I Promise That This Was Not an Elaborate Scheme to Hurt You

Whenever I am walking alone at night I always try not to look creepy, but it never works. Literally minutes ago I had a delightfully horrifying encounter.

So I am walking to the library down Oglethorpe. It’s all dark and whatnot and there’s really no one walking about, but I get this feeling that there is someone walking behind me. So naturally I look over my shoulder and discover that there is indeed a curly headed young woman walking alone several paces behind me. Cool enough. She’s clearly not a large ax-wielding maniac. So I keep on walking, rocking out to Julia Nunes in my headphones (I am learning that I am never listening to particularly manly music in these stories).

But there was something about that curly mass of hair behind me. Did I know the owner of said curly mass? I know several girls whose silhouette would fit the one walking behind me. So I take another look over my shoulder. Nothing too weird or lingering, but a definite turn to look. No, I did not know her. But now there is this lingering fact that this perfectly innocent girl, walking alone in the dark has seen me, a rather large man, deliberately turn around twice to look at her.

Then I came to a crosswalk right as it changed to the Do Not Walk signal. I stop to let the cars go. There are only a few so they go quickly, way faster than the Do Not Walk signal can change.

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These are to be obeyed. It’s a law and stuff.

Now I don’t like to jaywalk. I’m never in much of a hurry so I will wait at an intersection even though there are no cars simply to make the walk take longer. So that is what I do.The only problem is that the curly haired girl is gaining on me. I stand there awkwardly, fearing the encounter that may occur if she reaches me while I am just awkwardly standing at an empty street.

Just cross the street. That’s all I have to do. Cross the street, no interaction, everything’s fine.

I don’t move. I stand and wait for the crossing signal to change. She walks up beside me and stops because I am stopped. She looks at the road and then at me. I look at her, probably a little too long. I smile to reassure her that I am not a creep. I want to say something like “I don’t like to jaywalk.” Put her at ease. But sadly, I just stand there silent and smiling. Towering over her in the darkness.

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That’s comforting.

So naturally she doesn’t stick around and crosses the street, signals be damned. That’s when I realize that if I were some creep from a horror movie that this would be the go to move for any whack-job-street-assailant. Spot someone walking behind you, wait at a traffic stop for him or her to pass you, and then pounce. And I suddenly feel so much guilt for now putting this innocent woman in this position.

The crossing signal changes and I cross the street. Unfortunately she’s not very far ahead of me so I’m closing in fast. I want to slow down, give her time to get a good lead on me, but that would be weird. I put my head down so that she doesn’t turn and see me staring at her, but once again that’s not a great image to put out there.

I wrestle with what to do what to do, when suddenly I see her trying to open the gate to the courtyard to the church on the corner of Bull Street. I think “Hey, that’s odd. What’s she trying to get in there for?” Then I realize, “Oh man, she’s trying to get away from me.”

I want to call out to her. Say something reassuring like “Hey, I didn’t let you pass me so that I could hurt you or anything.” Or maybe run up to her and laugh out this whole misunderstanding. But luckily I bite my tongue because all of those options really only end with a face full of pepper spray.

Luckily she turned on to Bull Street once she reached it and I was able to walk passed her, hopefully letting her know that I was not an attacker. I hope she actually had to go down that street and wasn’t simply using it as an escape route.

As someone who scares easily, I genuinely feel bad every time I stumble into these awkward situations. If only there was a way to signal out to everyone that I mean them no harm. Maybe walk with a litter of puppies and a big sign that says “Nice Person.”

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One thought on “I Promise That This Was Not an Elaborate Scheme to Hurt You

  1. You are too funny! The sad things is you were probably more scared of her! Love you little brother! Keep them coming. Best way to start my day!

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