Thursday, November 29, 2007

Walking Home From The Bar: A Retrospective

It's 4AM, I'm exhausted (and probably sweaty from dancing), and I've been drinking heavily. Sounds like a good time to hop in a cab and head home, right? Not for me, friends.

I'll admit it, I trust this city too much. I was born and raised here, right outside of downtown. Under the trees in the park by my elementary school, there were hobos that slept during the day. Sometimes they would chase us. We had to chain our BBQ down to the deck, or somebody would steal it. Once I was finished grade four, I could walk across the Edmonton Trail bridge to the downtown library by myself if I wanted. Honestly, I must have a silver spoon in my mouth... With a false sense of security like I have, I should have been attacked and brutally murdered years ago.

Saying that I don't trust this city is like saying that I don't trust my best friend. However, with two of my very good friends being attacked in the downtown core withing the past six weeks, I've officially been forced to give up one of my favorite things in the world: drunkenly stumbling home from the bar.

For years now, I've often opted to forgo a cab after the bar, and make my way home on foot. No matter where I've lived in the city, it usually takes only about forty minutes. I've walked home when it was sweaty and hot in the summer (which is pretty much the best), and when it was so winterly cold that my eyelashes would stick together. For a while now, I've been promising people that I would stop. I understood the risk I was taking on my safety. That being said, I've never been very good at giving up my vices, and usually when I "quit something", it just means that I get a lot better at hiding it. I'm not joking, though. I really have to stop, because I'm pretty sure my funeral, as fun and relieving as it may be for you guys, would be a total waste of a day.

There are some things that I am really going to miss about the downtown streets at 4AM. For example, what about the wasted touristy frat boys that run to catch up with you, then get really disappointed when you refuse to call your dealer and get them some weed? Or how about the homeless dudes that walks with you for three blocks, asking if they can have some money to "get home to Moosejaw, Manitoba", or the mini-van pervs that try to drag you away so they can have sex with you for money? Yeah, I'm going to miss those guys. And the massive blisters from walking thirty five blocks in heels? I don't know what I'll do without them.

Okay, maybe walking home isn't so great afterall. As a matter of fact, I'm not too sure what propels me to believe that my best option is to hang out downtown by myself with prostitutes and drug dealers in the middle of the night.
First of all, a lot of the time, I confuse the feeling of being drunk for the feeling of having superpowers. Have you ever seen one of those anti-drinking PSAs where the person thinks that they're acting all smart and cool after a few beers, but actually they're all sloppy and awkward? Perhaps I trick myself into thinking I'm untouchable when I'm wasted. A trusting, overconfident, and tipsy girl? I think I had officially become every Beltline Rapist's "easy catch".
Also, I think I get stingy at the end of the night, and all of a sudden spending $8 on a cab seems like way too much money, even if that $8 preserves my personal safety. What I forget is that I could probably get robbed of a whole lot more than $8 by casually strolling on 17th ave after everything has shut down, even Tubby Dog.

When it all comes down to it, the only parts I'm really going to miss are the reduced hangover from all of the extra exercise (this can be compensated by making sure that I dance extra hard while at the bar), and the sight of the front door after trudging home in heels.

Point is, I've dabbled in danger for far too long, and it's time to finally start taking cabs home, I promise. Now if only I can avoid the cab drivers with the "busy hands", I'll be safe and sound (and here for your entertainment periodically).

Word is bond,

~sarah p.

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