I have been a little slacker lately with my fitness so I bought a Groupon to check out my friend’s studio just two blocks’ walk away from my home. I was really excited to jump-start my workout.
The second morning, as I waited for the light to change at a main street, I pulled out my phone. When the light changed, I crossed the street and I saw a homeless guy get out of one of those enclosed construction work areas. I quickly put my phone in my jacket pocket and I felt my heart racing.
Something did not feel right about that guy.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw him walking fast towards me and when I turned around, we were face to face. I saw anger and the yellow jaundice in his eyes. He raised his hand over his head, looking like he was going to hit me and my gut reaction was to kick him. As a million more thoughts raced my mind, I heard from the parking lot next to me: “Hey, you leave that girl alone! What are you going to do with that girl?” The man then told me to go while he fought with the homeless guy.
When I was closer to my destination, I turned and gave him a thumb’s up and yelled “Thank you!”
It was all I could think about all day last Wednesday. I have lived in my neighborhood for 12 years and first moved in when the area was on the brink of “becoming better.” I use to walk my dog at night back then, a little on edge, but felt fine.
For the first time ever, though, I really wanted to move. I have kids to protect after all. I hear of mothers getting robbed while walking their babies in broad daylight, folks stealing wedding rings and phones in more prominent areas of Chicago.
I didn’t get up to workout the rest of last week, but this morning I did. I went with nothing, no wedding rings, no shoe bag. I jogged there, staying on the busy side of the street.
I am a little more cautious now.
When I posted that I was “Chicagonoyed,” someone posted this on my personal Facebook page:
“I am sorry to hear about you almost being mugged. I believe that the city can be renewed, but it is going to require the church and families to stay in the city and make an impact.”
Yes, families, we can make a difference. We have to put our phones away to be more aware of our surroundings. We have to be involved in our city, not just live in it. Obviously I am not moving, but I realize that I need to be more focused and attentive to the area that I call home. I need to be more involved in making this city a better place to live. What a great teaching opportunity for our kids.
I am so thankful that some random person was in an empty parking lot at the right moment to keep me from being attacked. I do feel someone was watching over me, protecting me, and I am thankful to call Chicago my home.