All of us have that little bubble called our personal space – the invisible protective shield against the outside the world. Whether you’re in a bookstore, mall, or standing in line at the grocery, that bubble is always around you.
While browsing at the Glendale Border’s bookstore last night with my husband, I went over to the English literature section – just lookin’ around for something interesting. A little signal went on in my brain telling me that somehow somebody or something was watching me. I look around nonchalantly and I began to notice this guy – probably in his mid to late 30s, nerdy-looking, wearing a gray cotton shirt, white shorts, and a white cap started staring at me and smiling from the bench where he was seating. You could say it was about a 5 to 8 feet distance between us. For a second, I thought perhaps he’s focusing on somebody else, so I make nothing of it and ignore it.
Minutes later, I end up in the cooking section, and he’s right there! I turn my back and he’s like right behind me (excuse, the Valley-girl talk). Now, I’m thinking sexual predator/female stalker/weirdo is following me in a bookstore – what did I do or wear to attract such unwanted attention?
Guess what he says when he’s right across from me? He smilingly asks, “is there anything good here?” In my mind, I’m saying “everything was good up until you came and freaked me out – you fu***&&* weirdo!” My mommy told me when I was young to never talk to strangers, and I’m not about to do that right at this very moment! Get the hell out of my way! Seriously, I am just freaked out right now and my heart is flip-flopping and I’m looking around the store for my husband.
Creepy. Yes. Am I flattered or freaked out? Hell, of course, I’m freaked out. Would I have been flattered if he looked anything different and it were to happen in a different setting like a college-bookstore, and the guy looked like a Johnny Depp, or Keanu Reeves, perhaps that would have been different. I left the bookstore thinking that night about one thing: even though I was wearing a wedding ring, dressed like crap, wore no makeup, and had completely limp hair, what attracted that weirdo to me left me puzzled and annoyed at the same time.