Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You still win. You made him run.

I like to write. And though I'll eventually write something more polished about what happened to me this weekend, I want to get it down now in case this creep is still lurking.

On Friday, April 15, I took the day off and took myself to a movie. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been to the movies alone and it just sounded good. I love solitude, but I rarely seek it outside my own home. Now I remember why.

I was about an hour into "Source Code" when a man came up into my row and sat two seats to my left. My heart immediately started thumping. I'm not usually immediately intimidated by unknown men but my body knew something was up. He had not been sitting in the theater earlier (there were only about 10 of us in there) and I was the only lone female. As I tried to relax and focus on the movie, I caught the telltale signs of what my body had already predicted. I heard him unzip his pants, saw him pull his jacket into his lap, and heard the rhythmic brushing of his hand against the material of his jacket. I started to think about the kind of person I am - the kind of person I've always been. I'm quiet, keep to myself, and never call people out in public. I know - have always known - that I'm the exact kind of woman these guys look for. I'm polite. I'd decided I didn't care what this guy, or anyone in the theater, thought of me. I reached into my purse and got my phone. The man stopped moving his hands and brought them out from under his jacket, folding them in his lap and pretending to watch the movie. I knew this wouldn't be the end of it, and I'd already missed crucial plot points, so I turned my phone on and got ready to take his picture. He zipped up, but only partially, and ran. He was holding onto his pants with one hand while he ran out. I sat for a moment, and then ran after him, leaving my coat and purse in the theater. I chased him into a theater across the hall, and this is where I made my mistake: I went down the hall to get security. Had I stayed there, someone would have come along eventually, and he'd have been trapped in there, easy for me to identify. But when I came back with security, it was clear he'd either made his way into another theater or slipped out the back exit. I sat in the lobby of the theater for the next hour, praying to see him walk out. I was going to follow him down the sidewalk with my cameraphone on the video setting.

But I never saw him. Still angry, I called the cops to give a description. He was older - late 50's or early 60's, white, heavy-set, balding but with some greyish / white hair, glasses, a grey/beige sweatshirt and jeans. One of the officers asked if the man appeared to be mentally impaired, and I was humbled a bit. There are truly sick people out there - people we should be helping - and it's possible this man is one of them. But I can still be angry if that's the case, because men who are that ill should NOT be left in theaters unattended. What if this was summer and he'd done that to a young girl? Since I can't know whether or not he's clinically ill, I can only do what is well within my right, and say something - make him aware that his behavior is wrong and hurtful. I was still kicking myself for not getting his picture when my best friend said, "You still win. You made him run."

~Submitted by Kelly K