Cute story alert: When I moved to the mad, bad, rad city of Los Angeles as a wee 20-year-old, my nervous father started sending me a check for $35.00 every month, begging me to please, please use it to valet park whenever I was alone by myself at night. I never did use the money for his intended purpose, because behold: I am the cheapest babe in the whole damn valley. Paying for parking is pure insanity, and I'll drive around the block seventeen times and walk down the sketchiest side streets known to man in order to save myself five bucks. Every single time.
It has recently started to cross my mind that this is maybe not the smartest life plan, but instead of starting to splash out for valet parking, I did what any thinking girl would: invested $19.99 in a simple-looking black bracelet called the Little Viper.
It's an 8.5" long rubber bracelet with three adjustable snaps that just so happens to also house a miniature tube of pepper spray. You can wear it whenever you feel like you might be in a dangerous situation, as simply depressing both sides of the canister releases a burst of oleoresin capsicum (which is legal in all 50 states). It comes in both pink and black, but I like the black best because you can play it off as a fashion accessory.
So I was minding my own business last week, waiting for a friend at a bar in Hollywood (wearing my Little Viper bracelet, of course, as I had just walked six blocks from a residential neighborhood that allows overnight parking) when I suddenly found myself tackled from behind. I instantly thought of activating my bracelet but then remembered I was in a busy bar, not alone on the street, and that pepper spraying someone in the face might be considered an overreaction in that situation.
I whipped around and the look of shock on the dude's face immediately told me the whole story. He instantly apologized and said, "Oh, my god, I thought you were someone else! I'm so sorry!" I laughed and said, "Well, she must be real pretty then!" He smiled and moved on, dramatically bowing and scraping as he did.
About an hour later, the same guy walked by the table I was at with a foxy blonde on his arm and waved goodbye to me. I waved back and then leaned forward to tell my dining companions the story of "that guy" almost getting pepper sprayed by me. Would you like to guess what they said?
"That's Jonah Hill, you idiot. Don't you work in Hollywood?"
They were right, of course. Both about it being Jonah AND about me being a clueless idiot when it comes to celeb sightings. But one thing I wasn't wrong about is my Little Viper purchase. I keep it in my glove box, (but be careful doing so if temps in your area reach over 120 degrees or below -5 degrees) and anytime I've had to go out by myself at night or know I'll be walking alone a bit, I pull it out and wear it. It's made me a tad less anxious and a little more aware of my surroundings, which is never a bad thing. The only problem is that I'm now kind of just looking for any excuse to pepper spray some lecherous creep -- even if it winds up being poor, sweet Jonah Hill.
I'm on Twitter: @IveyAlison.
A POSTSCRIPT: Immediately after writing this, I headed out to my local garden store, where I could have sworn I saw one of my BFFs in the dirt aisle. I of course marched up, hit her on the shoulder, and said, "Boo, you whore!" At which point the lady in question turned around and revealed herself as not actually being my pal at all. I made sure to take a minute after that embarrassing debacle to thank my lucky stars she hadn't yet heard of the Little Viper -- and armed herself!