Eyes of Chocolate

By Allison Sass

When working in the "downtown" district of a city, it's likely you'll see some interesting people roaming the streets near your office. Normally, if a pedestrian makes me feel uneasy, I tend to practice the NYC trademarked "avoid eye contact/ walk very fast" maneuver. Honestly, if you look like you're on a misson, who is going to get in your way?

Unfortunately, lots of people.

It's important to use caution when interacting with strangers, we learned this in kindergarten, but it's also important to remember that all contact with pedestrians doesn't have to be scary or threatening. One day, while walking back into my office after a lunch break, I noticed a man sitting in his truck near the self storage business located in the bottom of the building where I work.

I could feel his eyes on me, and decided to perform the classic "I'm on a mission, don't mess with me" walk. Unfortunately, I looked up from the ground too quickly and made eye contact with this fellow. He looked at me, smiled a huge toothless smile, and said "hey sweetie, your eyes look just like morsels of Hershey's dark chocolate, Mmm mmm" while patting his belly.

I couldn't hold it in. I burst out laughing, said an awkward "thank you", and continued to book it towards my building. This little encounter certainly helped me to ease up around strangers, but I still am sure to use precaution.

Remember readers, if you EVER feel threatened while walking to work, you don't have to answer, or even acknowledge, anyone you don't feel comfortable around.  It might be a good idea to place some key contact numbers on your speed dial as well (the police, your place of work, parents). This way, if you are approached in a negative manner all you have to do is push one number on your phone.

Whistles, pepper spray, and hairspray (any girl who has accidentally sprayed herself in the face knows that this HURTS), are a few other essentials you might want to consider carrying with you if you work in a city environment. If you're worried about theft, consider splitting up your cash, credit cards, and other important cards into two different wallets, and leave anything you can at home in a safe place.

Do you have any funny stories about random street encounters, or any tips for our readers on how to feel comfortable around strangers?

1 comment:

  1. I'd recommend looking to see if any gyms or colleges in your local area offer a self-defense class. (I know the RAD system is great and many universities offer it.) Knowing that you're able to defend yourself to the point where you could possibly escape an attack gives you a little more confidence when out in an area where you may not feel comfortable now. Some places even offer a class in kubotan use, which is a six inch plastic rod that you keep on your key chain that can enable you to use your keys as a weapon as need be. Always remember to listen to your gut, if something feels wrong, it probably is.