Monday, August 31, 2015

I ain't dead yet...Situational awareness.

Just running the Red Queens Race, which sort of gets in the way of regular blog entries.

Tam's post on situational awareness  kicked over the writing thing for me though. Was down in Pioneer Square last week after being trapped in traffic and discovering a need for dinner - and the only surviving Cajun joint in Seattle is down there - and I like a real jambalaya.

Now, historically Pioneer Square has been a tad rough around the edges. Its cleaned up a fair amount from the bad old days of the 19th century when hookers were dropping flower pots on the heads of passers-by, looting the bodies and selling said bodies onto the UW Med School of the day for use as cadavers.

These days you just have the occasional shooting, stabbing, mugging and drunken brawl. It's become a combination of a social workers dumping ground and Frat Boy Central (with a few bars that would best be described as either catering to the late stage alcoholic or the super-annuated frat boy/girl trying to recapture their youth by re-enactment). Events are not unpredictable - you have a whole bunch of desperate and often addicted folks through whom you are dragging high-value and frequently inebriated potential targets.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

Anyway, I was down there at Marcela's and it was a lovely summer evening - I'd finished my meal and decided to take a little stroll to work off the pecan pie. It was, after all, still light out and in general things don't get frisky till after sunset. Also, at 6'2" and reasonably well filled out many of the frisky seem to be of the view I would make a poor target.

Walk was pleasant enough, but I realized a couple of things.

1) I'd gotten too comfortable. I'm used to hauling my iPhone 6 around in a breast shirt pocket and semi-visible. Various skanky sorts wandered up to ask if they could "use it" - which had me firmly saying "no, but thank you for asking" while reaching for various tools with a reasonable degree of subtlety. In the future, phone carry position will be more discreet.

2) This was the first time I'd been down to Pioneer Square *alone* in years. Alone seems to make a significant difference to the local predators. I think I will do any future solo  Pioneer Square strolls closer to high noon, regardless of how lovely the evening.

As Tam puts it - situational awareness is a constantly honed skill and it has a shelf life. If 95% of your existence happens around semi-safe locations in secure offices, malls, homes and other locations - you may have mal-adjusted assumptions and outdated data.

It seems to me Pioneer Square is, yet again, trending friskier. Protocols modified accordingly.