Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My GPS may be trying to kill me.

This may seem like a far fetched statement, but that's the thought that ran through my mind this past Sunday. When I punched in the address for Ikea, it took off the beaten track and through the wilds of Baltimore. Not the pretty, Harbor District of downtown, but the sketchy, terrifying part of Baltimore where entire streets of homes have boarded up windows and there's auto glass strewn across the road in every intersection. The very air reeked of desperation.

I, who grew up small town Utah, have never experienced this kind of poverty before. My response was fear; sweaty palms, racing heart, paranoid fear. I recognize that this is an unfair reaction, but it is one that I could not help. My husband thinks that I'm a racist because of it, but I assure you it has nothing to do with race. It has to do with fear of the unknown.

Now, I'm not saying that I was in any immediate danger from outside forces. Was I honestly afraid that some one was going to smash in the window of my car to steal it? No. It came from something else all together. I have, until very recently, lived in a bubble of security that was untouched by any of the really unpleasant truths about life.

Murder was not daily news. Serial rapists did not roam the streets of my hometown, or if they did, the media sure didn't say anything about it. The Ghetto, you must forgive me for using the term but it is the only one I have, consisted of the west side of the freeway in Downtown SLC. And it really wasn't all that scary.

I've developed a sort of Social Anxiety since moving to Maryland. I'm afraid to leave my house. I do it, but instead of a smile and a hello, I keep my head down, go about my business and go home. I'm not sure what changed. It's been this way from day one. Are the people less friendly here? Perhaps. Am I just taking a really long time to adjust to a new setting? Maybe.

I'm not sure what has caused it, but I can say with absolute certainty that I have changed from the happy, fun-loving girl who wasn't afraid of anything into a woman who's afraid all the time. I'm afraid to leave post at night. I'm afraid to be alone in my house. I'm afraid to make friends.

And that, my friends, is not my GPS's fault.

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