Friday, April 25, 2008

An Interesting Revelation

As I was curled up in my bed last night, I started thinking, as thoughts are want to do when you'd rather be sleeping.

I had no fear in London. On my first trip, I walked like I knew where I was going. I rode the Underground alone. That city was filled with wonderful things, but I didn't feel like I stuck out like a tourist (whether I did or not is another matter). Being alone there didn't scare me.

I had no fear in Paris. Even with one guy pushing us along so he could piggy back into the Metro. I know I didn't look like a tourist here, and even not speaking the language, I walked like it was familiar.

I had no fear in New York. I admit I didn't ride the Subway, but I hailed cabs and wandered aimlessly looking for places where I was supposed to be. I was not even what this country would consider an adult yet, but I wasn't afraid of being there.

I fear DC. I don't ride the Metro alone (I have other reasons for being Metro-phobic), I don't go into the city alone. I avoid being there late at night, if I can. Any times I have been, I've been not as collected as I could have been. I don't know what it is that makes London, Paris, or New York any more safe and comfortable than DC. Don't get me wrong, I love living in that city's proximity, and I love going into town to see the many wonderful things that are there to be seen. I do it, and I fear it.

Perhaps it's because of the proximity. I don't hear about attacks on joggers in Hyde Park, but I do hear about them in Rock Creek Park. I don't hear about bank robberies or high speed chases or children getting hit by stray bullets in any other city. But I hear about them here. It's not that I'm naive to think such things don't happen in other cities, they're just not in my face as often as they are where I live. Honestly, what city wants the tourists to hear about the bad things anyway? But it makes me walk the streets with more fear than any other place I may go.

This little before sleep revelation answered some questions that have recently come up. It's a rather strange position to find myself. But, now I understand.

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