Back to it.

Well, I got my psyche back and had a good run on Sunday. I climbed with Bill and Brad and Ari, too, which also felt great. I was ready for a long flat run this morning and looked forward seeing how the changing seasons had affected my favorite section of the Pipeline trail.

Arnie, Red and I drove up Mill Creek Canyon early and pulled into the trailhead. There was a man in the only other car in the parking lot, and with his tinted aviators, black ball cap pulled low and hooded sweatshirt, he looked like a living police composite sketch.

What the hell? He didn't appear to be an outdoor enthusiast (yeah, I'm profiling, sue me). There have been reports of break-ins in Mill Creek lately....Really, though, if you were planning to break into someone's car, wouldn't you take measures to look less creepy? I mean, this guy looked like the unabomber if the unabomber ever left his house and got into his Pinto and lurked at trailheads.

Sigh. I drove to the next trailhead - my second favorite access point for the Pipeline Trail - and found an eerily similar looking man there. Onto the third favorite access point, and there was another one! This one was leaning against his car in a Members Only jacket (I thought only Steve Hong wore those anymore...). Good god, if these guys were planning to take Mill Creek by storm and were smart enough to station themselves at all the trailheads, you'd think they'd also be smart enough to know that no one would leave their cars unattended in the face of such weirdos.....

Maybe I was being too sensitive. I've been known to overreact in such times, trusting no one and limiting my own fun in the name of staying safe. But still, it was really odd.

So I came home and will run later, at a more crowded time of day. The whole experience reminded me of a conversation I had with Marit and Lizzie at dinner the other night. We were talking about how we believe that in our lifetimes, the world will change drastically from what we know. We talked about how it has to change, because it cannot continue on this trajectory. We are simply consuming too much. We aren't being mindful.

That got me thinking of how my fears have evolved to encompass bigger things, things outside myself. When I was little, I feared being kidnapped, something bad happening to my family or my pets. But now I fear the loss of human comforts. It seems possible to me that our nation will be attacked again, that we will run out of oil, that our economy won't recover.....It's really scary to me. It keeps me up at night.

With each tragedy, the pain hits closer to home. This morning, 12,000 are feared dead in China, and it no longer seems impossible that an earthquake could wipe out Utah. Before Before Columbine, I could watch a movie without fearing that men in trench coats would bust into the theater and start unloading automatic weapons. Before Amy Bechtel disappeared, I could run alone in the mountains without fearing….the unknown, I guess. Before 9/11, I thought a foreign attack on American soil would never happen. Before Ted Kaczynski, I thought all mountain men were nice. Well, he probably was nice, is a little opinionated and brash.

So because of all this, I don't feel guilty for profiling. I don't feel bad for not leaving the van (loaded with valuable and sentimental stuff, like climbing gear ) and trusting that the sketcher in the car next to mine had good intentions.


Anonymous said...

Better safe than sorry. You made the right choice.

The future of our world scares me too. I don't like the way things are headed and the insane consumption without thought, and really without need, and sometimes even without true desire or affinity. (You know the whole everyone else has it, so I need it to mentality.) I worry about my girls and the world that they will grow up in. I think moving to Vermont will be a way to escape a lot of that. Mind you, I will still dress them up in Lilly one week each summer when we vacation in Northern Michigan... but no more continual mindless consumption. No more, I say!

Kate said...

Good for you for going with your gut. We were at the park yesterday & I noticed a man come up (without kids) and sit staring at the kids playing. I had seen him once before (also without kids) and it just felt wrong. I went across to the police station after we left, gave a description & let them know he hadn't done anything untoward, but that my gut feeling was that it was a bit off. Someone with a similar description had tried to take a child at another park, but got away before anyone could speak with him. The police officer headed right over.

Sorry for the novel of a comment - just wanted to encourage you that it's not paranoia - we have our intuition for a reason: Survival.

fastgrrrl said...

I would have done exactly the same thing. Exactly because of Amy. You were exactly right.