*Picture of future-me, nice and old, because I did what this post told me to do.
Being raised Colombian style is quite an experience. Highly skilled parenting ways are required in teaching survival, safety, and always outsmarting any potential dangerous circumstances up ahead.
Daily, hourly, I call upon this ninja style of living learned at my Abuela's knee, and I am more than aware of possible threatening situations and how to circumvent them. We have a third eye and a sixth sense about life in the streets, so odds are in our favor of our actual goal -- total avoidance of bodily harm.
Indoors or out, I know there are car tailers, wallet grabbers, purse nabbers, kidnappers, grocery grabbers, kiss snatchers, butt feelers, wolf whistlers.
Oh, yeah … there are. Everywhere. You don’t see them because you don’t have that SpideySense that was instilled and encouraged in me since the day I opened my eyes and could assess my surroundings and grade my safety in them -- on a scale of one to ten, one being the safest.
Do you want to increase your odds of being around for your grandchildren? Take a quick tour of my world and all that I do that is second nature, and just living to stay alive:
--Carry cash elsewhere on your body other than your purse. That way, if they grab your purse, let them enjoy the Target bag of the season.
--Carry your credit cards in your pants pockets or in your bra. Again, you want my purse? There ya go, nothing to see in there, move along, folks.
--Always wear ready-for-action shoes that allow a quick getaway. Carrie Bradshaw's nightmares are what's on my feet. Really. You should see the hausfrau clogs I'm in right now.
--Develop a walking gait that is somewhat aggressive and shoulder-leans toward the left, with a side of crazy. After ten years of carrying babies on my hip, this is easy enough.
--If someone wants your purse, hand it over. Now is not the time to be feeling your newly prescribed "mood adjuster" meds kicking in with shouts of “Oh, yeah, mofo?? You wanna piece of me? Cause I feel like I could take a bullet right now.”
--If someone tries to get you out of the public eye, fight like a woman who hasn’t had chocolate in five days. Be the child that Trinity and Katniss would have had. Start daydreaming now about the chance to kick full-blown ass someday. Fantasize daily — when the time comes, hell hath no fury like a long anticipated ass-whoopin' WalMart style.
--Pay attention to your surroundings. If you go for a walk, then only go for a walk. Don’t make it into joyful time alone just you and Maroon 5, eyes closed, arms raised up, swirling over your head in moves like Jagger. Leave the iPod at home.
--When in a strange, new place, refrain from the country mouse visits city mouse look on your face. Let your body say you’ve seen it all before, including what they're up to. Eyes on your surroundings, people.
--Do not make eye contact with strangers on the street claiming to be housing demons within and asking for a dollar for a good hot cup of coffee that they know will send Beelzebub on his way. No. Keep on walking. Let someone else buy the debil his one-way ticket home.
--Change the way you dress throughout the day. Sunglasses here, floppy hat there, yoga mama by eleven, skinny jeans at three. Anyone following you will think you’ve got sisterwives.
--If your SpideySense kicks in while you're driving and tells you you're being tailed, make an immediate left turn, go straight for three blocks, then make a right turn without using your blinker, go straight for half a block, then U-turn at the first driveway you see and make two right turns. Then signal for another right turn, but go left instead. If they follow you on all these turns, then your astute life-saving skills are confirmed -- you're being tailed. Head directly to the cop shop. Don't talk yourself out of it.
This list will keep you ninety percent safe out there.
But this piece of advice right now will take care of the other ten percent: TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. DON’T SECOND GUESS YOUR GUT.
Oh, sorry … was I shouting? Just thought I remember you saying YOU WANTED TO LIVE TO SEE YOUR GRANDCHILDREN.
Good luck. Stay safe. Happy situational risk assessment; I wish you a lifetime of ones on a scale of one to ten, one being the safest.
*This post first appeared at the fabulous Taming Insanity's place. If you don't know KLZ, you've got to meet her. She is the bomb.