I went to the park this afternoon. I usually go with my cousins but today I went by myself. There aren’t a lot of people at the park on Saturday evening. I’m guessing most people have other things to do.
I ran my two laps and I was in the parking lot heading for my truck. A man who was walking on the sidewalk crosses into the parking lot and started heading towards me. I turn slightly to the right and continued walking. He’s on my 8 o’clock so I turned my head and made eye contact. He raised his hand and said that he needed some help. He said his car broke down nearby.
I paused and said sorry I can’t help. As I began to walk away I told him there were more people on the other side of the park that could help him. He asked what, but I continued walking and repeated. I finished with a good luck and watched him turn around and walk out of the parking lot.
This was an awkward situation.
I am not a very trusting person but I knew something else was weird. He wore a baggy shirt and baggy pants. He could have been hiding something in his clothes. He was shorter than me but a weapon would equalize things.
The environment wasn’t comfortable either. There was someone in a truck about 5 parking spots to the right of my truck but the guy in there wasn’t looking my way. There was a small baseball game going on about 20 spots away. Those people were rightfully paying attention to the game.
I didn’t want to get caught in an area where I wouldn’t be seen. The truck is big and if I went right for it there would potentially be no one watching once I reached it. That’s why I began walking to the right. I headed for the other truck and the baseball game.
Distance was also really important. When he came too close to me I turned my torso around and established eye contact. He stopped. Then he began to talk. For every step he took toward me, I took a step forward. He was never closer than 10 feet.
I could have been louder and more forceful with my I can’t help you. I probably shouldn’t have suggested he go ask other people. I was still trying to be helpful and so I did those things. I knew it was a potentially dangerous situation, but I still wanted to help. Does that make me a good person?
That event happened over 3 hours ago. Immediately after it my mind wanted to make sure I did the right thing. I wasn’t supposed to help right? It would be irresponsible of me to help right? That lasted a bit more than 30 minutes. It ended when I told my father about the situation and he said yes you aren’t supposed to help. That situation was dangerous.
The following 2 and a half hours have been almost a continuous replay of the situation. The place, the person, the movements, the words, and the reactions have all passed through my mind multiple times. Did I do the right thing? Were my movements right? How were my facial expressions? Should I do similar things next time? Improvements?
The most surprising thing from this experience was how I behaved in the situation. It’s astonishing that I instinctively did what I did. I didn’t consciously do a complicated analysis as I saw the guy begin to walk toward me. It was subconscious. Almost all my actions were subconscious. I only remember making one conscious decision. It was to abort going directly to the truck and to go right towards the other truck and the baseball game. The rest was instinctual.
I am curious to know why I decided to do what I did. I must have thought these were the right decisions but is this because of a story someone told me? Did I see this in a movie? Did I see it on TV? Has it happened to me before? How exactly did I learn this?
Conversation of the Day
Friend: Hey how come our conversation wasn’t yesterday’s conversation of the day?
Me: Because the conversation was just…sexy, not funny.
Friend: It would be if people knew the actual size of your penis.
Me: Now, that is funny. It’s in!