Urban survival


Went to The Big City the other day.   Cities are great.  There are museums, schools. colleges, bars, restaurants, shows, sporting events, but they can also be dangerous places.   Remember, statistically speaking your greatest threat comes from those who know you, not strangers.  Well really it’s auto accidents, falls at home and fire.  All the same you need to be prepared for any contingency.  I worked in The Big City for years and took public transportation so I do have a frame of reference from which to speak.

So here is my list of tips and tricks to stay safe when visiting The Big City in no particular order.

1. Don’t be out when the bars shut down.

2. Listen to the hair on the back of your neck.

3. Don’t be afraid to cross the street or change direction if you don’t like the looks of someone walking towards you.

4. Don’t fear the homeless, beggars and pan handlers.  Don’t act afraid of anyone.

5. Don’t be afraid of looking someone in the eye to let them know that you see them and acknowledge their presence.  Don’t stare.  Don’t be a threat, but it’s okay to look them in the eye and be firm.

6. Don’t appear to be a tourist by looking at maps or guidebooks as you walk down the street.  Don’t stare at the tops of the big buildings like you’ve never seen a skyscraper before.

7. If you wear a backpack be aware that people can come up behind you unzip it and take your stuff.

8.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Don’t have your IPod turned up so loud that you can’t hear someone coming up behind you.  Don’t be talking on your cellphone to the point that you can’t hear people coming up behind you.

9.  If something or someone doesn’t feel right, move along, and fast.  Example, if you’re on the subway or a bus and you don’t like the looks or actions of someone on the bus or train either change cars or get off at the next stop and do it fast.

10.  If you take public transportation maybe sit near the driver.

11.  If you hear someone approaching fast from behind, stop and look behind you.  Let them know that you see them.  If you don’t like the way they look, if they make you nervous, prepare yourself to fight and move to the side so they can pass you by or go into a store or restaurant.

12.  If you  can be armed, then be armed, a firearm, taser, stun gun, collapsible club or mace.  Otherwise keep your keys, a pen or an umbrella handy.  Know that you can use your jacket, backpack or messenger bag as a weapon.

13.  Don’t have a lot of jewelry showing.  Don’t dress too fancy.  You don’t want to be wearing a $20,000 fur jacket or have a $4,000 handbag with you.

14.  Wear shoes that you can run in.

15. ALWAYS, always, always have a flashlight with you.  Ever been in the subway, a broke down elevator or the basement of some big building when the lights go out?  You  might as well be blind.

16.  If you go somewhere that you check your coat with the cute coat check girl please take your keys out of the pocket of your jacket and keep them with you.

17.  Anticipate, attackers jumping out of dark doorways or from behind parked cars or trucks.  As you are walking around think where attackers could hide.  By anticipating the unexpected you remove the surprise factor.

18. Know your way around.  Plan where you are going and how you will get there before you start wandering aimlessly around.

19.  Don’t be afraid to yell commands at anyone that threatens you, “Get the F@ck away from me” or “Backup!!!” or “Leave me alone.”  I like “FREEZE!!!!!!”  Don’t be afraid to yell for help either or grab someone else to get them yelling too.   You don’t have to be tough, you just don’t want to be the easiest target on the street.

20.  Don’t ever go with someone you don’t know.  If someone wants to drag you someplace else, make them kill you there.  The only reason they want you to go somewhere else is to do even worse stuff to you away from the publics’ prying eyes.

21.  When you buy stuff be careful of flashing your money.  Be aware of who may be watching you count money from your wallet or bank roll.

22.  Be aware of drunks.  Drunks are unpredictable.

23. Don’t be a stumble drunk or someone will roll you.

24. Look into the back seat of your car before you get into your car.

What’d I forget?

Walking pics-



This is the fruit of a rose.  They’re called rosehips.  They make a nice tea or syrup.  I like this picture.  I like how the drops of water (it was a rainy day) hang down from the rosehips.  They are very high in vitamin C and as you can see the fruit remains on the plant throughout the winter.  I’ve also seen an aperitif made from rosehips by filling a jar with the hips and then pouring in vodka or grain alcohol.  You then turn the jar over once or twice a day for a week.  Add some sugar to taste and you have a nice fortifying drink.

Deer poo

Deer poo

This is deer poo.  It looks like rabbit poo doesn’t it, but much larger.  What’s there to say?


4 Responses to “Urban survival”

  1. I drive my tractor is pearls... Says:

    The best thing I can teach my daughter is that its OK to be rude. If she feels something just isnt right, get off that elevator, turn around and walk a different direction, even call attention to herself.

    Being raised in the South, if not directly stated, it sure is implied that a woman should never be rude or hurt someone’s feelings. Kindness is admirable, but I want my kid home at night and if some person she does not know thinks less of her because she turned around or didnt smile, so be it.

  2. Mike Armstrong Says:

    We strongly believe that all women should at the very least carry pepper spray!

  3. Michael Boone Says:

    In order to truely survive the Urban thing, just get the hell out of the city.


  4. TonyG Says:

    I was in center city Phithydelphia, PA two weeks ago and was amazed at how many people were so mesmerized by their personal electronics (cell phone conversations, BlackBerry emails, music) that they would actually walk into oncoming traffic! My coworkers were also amazed that these people never saw our minivan as they were oblivious to their surroundings. Do you know what an oblivious animal in the wilds is called? FOOD!!!

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