Something must be oozing out of my pores. Seriously. It’s like there is something about me that says, “I’m a target, please fuck with me” to the general public. I swear I’m not being paranoid, but I am scared.
Many of the places of business where I live downtown are having murals painted on the plywood that they’ve used to board up their broken windows when the looters did their thing last weekend. They are beautiful works of art and signs of hope and hopefully, unity. One of my neighbors has a business and she’s boarded it up and is painting a mural and she’d posted about it on Instagram and then showed several more murals in the nearby vicinity in her stories.
I wanted to go down myself to take a look. These murals are within three blocks of my apartment, and I decided to go check out the scene before I head over to Best Bud’s for a small birthday gathering. I don’t have the dog with me - I took her to her daycare for the night so I could to the birthday party without worrying about the dog and her cat having a war.
Yes, I was alone, but there are so many people out and it’s a cheerful and hopeful situation - everyone is working hand in hand - all races all ages. It seems like a wonderful thing, right?
So I got about four blocks away and there were some photographers taking photos. One guy even asked me if I would be in one of his shots and I was like, SURE! But after he took my photo, another guy came up to me and was quietly asking me what I was doing and I told him I was taking photos of the murals.
He then told me that he had some paintings around the corner and asked me to walk with him to see his paintings. It wasn’t sitting well with me and I said, no I have to get back to my place as I have some friends waiting for me. He was not taking no for an answer, and he was like…just come with me for a minute! And I said no again, and he was like, WHY NOT! Just for a minute!! He stuck right next to me, tried to shake my hand and I said I couldn’t because of Covid.
Y’all. He was NOT RIGHT. He started asking about my toenails and what color they were painted and to come walk with him, walk with him to see his paintings. He was urgent. URGENT. “Just for a minute,” he kept telling me. He had crazy in his eyes. He was a predator. I could smell it. Could he smell “prey” on me?
Luckily I was close to a corner market so I walked in and walked over to a barista - a guy I’ve seen several times before but don’t know his name. Meanwhile, the stranger started to get agitated, telling me to CALM DOWN - he only wanted me to walk with him for just a minute. He was standing SO CLOSE TO ME, nearly touching me and I was mouthing, H-E-L-P!! M-E!!! to the guy behind the register. My eyes were pleading. The guy behind the register got a BIG dude’s attention and they both started asking me a couple of questions - could they help me…was this guy bothering me? I was too scared to answer because the dude started getting more and more agitated. I could feel his agitation. He kept telling me to calm down. I was freaking inside. He was wearing a backpack and I felt like something terrible was about to happen.
I promise, promise I wasn’t being a Karen or an Amy Cooper. I thought about that. I thought how easily this situation could escalate into something that might have looked like I was Amy Coopering this guy. I swear to you it wasn’t that. And I swear to you that I was trying so hard to think of a way to quietly de-escalate the situation and get the fuck out of the situation. I was getting desperate, though.
The big guy started to come around from behind the counter, so my artist “friend” finally got the message and turned around and walked very quickly out of the store. Big guy walked out the door to see which way he went. He said he went a certain direction, but couldn’t see him anymore.
I felt better, but there was NO WAY I was going to walk home by myself, so I asked him if he’d walk me home. He hesitated and told me that he’d have to ask his manager and told me to hold on. My stomach was in knots. The manager finally came out and told me that security could probably walk me home, but “she is in the bathroom”. I then just said, “can he please walk me home?” in reference to the big guy. The manager finally broke and said, sure.
Big Dude walked me home (thankfully), but FUCK, you guys. I am now 100% more terrified to walk in my own neighborhood. He told me that the whole area has been tense even before the protests, riots and looting. He said the store has dealt with a lot of theft before all of this.
After my mugging, the riots and now the seedy people who are hanging out and blending into peaceful protests and community events, pretending to be do-gooders… I can’t walk anywhere. My apartment feels like a hideout now. And I have to drive somewhere away from it in order to feel safe. I can’t walk alone. I am oozing fear.
I’m going to go for now. I’m headed to Best Bud’s for the night and I’ll check in tomorrow to let you know the sitch. I don’t know what to do about this.
Last updated June 06, 2020