Post originally published by Jennifer X on Who I Am, July 11th, 2015.
I decided to get out of the office for lunch one day, just on my own. Greek/ Mediterranean food had been on my mind. I knew that just getting there, picking up food, and then getting back would probably take up the whole lunch hour, but I was willing to have a few bites for lunch and then enjoy the rest of it for dinner.
I took the bus to the restaurant – that went as expected. The food took a little longer than usual because another customer was talking to the hostess about something – fine, I still had enough time.
An elder man at the bus stop started talking to me, asked a few questions. He seemed harmless enough and I always give vague answers to strangers. That was fine. When the bus came, he was offering me food, which I refused, and he didn’t hear or didn’t understand when I asked if he was waiting for this bus because I thought he indicated that he wasn’t waiting for that bus.
It was the bus I was waiting for, so I stood waiting for passengers to get off so that I could get on.
Two people were getting off through that front door of the bus, so I stood close but to the side. I was still trying to be aware of where the elder man was (for my safety and peace of mind, just in case).
The man coming off of the bus was saying, “Daaaaaang, soooo biiiig….”
Before I realized what was going on, that man elbowed my chest.
. . .
With my free hand, I hit his arm away from me and created space. I said, in a forceful tone, “Excuse me.” I glanced at him sideways, more so to make sure that he was moving away from me or we were going to have a more serious problem.
It was like he didn’t notice a thing. He was still staring at my chest.
The woman who was behind him waited for me to put my arm down, because I was now blocking the doorway, and got off the bus. I got on the bus.
I was in a very curt mood when I got back to the office, but I tried not to show it. I think I was able to give polite answers when the first person then asked me a few questions, because he had seen the food in my hands. I kept as cool as possible until I got home and could let out the rage.
I had noticed that the man coming off seemed to be headed right to me and coming up close. I had noticed that his head was turned downwards, not walking head high.
Again, I was still preoccupied with the elder man. I was also making sure that it was the right bus to get me back, thinking about what I had to do first when I got back, thinking about how good the food smelled, etc.
As usual, I was processing a bunch of things at once.
I told Mom about it on the way home. I had to tell someone because I was just so furious. I told her not to tell Dad, because Dad doesn’t like me going around on my own as it is, but she told him how I was ready to kill and so he came to me asking about it.
The man was maybe in his 20s, about 5’6” to 5’8”, wearing black knee-length shorts. He had tanned brown skin with tattoos on his arms, maybe on his chest too, about a medium build – I know this because he wasn’t wearing a shirt. He might have been wearing a red baseball cap as well.
I don’t think it was someone on a prank or dare. I don’t think it was someone I knew playing a joke on me, as I can’t think of anyone I know who would be so daring to mess with me in such a way – I’m just saying, I’ve been told that I’m scary and intimidating, *shrug*.
I’m glad it didn’t escalate further. If I hadn’t been on my way somewhere in a certain amount of time, I probably would have done something… more. Now that I’ve experienced that incident, should another such incident occur, I probably will do something more about it.
For now, continued vigilance about my personal safety, especially on my own. What else is there to do? I take precautions, like on the city bus, I never sit on the inside seat when a man offers it, no matter how gentlemanly or well-intentioned he might seem. I do appreciate the gesture though; it’s not as common a practice anymore.
By the way, the elder man did get on the bus after I did. He seemed possibly not all conscious, maybe confused, as it took him a long time to get to a seat and sit down.
Well, now that I’m calmer about the thing, I hope the toucher man gets himself straightened out, whatever it was that made him do it, before he tries that on someone less… charitable than I was and gets straightened out by them.
- Question: How ought a Christian respond to being touched inappropriately by a stranger in passing?
I caught myself almost missing The Sneezer. :P
Stay safe, people. :)
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