Friday, March 12, 2010

Mister Homeless

Nobody would classify this story as a date. However, it did take place on a Friday night, and there was a very real and scary threat of a kiss.

A couple years ago, I had a long drive ahead of me and decided to stop in at work for a snack. It was around 11pm on a Friday night. The company I worked for took security very seriously, so I left all of my belongings in my car in a gated, underground garage. I ran upstairs, grabbed some nonfat cottage cheese and mixed in some honey. As expected, the office was deserted this late on a Friday. When I headed towards the stairs to leave, I was obliviously loving life, mind in the clouds, like the woman in the famous "Psycho" shower scene before Norman Bates rips back the shower curtain. A gruff voice behind me said, "Do you cook?" I whipped around to see a frightening homeless man approaching me.

The man was African-American with thick, nappy dreadlocks. His two eyes were different sizes, and both were severely bloodshot with a yellow tinge. His blotchy skin was reminiscent of mold.

Every time I retell this story, this is the part at which I curse myself for still not owning a Taser gun. At the time, I cursed myself for leaving my phone in the car. Unlike the woman in "Psycho," no sound escaped my throat. My initial thought was that, at least all of the hidden security cameras would catch exactly how I was murdered. My next thought was to stay calm, be friendly, and slowly inch my way out of this situation. Because I didn't respond to Mr. Homeless, he repeated his question, louder, "Do you cook?"

I stammered, "I'm sorry, what? Do I cook?"

"Do you cook?"

"Oh, no, I don't cook."

As though he didn't hear me, he pressed on, "What do you cook?" At this point I realized that he was clearly drunk or stoned or both. I thought that he must have sneaked into the building during our TGIF celebrations earlier, boozed up on my company's alcohol, and then kept well hidden.

"I really don't cook. At all. Sorry." During this time, he was slowly advancing towards me, and I was slowly walking backwards towards the stairs. I didn't think I could outrun him, and I wasn't going to risk it.

He kept asking if I cooked and what I cooked, and I kept steady with my answers. Eventually, the line of questioning changed to my favorite food. "Chocolate" wasn't passing muster with him. He insisted that I must love something ethnic from my motherland. I acquiesced to all of his questions like this in the hopes of keeping him mollified. My goal was to keep him calm, and beyond that, I didn't really have a plan.

My work badge with my name on it hung around my neck and fell over my breasts. He started looking at my breast area and asked me my name, at which point I immediately removed my badge and held it out to the side for him to look at. His eyes followed my badge, then he looked at me, gave a guilty giggle and continued to stare at my breasts. To deter him from spending more time doing this, I asked him his name. Mr. Homeless brushed aside his hair and showed me that he, too, had an employee badge pinned to his collar. I couldn't believe that he was an employee at this company, but I was also dying to see his name so that, should I get out of this situation alive, I could get a restraining order, or at least look him up to avoid him effectively. His last name turned out to be a synonym for the word, "Disgusting." Honestly, I cannot make this shit up. I just can't.

His last name caught me unawares such that he was able to take a few quick steps right up to me, put his fingers against my crown of frizzy hair, and say, "Girl, you got some Black in you!"

"Nope, like I said, I'm just Persian."

"Well I could put some in you."

Up until then, I'd tried a few times to say that I needed to leave, but was unable to successfully extract myself from the conversation in those instances. At this comment, I found the strength I needed to truly make my need to leave urgent, and he relented.

But not before pouncing on me with a hug. I seized up like someone getting devirginized in a prison shower. I held my breath and closed my eyes, broke free, and got the fuck out of there.

No comments:

Post a Comment