This morning I was not in a particularly good mood. Last night I didn't get home from work until roughly ten minutes before The Daily Show came on. And as I tried to get back to work today (for reasons that baffle me), the 9:05 train just never showed up; the 9:15 arrived on schedule, but that wasn't the one I should have caught.
Finally I got downtown and walked up the street from the station to the office. While in a crosswalk, I noticed coming the opposite direction two women with a man next to one of them, leaning his head and looking vaguely toward her, as though in something of a conversation.
As I passed, the woman broke off from the man and reversed direction to now be in step with me.
A 6'3" white guy in a medium blue striped shirt and navy slacks.
She started talking to me, even though I had not looked at her. "Is it okay if I walk with you?" she asked.
"I'm just walking this way. I really don't care what you do." (Bear in mind: Not in a good mood to start with.) I did not turn my head at any point while saying this, nor did I break stride.
She continued to explain: "I'm being harassed." (I suspect she meant she had been being harassed.)
"Then you should just talk back to him," I offered, my head still facing forward without swiveling to look at her. "He won't know what to do with that."
At this point she muttered something that, although I couldn't discern it, the tone of her voice implied I had bestowed her with an idea that had never occurred to her, and she broke off (or at least she disappeared from my peripheral vision), and I presume she resumed her original direction.
Before you judge me harshly for responding in what could be interpreted as a cold tone, I point out the implication of her action: I would defend her from this guy. Sure, she figured merely talking to me would scare him off without altercation, but she had no right to drag me, a total stranger, into a situation she had no idea how it would play out.
Moreover, how did she know I wasn't even more dangerous than the man she sought to lose? Strikes me as hideously presumptuous.
And as I suggested, she should be able to ward off such individuals herself. That's why those types seek her out; she projects fear, and they sense that. Frankly, I think I helped her more than she deserved.
Moreover, she needs to learn to stop harassing passers-by who aren't interested in hearing about her lack of self-reliance.