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Date archive for: October 2013

Happy Amnesia-versary

When it comes to celebrating wedding anniversaries, there are two distinct types of wife: the needy ones who demand hearts, flowers, and other manufactured, predictable demonstrations of affection just so they can feel appropriately, annually adulated. And there are the more evolved, laissez-faire ladies who reject clichéd notions of romance and not only prefer but even inspire frequent, spontaneous acts of tenderness from their un-put-upon partners.

And I’m totally that first one.

But I’m not proud of it. You see, I have a kind and generous husband who regularly, spontaneously, exuberantly fills my gas tank (absolutely not a euphemism), rubs my back, and fills my gas tank (yeah, that time was a euphemism). He’s creative and patient and funny and smart, handsome, hardworking, and pretty much perfect in every way.

Except he has acute flipping amnesia about our anniversary. He’s lived through 19 of them now (only because I have lousy aim), and it’s the same every year: I wait for him to mention that it’s coming up; he doesn’t; I finally remind him; he is surprised; the day comes; he does nothing; I confess that I was hoping for some small acknowledgement of our enduring … you know … love linkage; he gulps and says he’s sorry; I huff around for several days telling myself that gas-tank skills are nothing to sniff at.

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Shopping for Stun Guns

I was 12 years old, riding home from school on an L.A. city bus, when I noticed the middle-aged man staring at me. When I got off the bus, he did, too. As I walked, he followed 30 feet behind me. When I turned a corner, he turned, too. I picked up my pace. So did he.

I didn’t know what he wanted. But I knew, like an animal knows it’s being hunted, that I was in danger.

Unarmed in an era before cell phones, I considered my options. Break into a run, try to beat him to my house, lock the door, and call the police? No — he’d know where I lived. Bolt to a stranger’s front door and start banging, hoping someone was home? Dive through the hedges up ahead and hide? Or start screaming “HELP!” and crying like the little girl I was trying really hard not to be?

When I think back on that day, I get angry. What enrages me most is that I can’t even remember how I made it home safely. All I remember is being terrified, humiliated, certain that I couldn’t overpower him, uncertain if I could outsmart him — and filled with a resentment that’s never really gone away.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt threatened by a middle-aged man. But last week, I was invited to a party billed as “a girls’ night that could save your life.” It was a casual sales presentation for Damsel in Defense personal protection products — think Pampered Chef but with pink weapons that pack a wallop: the Tiny Takedown stun gun. The Pouch O’ Pepper spray. And a very pretty, palm-sized, keychain-ready martial arts weapon used to “jab soft tissue or break bones.”

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