Never too safe

As a New Yorker and public transportation commuter, I find myself at times grazing danger. One time, years ago, I was going home from 42nd Street. I was on a date with my boyfriend to see a play. I don’t recall which play we went to see but I do remember I bought a Hello Kitty picnic basket. The A, C, E train station at 42nd Street is always bustling with people. I don’t think there is ever a downtown; it’s Times Square! That evening when I went to catch my train, I noticed this Chinese guy looking at me with this odd smile. He was young, a couple years older than me. He got on the same car as me. I sat down and he was pacing near me; back and forth, back and forth. He got off the same stop as me and even stood on the same bus line. Under “normal” circumstances, I would not pay much attention to it except make a mental note. But there was something about this Chinese guy… I think he was mentally challenged or something just wasn’t right. I called my friend up and explained to her the crazy dude. She was on the phone with me just in case something should happen. When the bus pulled up, I watched him get on the bus. I waited for the next one. My friend kept me company until I got home safely. That was a little disturbing.

I live in a pretty safe neighborhood; a residential neighborhood in one of the 5 boroughs; the ‘burbs if you will. I usually get off at the stop before the main one as I think it is less walking distance. And even though I live in a relatively safe neighborhood, I don’t take that for granted. I am usually the only one who gets off at that stop and I always turn back to see if anybody is around before I continue walking. If someone else is getting off the same stop with me, I let them walk ahead of me especially if I don’t recognize them or if they don’t seem to live in the neighborhood.

Yesterday evening I came home late. I got off the bus at my usual stop and noticed a man on bike looking through the garbage. He was an old man dressed in shabby clothes. He had a hood on too. I’ve never seen him before and he definitely did not look like someone who lived in the neighborhood. I began to walk and noticed he was biking behind me, not too close but he was following me. I turned the corner and so did he. I don’t know any of neighbors but I knew was did not live on my block. I stopped and turned to face him. He saw that I was looking at him. He peddled around mumbling something unpleasant. He stopped across the street and looked back at me. I was waiting for him to make his move or leave but he didn’t. I didn’t move. Instead, he saw me pull out my cell phone, dialed, and put it to my ear. I wasn’t too far from home so I called home hoping that my brother would pick up. My mom picked up the phone. The old man got on his bike and peddled away. I told my mom I almost home and if she could open the door so I could quickly run home and the old stranger wouldn’t know where I lived. I kept my eye on the corner where he turned into to make sure he didn’t turn back around. He didn’t reappear. I got home safe…(sigh)

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~ by thedailycommuter on Wednesday, April 9, 2008.

 
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