Yesterday SY and I were walking home in the dark, around 7pm, past the park near our house. It’s not the best way home as there’s a long passage where on both sides there’s a tall and spiky metal fence, but we were near Sainsbury’s buying light bulbs and it’s a pain in the ass to go all the way round the other way.
In that passage, you’re hemmed in basically- and we don’t usually take that route for that reason, even though it does have lights. There’s nobody nearby either, to hear you scream- park on one side, allotments on the other.
But we took it. Ahead of us a big guy and a smaller, late middle-aged lady were walking slowly. Slight dilemma, but I figured we don’t look threatening, they don’t especially, so the lesser of two evils is overtake rather than walk behind them ominously the whole way.
“Excuse me,” I say as I pass between them with SY.
We go by, then the woman starts muttering loudly- “You can’t be out at here walking like this, you’ll get mugged.”
OK, I think.
“Or raped,” she adds.
Weird? I thought so. I turned around.
“What about you then?” I ask, not aggressively.
She bursts out laughing.
What? Was she stunned I could hear her, or stunned I said anything, or maybe she just finds the whole subject hilarious? As with the escapade on the train a few days ago, the male companion kept his own counsel and said nothing.
Who can say, really. Was she threatening rape? Was she mumbling about her own fear of rape? Was she sharing general warnings about how to avoid rape?
In the infamous words of The Doors- People are Strange.