Friday, February 18, 2011
My neighbor called as I was leaving work. Some guy driving through the neighborhood tried to take a thirteen year old girl. The girl ran away. The man drove on. He's still out there looking....
At twenty two I didn't drive; I walked everywhere. Walking ten, fifteen miles was nothing to me at the time. Every day, while minding my own business, at least one creepy guy would offer me a ride, reveal himself to me, or both. It started to wear on me. You can react in different ways to these people: scream, run, look away....but their ugliness starts to cover you like slime. Today if I walk down the same streets, nobody harasses me. I'm less vulnerable, less of a mark, however, I'm sure that the sharks still circle.
During those walking years, only one, ONE, woman ever stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride. I said no, but months later I heard someone running behind me, and it was she. We ended up becoming good friends, like family. She was Nicaraguan, and hung out with many people from Central America and Mexico. We went many places, parties, dances (cumbias!!!), apartments where people spoke Spanish. It would have been a great opportunity to become more fluent in Spanish, but I was too self-conscious and weary to risk speaking out. I often think about this when I'm with my ESOL class. My students are gutsy. They want to learn, so they take risks, and make mistakes. They ask questions; they are golden.
As for the creepers, they are out there. They feed only on the small and powerless. In my neighborhood, and in yours.