown men show up at the same time I did. That is not how anyone should have to experience life.
So I’m not. You have been warned.