I'm a pretty careful person, you guys. If I'm walking alone at night, especially in Cambridge or Boston, I make damn sure to scan the surrounding area, walk purposefully, and actively think about what I could use as a weapon if the need arose (keys, high heels, purse, hot coffee, etc.).
However, sometimes creepy situations come out of nowhere. The other night, I was accidentally way too early for a lesson with a student: I got our meeting time mixed up & realized I was there an hour early! No biggie, I thought, I'm near Concord center & I can grab a coffee at the coffee shop where I used to work.
That, of course, took all of five minutes & I was left with lots of time to kill. So I started wandering up Thoreau St. from the coffee shop, heading towards Concord center. My dream is to one day live in a big, old, more-expensive-than-I-can-afford-now house within walking distance of the commuter rail station there & take the train every day to a great job in fun, hip Cambridge. A girl can dream, right? ;)
As I walked past the commuter rail station (opposite side of the street), I saw a guy sitting on the low wall. He was probably in his early 40's, short, and greasy-haired. He was wearing a nylon track suit & looked kind of scruffy. Hmm, I thought, he's a shady character.
However, I tried not to be judgmental & was quickly absorbed by the sight of the cute little houses along my walk. I meandered along - checking out front yards & porches and daydreaming. At the end of the street, I turned right onto a wide road & headed towards the gift shops about a hundred yards further down. It was a typical Concord road: well-marked crosswalks, neat gravel sidewalk, and large, well-tended lawns leading up to beautiful homes.
All of a sudden, I got a weird feeling. I glanced back & the creepy guy had left his perch by the station & was about twenty yards behind me. I turned around quickly & hastened my step. I tightened my grip on my purse & coffee cup and thought to myself, "I will throw this hot coffee right in his eyes, don't think I won't. And then I will run. Very fast. I wasn't a track star for nothing, you know!"
After another quick look backwards, during which I determined that he was still there & maybe even a little closer (I wasn't completely sure - I was a little freaked out by this point), I decided to cut my trip short. At the next crosswalk, I crossed the road & started walking back to where I'd parked via the opposite side of the road. Just when I thought I'd been acting silly & started to breathe a sigh of relief, I heard him yell, "Nice round trip, huh, gorgeous?"
After I finished cringing, a glance back determined that he had crossed the road behind me, but mercifully, after tossing that comment at my retreating back, headed in the opposite direction. Shudder. It's times like these that remind me how vulnerable women are sometimes & how very angry that makes me. However, once I knew that I was safe, I thought, "I am so blogging about this."
(Also, Jason, I blame you b/c it's your town.)