That’s what I’m calling the middle-aged man watching me at the park this afternoon.
I like to go to my local park down the street to run laps (and run away from dogs), as well as work on my basketball fundamentals on the court. While trotting through the grass, I noticed this gentleman on a park bench, just sitting there with his sunglasses, cowboy hat, black clothing, full mustache, and a stick that I’m sure he claimed as his walking companion. I remembered him because he looked like a stouter version of Lee Van Cleef from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
After getting through my iPod playlist, that was my key to freedom. I happily walked to my car to replenish myself with water and grab my basketball. There was a half court open just for me. Some dudes without shirts were playing half-naked on one side (how does it work if everyone’s skins? Hey, but I’m not one to complain about that), rowdy kids goofing around on another, and a competitive couple north of me. This open spot was so meant for me, as the only category left I guess: single, dorky looking Asian-American woman in active pants and foggy glasses ready to hit the blacktop. Non-wealthy baller status.
As I start shooting around and pretending there’s a shot clock to put the pressure on myself, creepy mustache dude comes toward my court and parks himself a foot from the basketball hoop. And there he is, just crouching with one knee up, and watching me. I paused for a half second, and kept doing my thing.
My natural response usually is to either assume the best in people, or be on the other extreme of being super suspicious of them. It’s my dramatic ENFP nature. After five minutes, I was definitely on the latter. This was just too friggin’ weird. Basketball isn’t a sport where you’re just sitting around. I’m running, jumping, shooting, rebounding–lots of body movement that I’m not sure I want Lee Van Cleef’s doppelgänger seeing. I’m not his muse, the niece to his King Herod, or the Jamie Lee Curtis to Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies. I’m not putting on some awkwardly pleasurable show for you man. Go find your jollies elsewhere.
I had to leave, so I dribbled the ball off the court and gave him a death stare. He watched me the whole way and was quite unaffected by it.
It’s not fair that I can’t exercise at the park alone without feeling threatened or slightly violated. But I’ll get over it and be sure to take self-defense classes soon.
This is Amy signing off for June 4th, 2012.