Sunday, March 17, 2013

How To Succeed In Molestation Without Really Trying

A friend once told me a story about when she was backpacking in Europe. She met a girl whose boyfriend had been murdered. When my friend was told the story of the devastating incident, she burst into peals of laughter. This may sound horrendous, but I can totally relate, as I have NO IDEA how to act in awkward situations. Generally, I cast aside all simple, sensible and obvious reactions and respond in the worst way possible – as was the case one day on the way home from university.

I hopped onto the bus, eager to get home and not do any of my assignments. I sat in my favourite seat, immediately behind the back door of the bus. I like this seat because it has a Perspex partition directly in front of it in which I can admire myself and I am also able to check out the people behind me. Sometimes this is directly above the motor of the bus which means there is a warm little platform on the floor –a total coup for me, because my feet never reach the ground. When I am in my favourite bus seat they do, and I feel like a normal sized person. So on this fateful day I sat down, rested my head on the window with my hand, palm up, on the seat beside me. This was peak hour and at the very next stop a large group of people boarded the bus. A business woman came to sit beside me in the empty seat. Before I knew what had happened she had plonked herself down.

Onto my hand.

I am that incredibly awkward that I said nothing. I was so paralysed by the feeling of her arse being cupped by my hand that I didn’t immediately pull it away either. I sat there unsure what to do for a whole minute. Meanwhile, she was completely oblivious to the whole “me-molesting-her” situation. And you know once a minute has passed, you change from being an innocent girl with your hand on the spare seat to some incredibly creepy letch who has let this woman sit on your hand for a minute without saying anything. Because it’s not like you’ve been sitting there completely unaware that you are feeling up a stranger. In my mind’s eye I could see her recoiling in horror as I withdrew my hand from below her derriere. So I made no movement at all and remained in the same position with my head against the window, hoping my eyes would not betray me to my new companion.

As the bus made its way along the 470 route, dropping off passengers, I began to hope she would move into one of the newly empty seats and this problem would be solved; no harm, no foul. Even in the depths of my dilemma though, this was conflicting for me. I never know if it is rude to leave the person you have been sharing a seat with. I usually feel a little offended when people launch themselves at the nearest free seat as soon as it becomes available, suggesting that sitting beside me was anything less than a pleasure. But on this day I silently told Business Lady that I would not be offended at all if she wanted to stretch out, sit nearer the front or just have room for her bag to sit beside her. But alas, she didn’t move.

As my stop approached, my concern grew. What if she went all the way to the end of the line? Would I forever be captive to her bottom? Or worse, what if I was discovered and she told the bus driver? Would I be banned from the bus forever? I watched with bated breath as we pulled into my stop. No movement. Four stops later she finally relinquished her hold on my hand and alighted. She was never aware of what had transpired between us. I waited until the next stop before I finally got off (I didn’t want to look like I was following her) and walked the kilometre or so home. My hand felt weirdly warm for most of that walk and I washed it for a good ten minutes when I got in. Trying to cleanse myself of the whole incident more than anything else.

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