I'm a big 'fraidy cat.
Or, more accurately, I'm very afraid of cats.
One time, when I was around 10 years old (maybe a touch younger, maybe a touch older), we took my dog for a walk after dark. It was my dad, my brother, my sister, and I. We turned a corner and there was this cat - it arched its back and hissed at us. I didn't like cats before that happened...that made me downright afraid of them.
And I avoided any possibility of that happening again.
If the sun wasn't out - I wasn't going out...for the most part.
Now, there are caveats - it's different walking around a big city (or little cities like Boston) - I'll do that at night. I know I might see a rat (or many rats *shiver*), but in cities there are more people out at night and the probability of seeing a wild animal is not as high. (Even my old neighborhood in Queens is populated enough that I've done a walk home from the subway after dark with no problem many, many times.)
I won't bore you by re-telling you stories of seeing raccoons and possums, but that's why I won't go out after dark in the suburbs - which happen to be where I currently live.
I am not afraid of muggings. I am not afraid of cars not seeing me. I am afraid of what animals I'll run into in the dark.
It's the only thing stopping me from doing early-morning runs - I want to do the exercise, but I'm afraid I'll run into tired raccoons on their way home from a long night of scavenging and intimidating people like me.
And it's exercise that brings me to write about this accidental late night walk I took this weekend.
It's also an opportunity to catch you up on some New Things from earlier in the year. I no longer keep track of my calories with the Lose It! app. But that experience has made me more aware of the balance between my calorie intake and my exercise. And I'm ultra-aware of it because I still weigh myself every morning - and I've done a good job of hovering around the same number all year. What I haven't told you about is how well I've been running over the summer - I really increased my endurance, which I'm proud of - but if I haven't had the time to run, sometimes I'd go for a brisk walk, like I did in the wintertime.
This is what I did on Saturday - after dinner, I left the house at 6:30pm and decided to try my 3-mile route. It took about an hour - I was back in the house at 7:30pm. But whereas a couple of weeks ago coming back around 8pm meant I was just getting home before darkness hit...I didn't realize how dark it was getting at 7:30 these days.
It wasn't too bad. The worst animal experience I had was on one street a young couple was walking their dog - it must have been a Great Dane, and I admit to a little trepidation. That dog was huge. I spent the few minutes after I walked past them thinking about how many ways that dog could have killed me if it was not leashed.
Other than that, though, I didn't feel the least bit threatened walking by moonlight rather than sunlight.
I don't know if I'll make a habit out of it, but I could see myself doing it again - maybe even getting out before the sun is totally up and going for a run. I like the idea of starting outdoor exercise in the dark and finishing up when it's light.
Just not on garbage day.
That's when the raccoons are out.