Tuesday, February 9, 2016


hard to look away

So much walking today! I finally gave in and listened to a podcast while walking during my afternoon errands, which came to a total of about an hour divided into 20 minute chunks. I'm all for being present and listening to the sounds around me, but I was aggravated by the slowness of it all (each of those 20 minutes could have been about 3 minutes on a bike), so I listened to the Ted Radio Hour podcast (highly recommend).

Earlier in the day, I went for a walk in the park because Tuesdays are usually running days, and it makes me feel a little more sane to keep some semblance of that routine. In a more isolated section of the walk, I crossed paths with someone who said hello, so I returned the greeting and went about my way. A few seconds later, he comes running up next to me and starts asking me how many laps I do when I walk and other exercise related questions. He then proceeded to walk my direction instead of the way he was going, which sent up red flags (note: this story has a neutral ending, so don't brace yourself for something traumatic). I hate that I felt threatened, but as a small-framed, female bodied individual, there's just no way around feeling physically unsafe around men of any size. When we reached my turn off, I gave the usual "okay, great, have a nice walk, I'm going this way" and he made as if to walk his own direction. Then he came jogging back and asked if he could walk with me. I should have said no, but in the moment it felt too harsh even though it's exactly what I wanted. I figured okay, fine, maybe he'll walk like 5 minutes and turn back. No, boyfriend walked with me for 20 more minutes. Basically, all the way to the entrance of the park where I was prepared for a direct "No" if he asked to continue with me. About 10 minutes into the experience, I texted charrow to tell her I had started walking with some random dude just so she would know in case something crazy happened. A dramatic gesture, but it was comforting nonetheless.

Am I seriously paranoid? Maybe I watch too many crime shows, but all I could think was this guy could totally turn on me in the middle of a relatively empty park and there's no way I can outrun or overpower him. He creeped on me a bit at first (asking personal questions about who I'm dating), which did not help my dark imagination. But mostly he was just a curious, naive, twenty-something dude-bro. When I told him that I'm a therapist, he launched into his own experience with depression and asked me what I would tell someone in his circumstance. So yeah, just another person dealing with some shit and trying to talk to anyone who will listen. And now for today's haiku about the confusing state of gray this morning:

smoky clouds hang low,
horizon glowing, is it
sunrise or sunset?

picture: charrow watching the sunset over Morro Bay State Park, CA, June 2014, film, Canon Tlb 


Steve Reed said...

Do you think he was hitting on you? In any event, I don't blame you for feeling uncomfortable and I'm impressed you remained open enough to keep walking with him. Whenever I'm walking near a woman on a quiet street or in a park I try to keep in mind that she is probably aware of me and to try to minimize any discomfort on her part (i.e. keeping a respectable distance if I'm behind her). It's just the world we live in these days!

herding tapeworms said...

yeah, that's the impression I got, but he backed off once I told him more about my partner. if he'd been more obnoxious about it, I might have felt more license to tell him to F off, but I suppose I'm thankful that he wasn't pushy.