The story of how I almost got kissed by a homeless man

by Lesley on May 19, 2010 · 11 comments

in lessons learned

They say I am either naive, or “too nice.” But this time, really, it’s a different story. This time, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or, I was in the right place at the right time…depending on how you want to look at it.

I missed the bus on Monday morning. This is a frequent occurrence, and a downside of public transportation. I never miss the bus by much–usually I’m (quite literally) chasing it’s tail as it putters away . Surprisingly, I kept my cool this time instead of throwing a mini tantrum. If I’ve made my semi-urban life look attractive in past blog posts, this is when you’ll capture a real glimpse into the not so fairy tale kind of days.

Missing the bus gave me about 20 minutes to spare before the next one came. I decided to get some exercise by walking to the Alhambra stop, which I figured would also save me a dollar or so in fare. I am so thrifty.

When I approached the station, I realized this was a stop where many homeless people usually gather. While I’m not scared of people who live on the streets, I’m not necessarily comfortable around them either. Many of the homeless people in our area have mental issues that often make interactions unusual. After my last experience chatting with a stranger at the bus stop, many friends told me I was “too nice.” This time, I told myself, I would be guarded.

When I sat down at the  bus stop, I ignored the disheveled woman at the end of the bench. Very quickly a man sat down next to me who asked lots of questions. Ignore? Engage? Be rude? Be friendly? So many decisions for a Monday morning. When it came down to it, I was more guarded than usual, but still kind to him. I think that’s what He asks of us, and I wanted to obey.

But, I didn’t want to be kissed. Which is what almost happened. A homeless man tried to kiss me. And when I said “NO YOU CANNOT KISS ME!” he asked why not? And when I explained why not, in a calm but stern voice, he moved in closer. And when I jumped up, he touched my butt in the most creepy and scary way. And that, my friends, is when I pulled out the finger…not the middle finger…but the stern, mom-like pointer finger. Confidence and anger mixed together like I’d never experienced before. “Look at me! Look me in the eye,” I shouted. When he finally did, I told him to never, EVER, EVER try anything like that ever again with me or anyone. I threatened calling the police. I may have used the word “inappropriate.” Oh gosh…I probably looked like a lunatic to anyone passing by.

“I better go,” he whispered.

“Yes,” I said. “You’d better.”

That’s when he walked out in the street in front of a moving car. He didn’t get hit, but traffic had to stop before he ran to the other side. I realized how confused he looked. He wasn’t healthy.

I walked over to the woman who sat at the end of the bench. I felt a connection to her like I hadn’t earlier. I was going to hop on a bus, and walk away from any danger on the streets. She was up against men like this all the time.

“Are you scared?” I asked.

“Sometimes,” she said.

I didn’t get her name before leaving, but I’ve thought about her a lot since then. For a short moment, I felt a connection to her as a woman that I hadn’t experienced before. I felt the weight she carries, and also the strength she must have to get by.

I am so proud that I didn’t crumple when I needed to stand tall. I hope she continues to stand tall, too.

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10 comments
Tawny
Tawny

I JUST read this and oh my goodness we are so much alike! Love your writing style and your stories!!!

Lesley Miller
Lesley Miller

Thank you all for your comments. I look at the window for creepy guy each day on my bus ride. So far, there have been no sightings. I'd like to think he is still cowering in a corner somewhere, afraid that I might come after him shaking my finger. Katie- I'm pretty sure your situation was worse. At least homeless dude and I only spent 5 minutes together. Four hours?! ugh.

Kristen
Kristen

You need "flash cards!" I had a friend that would remind me to "pull out my flash cards" before entering certain situations. This would be one of them for you! :) I also heard a guy say once, something like, all men are creeps in various stages of creepiness! Stay safe out there!

Tammy Powell
Tammy Powell

As good as this blog post is, the story was even better in person! Thanks again for going to Thai with us Monday :) looking forward to seeing you and Jonathan again soon

Dianne LaBarbera
Dianne LaBarbera

Wow, Lesley, you did good! Tawny could probably share some similar stories from the time she rode the Modesto City bus to the Junior College before she got her first car. Not quite the close call you talked about but she always felt violated just by the looks she'd get. Thank God for His presence every second!

Ann Sebek
Ann Sebek

I love the "stern, mom-like pointer finger" phrase! Yippeee, you let him have it! Just watch out for him hanging around in the same location. He'll probably be watching for you, and you can give him the pointer finger again as a reminder for him to keep his distance. What a sick man! Sad. I read your Vienna sausage post again and laughed my head off. You are too nice to strangers!

jeff sebek
jeff sebek

A father's nightmare is not being able to protect his child. I realize that dads can't be there to protect their little girls through all of life's journey's. Still, it is scary and painful to hear about what happened to you. I'm proud of how you handled yourself. Sadly and certainly not always, too much compassion directed at the wrong person or situation, can have bad and even dire consequences. I'm sorry that such a caring person like yourself was reminded that not everyone has a pure heart like you.

Katie
Katie

I had the EXACT same thing happen to me on a horrible, no good, very bad blind date (well, except the guy was not homeless and I had to suffer for at least 4 hours before the climax). New rule for anyone who has, or ever will, initiate a kiss: If the person you are trying to kiss says "NO!", count your losses and let it go. Under no circumstance (homeless or not) may you try to debate them into it by asking their reasons. Chalk it up to "lack of chemistry" and save what is left of your dignity.

Kelly
Kelly

And for the 50th time, I promise to spell your name the correct way - Lesley. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Kelly
Kelly

Amazing blog, Leslie. I imagine if someone tried to kiss me, I would react with much less class. Haha.

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  1. […] my bike for the bus. The bus presents another host of issues to navigate: Vienna sausage dude and scary homeless man. Constantly saving quarters and dollar bills. Borrowing change from my boss when I forget quarters. […]