I love me some suburbia. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a recluse, so I find noise, traffic, and people to be very annoying.
It’s part of my job to visit high schools, and for the most part, I don’t get to choose which ones. So inevitably, I’ll find myself in downtown Toronto at some point during the recruiting season. I grin and bear it, obviously, or I’d be jobless, but this is a classic example of why I, a magnet for strange and impossible circumstances, wouldn’t survive living in the big city.
I arrived downtown early before one of my school visits and was starving. I finally found a place to park (because finding an actual parking lot at a high school in downtown Toronto is like finding candy still in the package at my house) and took a stroll around the school looking for places to eat. Pizza Pizza was the only place nearby that would be quick, so I went in.
It had just opened for lunch, so I was the only customer in the restaurant. After I got my meal, I sat next to the storefront window so I could watch the traffic and passers-by while I ate. I like people when there is at least a pane of glass between us.
A couple of bites into my pizza, I was startled by a loud bang on the window. I came face-to-face with a man staring into my soul. If there wasn’t a window, we’d be close enough to kiss (yes, it’s been a while, but trust me, I wasn’t tempted). He looked right into my eyes, stuck his finger in his mouth and moved it back and forth in a very perverted way.
Note: I wasn’t even in a sketchy area. How do these people find me?!
Naturally, this obscene gesture not only made me feel violated, but it scared the shit out of me too. I was pretty far from the counter where the Pizza Pizza employees were, and this guy could very easily just walk in the door next to me. I figured the best big city way to get rid of him was to be assertive. I gave him my best “I’m a local and I deal with this shit all the time” angry look, mouthed something to the effect of “fuck off,” then turned my head away from him and continued eating my pizza. No big deal. Meanwhile, my heart was racing. He stood there for a moment, still staring, then I heard him say through the window, “Well, that was rude,” while he slowly sauntered away.
That’s when I realized he wasn’t making a lewd gesture.
He was asking for food.
In my defence, he was missing his front teeth, which made the gesture seem that much more perverse as he moved his finger in and out of the hole.
And lends to the fact that he was probably homeless.