I am 54
And this is so, so bizarre because I didn't even think of it as assault, I thought of it as a pass. Who makes a pass at a middle-aged woman wearing a loose sundress?
It's 8 p.m. on an early August evening. I am walking home from the state fair. It's only three miles and Primo is staying late to help with some political stuff. I could take Primo's car, but I don't like driving his car. I could take the bus, but the next bus isn't for 30 minutes.
It's nice. I have time. I can walk.
It's crowded by the fair, but gets less crowded the further north I go.
As I wait to cross a major street, I see a teenager waiting to cross as well.
Because I am such an Enlightened, Good Person, I make eye contact with him and smile slightly. I acknowledge him because are we not humans together on this planet, bound by common experience?
Am I not Noble, to look a young man in the eye, a stranger?
Am I not Good? Am I not Unlike The Others who ignore strangers?
I am! I am Good! I am Noble! I am Enlightened!
I smile in smug satisfaction at myself as I cross.
Finally, I am alone on the sidewalk.
Which I have been waiting for. I didn't mention it to you, but my underwear has been crawling up my butt.
I know! I know! TMI! TMI!
But it's part of the plot.
I am finally alone, so I reach behind me to make the necessary adjustment.
As I pull my hand away, I still feel a hand on my butt.
And I hear a voice say, "Would you like some help with that?"
I turn and - it's the kid I saw waiting to cross.
He stares at me.
"Stop that!" I order him. "Stop that right now!"
"Go away!" I shoo him with my hand. "Go away! This is completely inappropriate! What would your mother say? She would be ashamed of you."
"I am old enough to be your grandmother!" I tell him.
I have completely missed the point. Completely.
This? This is not about sex or attraction or flirting.
This is about power and men thinking they can do what they want.
I am not concerned, though. I outweigh this kid by a good 20 pounds and he can't be more than 15 or 16.
"Go away," I tell him. "Just turn around and walk away."
I turn and start walking again.
He follows me.
"Oh my gosh. Would you just go away?"
I keep walking, but now I am looking at the houses, thinking maybe I should knock on someone's door.
"Go away or I'm going to call the police," I say.
I turn toward a house and dial 911.
It's a kid following me.
It's not a fire.
I'm not being beaten.
I'm not being robbed.
I'm not being raped.
This? This is not 911.
Yet I call 911.
"I am on the phone with the police!" I tell him. "You need to go away!"
As I am talking to the operator - "I am so sorry to bother you with something so trivial," I ring the doorbell.
The kid keeps following, across the grass.
It is only when a man opens the door that the kid decides to leave.
And all I can focus on as I tell my story to the man and his wife is that wait I am 54 years old why would anyone grab the ass of a 54 year old woman?