I hope I never have reason to use this stuff. But I carry a teensy pepper spray on my keychain. In fact, I just bought a new one today because somehow, I lost my old one during a recent move. I once had my pepper spray confiscated at the airport (d’oh!), so this wasn’t the first time I’ve had to replace it and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
For the past week, sans pepper spray, I’ve been aware of its absence. Knowing it’s at my side whilst I walk my dog, or head to and from my car in the office garage, is comforting. But I get the feeling my possession of a “weapon” weirds some people out. The man who waited on me at the hardware store cocked his head when I asked whether they carried pepper spray, and asked “What do you need pepper spray for?” The answer seems… obvious? Last summer, I handed my keychain over to a cashier at the grocery store so he could scan my savings card. He, too, cocked his head and exclaimed, “Is this legal?!” followed by a barage of questions about why I’d ever need such a thing, had I ever used it, etc.
In a culture that pays lip service to the importance of women’s self-defense and preparedness, I’d think carrying pepper spray would be regarded mundane. During my freshman year of college, I carried a “rape whistle” on my keychain; I think they were passed out at orientation or something. A friend laughed when I told him what it was, and called me conceited for considering myself “rape worthy.” Our friendship didn’t last long. Is that where the shock re: my pepper spray is coming from? My mom carries pepper spray too, primarily to protect herself and her dog against animals they might encounter on their wilderness walks.
What about you: Do you carry a weapon? How do you feel about it?