Only in San Francisco:
About two weeks ago, I was walking down Market Street from school to the train station. Part of this walk takes me through the rough edges of the 'Loin, but during the middle of the day, the worst you really have to put up with is a few panhandlers here and there and the overpowering smell of urine.
So there I was, walking along plugged into my iPod, when a guy walking next to me starts to kind of skip and bob about on the sidewalk. Not obviously a crazed soul: jeans, tshirt, somewhat well-kept. Frankly, I just pegged him for some sort of free soul, performance artist type. The moves he was doing were kind of cool actually. They reminded me of a low-key version of capoiera
. Either that, or the spastic dancing of Michael Palin as the leper in "The Life of Brian". To each their own.
After a few minutes of this, he sort of shuffle spins up next to me and puts out his hand for money, to which I shook my head no and kept walking. He sort of spun off, weaving around some of the other pedestians. Then the weirdo started basically dancing into me, or close enough that I had to keep moving over, until I'd been pushed off course by about 6 feet. Finally I just stopped and let him dance ahead of me and leave me alone.
I got to the corner and was waiting for the light to change when *WHAM!* Something crashed into my ass! I turned around to see what had happened, expecting some appologetic soul to be there, but what I saw was our friendly neighborhood weirdo, spinning away again and looking at me to gauge my reaction! The fucker came up and literally kicked me in the ass! What. The. FUCK?!? And as I stood there with my mouth agape, do you know what he did? I will be goddamned if he did not get about 10 feet away, pivot oh so gracefully on one foot before charging at me again! Oh yeah! He got to within about 4 feet of me before I realized he was not gonna stop and then, I pulled out the big guns.
I used my mom voice. No lie. I shot him my biggest and angriest "What-in-the-fuck-do-you-think-you-are-doing?" look and barked out "HEY!" as loudly as I could.
It was as if he had encountered a physical obstacle. He sudenly veered off in a bobbing, weaving lope down the sidewalk in the other direction, never pausing, never saying a word, never making any eye contact. I stood there angrily, before suddenly being overwhelmed with the sensation that *I* had just made a fool of *myself* and that surely I must've done something to bring this onto myself. I daresay I got a little post-adrenaline trembly-like too. Not entirely pleasant.
I did manage to talk myself out of it fairly quicky, and continued on to the station, but boy, was that just about one of the weirdest City experiences I've ever had.
Actually, I think that ranks right up there with the time some other whacked-out guy was following me - literally trailing me - around the Library and City Hall area. I wasn't sure this guy was really following me, but I'd ducked into a restaurant just in case. He kept walking past the window, so I figured I'd just been imagining it. I had lunch there, and strolled out with my leftovers in a bag when, yep, there he was sitting outside the door waiting for me. I decided to head over to City Hall, because there's always a cop standing on the front steps, and I was seriously getting freaked out.
Again, there I was, standing on a corner waiting for the light to change, when I feel my skirt being lifted up from behind! I whipped my arm around - conveniently the one withthe leftovers - and nailed the guy in the head as he was bent down nearly to my knees. I hit him so hard, I nearly broke his glasses, and I bet that's the first time in recorded history a styrofoam box left a bruise on someone's face. Same thing, too -- he just calmly adjusted his glasses, straightened up from his crouch, and strolled away like nothing had happened. Same weird self-concious feeling of guilt too, like I'd done something wrong. Got to work on that.
Wait a second -- I'm noticing a trend here. I have the ass crazed homeless men can only DREAM about! Whoo ho--wait, that's a bad thing....