I live in the suburbia, like many of us, in a relatively quiet town where cows still room the neighborhood, in designated areas off course, and the usual suspects, residents, often run into each other in the supermarket.
There are Senators and Mayors amongst the population and by all accounts it seems to be, well, secure. Yeah, but now a days one never knows as I am sure Madoff’s neighbors thought he was all that until he turned out to be a crook.
This is really one of these things that rattle me.
I run to Publix – our newly renovated and refurbished local supermarket after church yesterday to pick up some groceries, when I run into a situation that made me feel like I was on one of the episodes of the ABC show “Primetime: What Would You Do?”.
For those of you not familiar with the show, the series looks at what people will do in sticky situations. It is not about what they will say but what they will do; how they will act in the face of dilemmas testing their character and values. Using hidden cameras, the show sets up everyday scenarios and then captures people’s reactions. It is fair to say that most of those portraying the act are off course actors who are posing to unsuspected people like me but yesterday, to me, it was not an act or entertainment; it was real.
As I picked some fruits and was on my way to the cereal shelf and was going by the fish and meat section when I noticed two man, friends I suppose; bulky like, shanty looking, rusty, unshaved, hard drinker look and liquor smelly (I am not stereotyping this is just the way they look) dudes. One was buying fish while the other waited on the opposite side of the aisle.
The passageway is long enough for three carts; so even though, one of them was just standing there blocking part of it, there is enough space for extra carts to navigate.
I happened to be walking behind two beautiful young girls as they naively strolled by. I say girls (believed to be sisters; they resembled each other) because they could not have been no more then 15, going on 18 and 10 years old respectively.
As the girls appeared on his radar, the guy’s face – the one waiting for his friend – lit up as they approached. He intensely begun to piercingly and starvingly looking at them, as his head followed them each step of the way, as if he wanted to devour them, sexually pleasure himself and could not wait to have the older one on his arms. He was so fixated on the girls that he did not even notice that I was also engrossedly looking at his conduct as he unceremoniously pored over them. Once through with his make-believe voyage, he turned to his partner and they both quipped some off the cuff remarks. I could not hear the exchange frankly not because I could not but because I choose not to hear; I was not interested in learning about their weightless and sickening thoughts.
I know this look; I am familiar with this look; I have seen this look before.
I was so flabbergasted that I could not help but shake my head. I made sure they saw me hoping my action would embarrass them. But that did not work, so I spoke up. I told him that “You know, it was not right what you just did Mr.”
“What”, he replied!
“You know what you were doing; they are just kids!”, I said.
“Oh, they will grow older one day anyway?”, he hastily answered. I swear, I am not kidding; he said that to me.
Wait a minute; did he just say that to me? Did he just shove me down? I was expecting a different answer, like “I apologize madam” or “I was just joking”, something around the realm or not one at all. But to tell me, that they will grow older one day anyway; is he kidding me?
His answer perforated my soul with angst. I was so infuriated that fumes began to annihilate my brain instead of going through my nasals. At that point, to me at least, until he gave me that repugnant answer, it was no longer casual but of sexual intend. They both had “that” smirk in their faces. Granted, the older girl had on short shorts (we live in a tropical climate) and her rear-end resembles that of J-Lo, and the younger girl had on pants but none warranted that behavior.
I felt like confronting the man but decided to walk away instead; I could not afford a scene. I felt like complaining to the management and say what?
Let’s be honest, no one else heard him but me, how could I then justify my battle? They were not doing anything visibly inappropriate; nothing obviously that merited being forceful. It was however, the matter of how he glared at them; it was his response that disturbed me. It may have been the case of “boys will be boys” but nothing justified they not establishing the fact that they were two little girls. It made me pause and I still can’t shake that out.
I was still enraged when I turned left to the next aisle and bared my anger with the first lady I saw. She too could not believe it but had the best choice of words for them – “perverts”, she called them to later “it makes you wonder about people”, she added. Yet, the two of us did not summon enough courage to take that information any further. We both sat on it and went or marry ways. We made our silent noises, murmured around and that was it.
I was exasperated. It is not like he was making a pass at the little girl but he just as well could have. I remember being young once and feeling humiliated by the unflattering behavior when the “guys were being guys”. I know the feeling. It is worth mentioning that I run into the girls a few aisles down; they thanked me but I could not shake the feeling that they did not grasp the depth of the situation.