Wednesday, 4 May 2011

epershand: (Killjoys spider)
I ran into my stalker this morning.

Wait, I should probably start this story earlier. (I'll take self-conscious narrative choices for 500, Alex.)

So, roughly a year ago I am downtown for some reason or another, right by the cable car pick-up, surrounded by tourists. I am alone. This is back when I had nondescript brown hair, before the bright red/pink emobangs meant that everyone recognized me everywhere, before I became used to neverending encounters with strangers who took my hair as an opportunity to start a conversation.

This guy shambles up to me, wearing some sort of rain gear. He's skinny, grizzled, probably somewhere in his 50s, a vacant expression in his eyes. "Excuse me, Miss." he says. I brush past, assuming that he's about to ask me for money. "Excuse me, Miss, do you live at [major intersection a block from where I live]?" I freeze. "I've been noticing you."

"Um," I say.

"I was wondering if you'd maybe like to go out for a drink sometime?"

"Um," I say.

"I'm not a homeless person, if that's what you're thinking," he says, taco bell burrito smeared into his unkempt beard.

I don't remember the rest of the conversation in detail. I do remember saying something to the effect of "I'm very flattered, but no thank you" and finding a way to get the hell out of there.

It's not that there was anything inherently creepy about his *presentation.* He actually seemed very polite, if stoned and unkempt. What got to me was the realization of having being watched, the total destruction of any anonymity I thought I had in this city of less than a million people. Home was a place where I could be watched. Downtown, surrounded by hundreds of strangers, was a place where strangers could know who I was.

I got a little bit paranoid after then. I don't think I've been downtown alone since. I have no choice but to have gotten comfortable with the intersection where he told me he was watching me, because it's a block from my apartment, the midway point to the nearest BART station. But I don't get to that intersection without checking for him. Whenever I am at that intersection with a date, I tend to get a bit more snuggly than normal, as a talisman. "Hey dude," I secretly think. "Are you watching me now? Check out this hot girl I'm being snuggly with."

Before this morning, I hadn't seen him once.

But this morning, when I got to that intersection on my way to the BART, there he was, immediately in front of me. Wearing his purple and yellow raingear. He didn't see me and I followed him quietly across the street, staring at his back. I lost track of him when I went into the BART station, only to come across him a few minutes later as he passed me.

He had to have seen me, but he didn't appear to have recognized me. Or maybe his eyes just couldn't focus on anything, I don't know. Maybe this time the bright red hair helped and he didn't recognize me as that girl he used to watch. Anyway, it was another harmless encounter.

But my heart is still beating a little bit fast.

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epershand

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