I've always lived in semi-questionable areas—New Orleans, Philly, D.C.—where if you walk a few blocks out of the "safe-zone" you will inevitably find yourself putting your head down and walking a little faster. Apparently, my current neighborhood—U Street, just South of DC's Adams Morgan—is no different. I've woken up to 3am shots outside my apartment, a break-in next door and now this...
I was finishing up an hour-long run in icy 35-degree weather, headphones in and rocking out to push through the last five minutes. As I was looping around my block, trying to squeeze in a few more minutes to hit the hour-mark, I ran past a guy being shadowed by a cop car. I thought it was a little strange but kept bouncing along to Katy Perry, thinking little of it. The cop car turned the corner and then I saw the guy who I had just passed turn around and sprint toward, then past me. I ripped out my headphones and almost started to drop to the ground, thinking shots had been fired. Instead, I realized that the guy running wasn't running away from the scene... he was the scene.
I yelled to the cop car who had just turned the block. "TAN COAT! RUNNING THIS DIRECTION! HISPANIC! 5'11!" I don't know what got into me, other than the fact that this might be a sign that I've been watching too many re-runs of 24 lately. The cop car floored it in reverse and then started screeching down the one-way street. I kind of just stood there, dumbfounded. What if he had a gun? What if he had used me as a human shield? Again, note to self: STOP WATCHING SO MUCH 24.
I was too rattled to continue on and finish the 2-minutes left in my workout. A few people poked their heads out of the row-houses along the street so I started making my way home. As I walked toward my apartment, I saw that the police had caught up to him, cuffed him and now 5 cop cars were encircling the area. I cautiously walked around the block—just in case he noticed where I was headed—and slipped into my apartment, deadbolting it and saying a little prayer. I really hope that guy doesn't have friends in the area.
So what's with the title then?
Last night, two days after the Sunday incident, I started to head out for a quickie transition run after a trainer session (again, while watching an ep of 24—season 2—so good, but not for potentially paranoid people like myself). As I stood outside, waiting for my Garmin to load, I realized I was wearing the same obnoxiously loud lululemon purple plaid running jacket and teal nike headband, paired with similar looking black tights, that I had worn a few days before. The possible scenarios started running through my mind. I wanted to run.... but there was a guy out there, possibly on bail, or his friends, who only got caught because I ratted him out to the cops when he ran.
I turned back around but—resolved to finish this workout as prescribed—tromped up the flight of stairs, grabbed my taser and then headed out for an easy 30-minute transition run in Z2. Carrying a pink taser.
Even in a world of gadgets, I think this takes the cake for running "accessories". And, no, I did not buy the pink taser myself... it was a Christmas gift from my ex-Marine older brother. Still, I don't think I enjoyed my run as much knowing that I was packing heat.
Instead, I think I'm going to retire my lululemon running top for a while, add the police to my speed-dial and stay in the safer blocks around my neighborhood in order to (hopefully) continue running unnoticed.
Also note: if you like non-fiction, Augusten Burroughs's memoir :Running with Scissors", from which I stole my title, is a great read.