Monday, February 05, 2007

Uneasy with Change - Sound Safety Podcast

One woman's encounter with a nasty hitchhiker, and her subsequent self-revelation. To listen to the audio file of this podcast, click on Sound_Safety_2-5-07.

Barbara picks up hitchhikers. She knows it's risky, but she does it anyway. She says she meets truly intriguing and unique people and has great conversations. Mostly.

Three years ago she was on a roadtrip with her friend. They stopped to pick up a lone male hitchhiker. He was friendly and chatty and they all got into an animated conversation, she didn't remember exactly what it was about except they had lots of laughs. Nor did she remember exactly when it changed, but she noticed that the conversation was drifting. He was asking some very personal questions, and the sexual humor was becoming increasingly barbed. She became more silent, but her friend merrily chatted on with the stranger, oblivious to her information oversharing.

Barbara saw that he was "testing" them, seeing how far he could push their boundaries, what kinds of answers he could get to requests for more and more intimate information. We had covered that material just a couple of weeks earlier in the self-defense class. She was bemused that what were then merely words on a page was now only weeks later unfolding in a real-life drama. And it was her real-life drama! And her friend still merrily chatted on.

Sunset was approaching. The stranger suggested they stop in the next town for beer. He knew a nearby campsite where they'd have some privacy. They'd have a blast, he guaranteed it.

Barbara pulled into town. She pulled into the parking lot of the first convenience store. She spoke. She told the man that this was his stop, to get out of the car. He sputtered a protest. She told him get out. He called her a bitch. She told him get out. He called her a fucking bitch. She told him get out. As he got out he called her a fucking bitch again, and a fucking cunt. He kicked the car. He kept up a stream of invectives as he walked away. And she drove away.

Barbara recounted this story in class with a mixture of pride and uneasiness. Pride that she held that firm boundary when she told him to leave. Uneasiness that she had held that boundary, successfully. She'd always been her own worst critic, and she'd proven even to herself once and for all that she could change her life and get outcomes that she wanted. She sensed her own power, and it made her nervous. How about you? What are you not doing, that would make a great difference in your life, because you're uneasy with change?

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