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This evening I went to the weekly local Netrunner event. It's winter, so it gets dark early, and it's definitely dark as I make my way home. I'm walking. Most of the path is lit by street lights, but there's one small section of it that's not.

It's the end of the first day of the semester. Students are getting drunk, I can hear them on the roads and in the houses around me. I pull my coat tighter to me and continue.

About halfway home, I reach the dark section, a steep asphalt slope. I slow down to conserve energy for the hill ahead, and as I head up, I notice a person standing on the path ahead of me. I slow more and walk with caution.

As I approach, I notice that they are holding a box of beer cans, and talking on the phone with a male voice. He drops the box on the ground and some cans roll out, and starts to pick them up, turning around, and noticing me.

I stop walking, a few metres between us, and ask, "are you alright?", uncertain of if I want to approach. He replies, "yeah, all good", and then after a short pause, talks to the person on the phone, "this... [couple of seconds pause] walker, looks scared of me".

I'm tempted to say something: "What do you expect? You're drunk, we're on an unlit path with nobody around, and I'm a woman in a skirt." I hold my tongue.

He steps back and I pass by on the narrow path.

— Cadence

A seal on a cushion spinning a globe on its nose.
Another seal. They are friends!