I've probably gone through about five different cans of pepper spray, attached to my keychain.
Two of 'em were confiscated - one at the airport and one at a concert. Another fell and exploded (I wasn't nearby so I was safe) and I only realized after it had exploded on the floor where I later found it. I'm not sure what happened to the other two... but I think they either expired or were destroyed from daily transportation on my keychain.
I have been considering the purchase of a tazer, but am unsure what the legal ramifications of carrying such a thing around or in my home, would be. I also am reminded that I need another can of pepper spray for my keychain everytime I drive by Big 5 Sporting Goods.
So when I saw a story on THS E! Investigates about two men who were in a seemingly perfect relationship but subsequently plotted to kill their wives, I got scared! Not that my future husband would try to kill me, but of yellow gatorade, the poison that the first dude killed his wife with! Ever since the show taught me that gatorade's yellow color and flavor is similar to that of antifreeze, I have been repulsed by the bright yellow sports drink!
Considering all my episodes with paranoia from the past and present, it's a surprise to myself that I made it to the New York Temple all by myself, via the New York public transportation, aka really old subway system, but make it I did!
To be fair to my paranoia, I did meticulously organize all my belongings into a back-pack (harder to rob me versus a purse), review the itinerary five times, and hold onto my phone safely in case I needed to call for help. And I didn't tell anyone, not even my own fiance, about my plans, until moments before the big trek out. This was in case I got too scared and backed out, and would have to explain why I didn't make it.
I know God doesn't always answer our prayers immediately, but I also believe He is so aware of us and that there are tiny blessings everywhere if we only but look.
My itinerary included a transfer from the end of the L to 8th avenue and then 1 uptown to 66th st - Lincoln Center Station, and then walk to the Temple from there. It sounded pretty straightforward and simple, so I set about on my route. But I missed the memo that the L that ends at 8th avenue going to the 1 means a short walk outside to get to the other line. As I sat on the L to 8th, thinking it would transfer by itself or be a short walk within the station (like what I'm used to at Union Station in LA), everyone on the bus became impatient, yelling outloud about why the doors wouldn't open when we were already at our destination of 8th. It was then that I realized... oh wait, I think I am at the end and need to get out! Needless to say, the announcement would have been made sooner or later about this minor detail, but the epiphany I had in that moment of "this is where I get off!" comforted me. Yet the moment I was out, I saw no connecting trains to the 1 so I did what any sane person would do. I asked for directions.
The lady behind the glass window did not seem amused. "You gotta go to 7th," she told me. My initial reaction was, so I got off on the wrong exit?! But I felt a strong prompting to make sure I knew what she meant. "So I take the train back to 7th?" I asked. "No," she responded, "you go to 7th," - man, was she being difficult or was I just stupid? "So," I continued, "how do I get to 7th?" to which she responded, with her eyes rolling in back of her head and a very distinct glare through the looking glass separating us, "you have to walk a block to 7th," in a very matter of fact, duh, are you completely serious? type way.
I got it.
I was supposed to WALK to another subway station.
I thanked her quickly and made my way out of the train station and onto the streets of New York where I had no idea which way east or west, 7th or 9th were. I knew the avenues ran north and south and the streets ran east and west, but which way did the streets get larger? Was I walking towards 7th or 9th? Who cares? I would just ask someone again! So I asked the next person I saw on the streets, and they quickly pointed out which way 7th was, and off to the subway station #2 I went!
The eery feeling on the train of... am I going the right way is never fun. I must have asked two strangers, one on the outside waiting to get onto the train, and once more on the train, just to confirm and be safe. I knew where my exit was, and I had a map in front of me, but just in case some freakish one time exception were happening on the trains, I made it a clear point to find out from someone who looked New Yorkish.
As I exited 66th and walked out of the subway station, right in front of me, a short walk across the street, stood a normal looking building. But as I looked up, I saw the sun shining distinctively behind a familiar looking, gold statue of Angel Moroni. Woo-hoo! I made it!!!
There was a small triangle corner from where I had exited the subway, perfect for taking photos of the Temple, but not too far on the other side of the street. So I aimed my camera and began taking photos while people gathered around to wait for the cars driving by.
The sounds of a big city - think random ambulance noises, cars zooming by, honking from irritated drivers waiting for pedestrians and the pedestrian traffic - shoes, talking, cursing, etc. - were all silenced upon entering the Lord's house. It was dead silent inside, except for the whisperings from those of us inside. It was beautiful! The marble white floors, the same familiar paintings of Jesus Christ and beautiful stained glass windows greeted me, along with a smiling face who upon seeing me, asked, are you Sister Chou?
Yup! I am for another month or so....
Inside, I met another woman and her daughter from Colorado who were together on a graduation trip to NY to just hang out, shop and spend time together. The woman was a convert at 15 who had also been sealed inside the LA Temple when she got married (later, not at 15) and her family awaited her outside. We talked briefly inside about her experience, her family's reaction over time, and her life. Her son had returned from his mission, her daughter had just graduated dental school after completing her undergrad at BYU, and she was shining with happiness about the loving husband she was so blessed to have. She told me she has never regretted joining the Church and coming closer to God and Jesus and actually having a relationship with both. We shared our experiences and it was so awesome to hear about her non-member family and some difficulties she had in not coming across as righteous but still sticking to her beliefs. I know my own testimony strengthened from our conversation and her shared story uplifted me so much!
So despite my random paranoia and initial fear of actually going to the Temple by myself.... public transportation in a real big city, it was worth it.
I can't promise you the gatorade you drink won't be laced with anitfreeze or that you might not need that little can of pepper spray on your keychain, but I can tell you going to the Temple when you really don't feel like it... when you think it's too much trouble, when you're afraid of the traffic, the time commitment or the long wait, that is when you need it most and that is when it will be the most rewarding. That much, I can promise you.