Thursday, May 24, 2007

CreepyManAtThePool-make yourself comfy, this is long. BUT if you skip it because of how long it is, it won't hurt my feelings I promise

Today I worked out in the neighborhood fitness room for the first time since CreepyManAtThePool scared me. If you've known me for awhile or read the post I wrote about all the things that scare me, you'd be really proud of me because it took a lot for me to go there by myself again. The fitness room is next to the pool and nothing scary happened to me in there but it's a small room attached to the condo office with only one entrance and even though it's full of windows, no one can see in or out because of all the bushes. I've never been attacked before but somehow, in too many moments of my life I've found myself in strange or dangerous situations that have led me to believe that 75% of people around me are psych ward escapees. Well, ok , maybe 80%.
I rode my bike a couple miles yesterday just because I was feeling too wimpy to go to the fitness room, lest I run into CreepyMan again and even then, I pedalled really fast going past the woody area just in case CreepyMan has some ilk hanging around in the trees! It sounds so irrational I know it, but somehow I attract all the people in the world who have strange behavioral problems. I make fun of it now but I'm not sure I'll ever get over my fears of strange men.
I can(and eventually I will in this blog) tell about all the weird scary people who have tried to make friends with me but today I just want to talk about CreepyManAtThePool. I still remember being a little kid when poor Adam Walsh was abducted and it was all over the news. I remember after that, every year, there were always school discussions about keeping yourself safe and listening to your intuition and it really affected me. Maybe that's why I'm scared of my own shadow but at the same time, I'm glad I was taught how to protect myself. I hope they still talk to children about this today when they need it even more.
But anyway, back to CreepyMan. It was about 6:30ish pm and I wanted to exercise in the pool. It was last August and the sun was still up so I felt ok by myself. When I arrived there was a 30something man swimming laps and I went into the shallow end to power walk. Another older man probably in his 50s came into the pool area and was sort of walking back and forth from the hot tub to the pool but not getting in either. I know now that he was waiting for the guy swimming laps to leave. The only way I can describe the way he was acting was, he was lurking. When the guy swimming laps got out of the pool and left, I remember thinking to myself that maybe I should go too because I was already feeling uncomfortable by the way CreepyMan was acting. But I thought to myself, Oh you're just being paranoid again, so I finished my work out. When I was ready to leave, I had to swim to the other end of the pool because that's where my towel and the exit were. I even remember being under water and already having a feeling that Creepy was going to say something to me as soon as I popped up. When I did pop my head up, he was standing over me and asked me if I had a cell phone-(ok I know this sounds like a general question but it could also be something he wanted to know in case he had plans that didn't involve me calling for help). I didn't. For a split second,inside I panicked, but then I just pretended like I didn't know if I had one or not because: 1. I didn't want him to know I didn't have a cell phone with me and 2. I wanted to get to my towel and keys because they were close to the exit. When I got out of the pool he stood in such a way as to block my exit but I had enough room to walk over to my things and quickly put on my towel. I have to add that he was very tall and not muscly but big. I still remember thinking that if he tried to grab me I would be able to out swim him in the pool but if he was blocking my way out,there's no way I could fight him away unless I could somehow jump over the gate into the alligator infested lake(!) to get away from him. This is all that was going on in my head-how to get out. So I continued to pretend like I was looking for my phone at the same time, inch by inch, trying to walk around him to the exit. He kept saying,"I really need a phone, there's an emergency at my work." I picked out my keys, the only thing I could think of to possibly use if I had to and finally said, "oh looks like I didn't bring it with me," and ran to the gate to leave. I know you're not supposed to go straight home but I was so afraid, that was all I wanted to do.
I could have easily been misinterpreting the situation because if someone was to say to me, "A guy at the pool asked to borrow my cell phone," I wouldn't think anything of it. But the way everything happened and the fact that I have a good intuition for people convinces me that I was right to feel the way I did. Plus the pool is less than a two minute walk away from any building in the development(and only people who live here are allowed to use the pool) so if he really did need a phone that badly, he could very easily just walk home for one(if he lived here) so why ask me? And why not ask the guy that was there earlier swimming laps?
I told a couple of my neighbors what happened and they both told me that on separate occasions some strange guy had 'accidentally' dropped his shorts in front of them. None of us have seen him again, but that's why I'm scared to go to the pool by myself or to the fitness room. Maybe I am just overly paranoid but still, I'd rather be safe.


super des said...

That's definitely fishy. You should take one of those self defense classes where they teach you how to kill a guy with one move. (I learned those in regular karate and it's excellent.)

I'm going to send you an email.

flutter said...

That is creepy. I have been attacked and the very best thing to do is trust your instincts. I agree with Des, take a class on self defense

SUEB0B said...

Suebobian PSA:

You have instincts for a reason. DO NOT MINIMIZE. The first thing I learned in self-defense is to get out of situations where it feels weird BEFORE it has time to escalate to something physical.

I have gotten off elevators when someone fishy got on, stopped and turned around and stared at people, veered away from people - I don't care if people think I am weird as hell. My first job is to take care of myself.

thailandchani said...

It sounds like your instincts were right..

I agree with a self-defense class. Particularly for someone with a small build like yours.. it's essential.



Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Not paranoid. Does the pool not have staff around? It’s sounds as if some sort of security may have been needed.