31 January 2011

The Prick

Yesterday morning, I was walking along the East Service Road on my way to Martin's house, where he was recovering from the flu, when a white car pulled up next to me and honked. At first, I thought it was a taxi thinking I might want a ride, so I ignored it. But as as I kept walking, it kept pace with me, so I decided to check if someone I knew was inside.

I expected to see one of Martin's friends or family members waving at me, or at least a cab driver. Instead, in the driver's seat was a chubby guy in a striped polo shirt with his mouth open, one hand on the wheel, and the other hand moving quite vigorously up and down in his pants.

I immediately looked straight ahead and kept walking as if I hadn't seen him, but I moved the long, spiked umbrella I'd been clutching in my right hand to my left. I firmly swung it back and forth across my body, just stopping the wooden handle short of where the guy's headlight would be. I think he got the idea, because after the second swing, the car stopped following me. I didn't look back to check; I just kept walking till I'd safely reached Martin's neighborhood and house.

We watched TV and then went out to dinner. It was a fun day together, but I couldn't get the incident out of my mind. "Don't worry about it," Martin said. "It was just some weirdo. I'll take care of you."

Still, I'm rattled. It's not so much the act that's shocked me--I've seen a homeless guy getting himself off on the doorstep of an ukay-ukay--as it is the intention. This was more than a leery "Hi, miss" or wolf whistle, and I feel more disturbed than annoyed.

I keep wondering if there was something else I should have done. I can't clearly remember the guy's face, just the black hole that was his mouth. I had my phone in my pocket; should I have taken his picture? Gotten his plate number at least? I'm not even sure about the car model. After I'd gotten some distance away, but before I'd reached the gate of Martin's neighborhood, two white cars passed me. One kept going down the service road, but the other went through the gate. Is there a chance I'll see this weirdo again?

What did I do to get his attention? It's not like I dressed like a ho that morning. I wore a loose T-shirt, slippers, and shorts. When I asked Martin if my shorts were too short, he said no (but maybe he's the wrong person to ask, haha). I don't wear flashy/any make-up, and even if I did, I can't see how the guy would have seen my face as he'd pulled up from behind. I obsessed about it to the point that, while walking around the mall that night, I avoided looking at other people and kept checking my reflection in the store windows. 'Oh God,' I kept thinking, 'I look like a skank.'

What if he hadn't been just some weird guy? What if it hadn't been broad daylight? What if I'd listened to people's advice and gotten a cute little folding umbrella instead of this clunky man umbrella?

Part of me wishes I'd connected--really taken out a headlight or even his windshield, but I know that's just anger talking, and there's no telling how the guy would have reacted. Some might say that swinging my umbrella the way I did might not have been so wise, either, but it was my first instinct then and will likely be my first instinct in the future.

I know some girls have had it much, much worse. I should be glad that was all that happened and that I'm safe now. But why doesn't it feel that way, and what do I do with the anger?

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