Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So ... this just happened

I live at the end of a cul-de-sac, so random vehicles routinely take the wrong street and have to turn around. Tonight, when I was out in my driveway doing dog training with Pippi (looking super hot in my after-work ponytail and Home Depot nail apron full of dog treats), I idly noticed a white Dodge pickup truck turning around while I was trying to keep Pips out of the street and in her sitting position.

What is not routine, however, is that they stop. I turned around to find guy in the white Dodge saying "hey" and beckoning me over. I assumed he was lost and was asking for directions. (In the age of smartphones, what sort of ninny assumes people are stopping to ask for directions? This sort, apparently.)

I go over and he asks if I work at Home Depot. You know, because I'm wearing the apron. I said no, I'm dog training and the apron is to hold the treats. Then he asked another question that sort of got lost in the wind of the coming storm, so I leaned over a little more to hear him.

"Are you seeing anyone?"

For about one second, half a dozen thoughts flashed through my mind. "Yes." "I don't want him to know I live alone." "What is happening here?" "I do not understand what is happening here."

I fumbled out with, "I don't want to keep having this conversation," which elicited what maybe he thought was a flirty laugh, at which point I turned around and grabbed Pippi, thankful for a 50-pound dog with a Cujo bark, even if she does have a Scooby-Doo personality.

So tell me, folks -- is this normal? Is this how men pick up women now? Does possibly working for Home Depot say something about my availability or approachability? In my old age, is my youthful go-to-hell aura going all saggy? You hear about this kind of thing happening, you're just never ready when it comes.

But in all seriousness, the whole thing made me very uncomfortable. It takes a lot of bravado/idiocy/drunkenness/creepiness to just pull over by some random woman and ask if she's seeing someone, right? Or am I overreacting? To say I am rusty in the flirting/relationship department would imply that I was once good at it, so please tell me if I'm overreacting.

Probably he's just an opportunistic creeper, a PG version of the misdemeanor sex offender from Budapest, who, when told no, just went on his way to creep somebody else out. But if he's not, he knows where I live, and I'm guessing my evasive answer didn't lead him toward the assumption that I share my home with a big, burly man of whom he should be scared. Now a small part of me feels less safe than I did a couple of hours ago, and that makes me mad. I shouldn't have to feel unsafe because some dude has a thing for women in Home Depot aprons.

This is my tiny little #YesAllWomen contribution. I have fortunately avoided awkward bar conversations that had to be ended carefully without offending some potentially dangerous d-bag, having to tell some guy I had a boyfriend because "I'm not interested," isn't a good enough reason for him to go away or been frequently catcalled walking down the street. (The perks of living in Lubbock.) No, I've only had the normal experiences: trying to figure out where I am when I have a male cab driver, worrying about using a park bathroom during my pre-sunrise run when a man is using the bathroom, wondering how I'm going to get out of an underground museum with only one entrance when it's just me and a man if he turns out to be less than stellar. And I hate it -- first, because most men aren't creepers and this mentality unfairly casts aspersions on them, and second, because I'm already afraid of failure and dead people coming back to life. I shouldn't have to be afraid to be in my driveway.

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