One morning I struggled to keep my resolution to never use my iPod while walking to work. It was a dreary start to the day and I craved amusement -something to keep me company on the twelve-minute trek. In the train car, people stared at their smart phones or nodded serenely to music on their earbuds. Blithe disconnection. When the train stopped, all the little islands stood up and floated out while I scrambled to stow the iPod, battling back my mind’s rationalizations to just go-ahead-and-use-it-already!

Everyone else is doing it.

At 9 AM, what are the chances you’ll get mugged smack in the middle of Harvard Yard?

A year ago, when my cousin prepared for a semester abroad in Paris -her first out-of-country experience- I emailed some admittedly contradictory words of wisdom that I hoped would serve her. How to describe the art of balancing safety with adventure?

Trust no one.

Trust everyone.

Be on constant alert, but hold to your sense of wonder and delight.

Walking with my partner and a friend near South Station, on our way home from seeing a show at the ICA, I noticed a passer-by stumble. He seemed slightly drunk, so I quickly directed my small party out of his path.  Neither of my companions had noticed anything amiss.  Am I unnecessarily hyper-sensitive?

Better safe than sorry?

A Cambridge blogger writes about watching a woman cross the street to avoid him.  I leave a comment about being that woman -the one to cast a suspicious eye, deciding whether to venture forward, or avoid a possible catastrophe.

I understand that I do not have control but, living in the city, I’ve learned to vie, to bet, to cajole, to claw, to zip, to duck, to do whatever I am able to eek, scrape, demand, carve out a bit of safety.

IMG_5390

Advertisements