Opening Lines

I was grocery shopping yesterday evening and about to approach the butcher stand in the supermarket when a man approached me from behind. He said: “You walk like Aborigines.” And he went on demonstrating how I walked. I said to him: “Because maybe I am.” He said: “I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure you’re a Filipino.” “How can you be sure?” I asked. He told me it’s the strong contours of my face that betrayed my ethnic origin. Okay then I said and walked away.

He approached me again at the vegetables stand asking how long I’ve been living in the country. I said to him almost thirty years. He (deliberately) misheard what I said to maybe prolong the conversation. Thirteen? He asked. No, I said. I live here 29 years. “Then you must be fully integrated and established already.” “Yes I am.” I confirmed and left.

I thought that was the end of it but he kept following me around. At the dairy aisle D. noticed him looking at me like (his own words) he is raping and ravishing me in his mind. I had no choice but to relate to D. what had occurred at the butcher counter and to my surprise D. reacted quite the opposite of what I used to expect from him. He was furious! And started walking towards the guy who seemed to be waiting for just that to happen. I grabbed D.s arm in time and marched him to the opposite direction away from the man but he kept struggling out my grip saying he just wanted to talk to the guy, ask him what’s wrong. I said to D. Not all war is worth fighting for. He has to learn to recognize a hopeless situation when he sees one. I told him to look at that person and say to me honestly if he’s really worth the trouble.

The guy must be around forty, overweight, wearing a 3/4th and a t-shirt which is too small for his size, and clogs on his feet. He can use a shower too. And to top it all he was shopping with his mother. By the look of it, he still living at home. Plus he can beat D. to a pulp in a second. His forearm is the size of D’s leg. I don’t see any use of getting in a row with this type of people. Avoiding them (until you can’t anymore) is the best thing to do. I can imagine he is frustrated with his life and looking for some diversion and I happened to be in his path and think I was an easy prey. He must have watched some of those documentaries about us and believe them with all his heart. He reminds me of a woman I encountered by the pool last week in Menorca. She said her son is thirty five years old, single and still living at home. She wants to send him to my country so he can fetch a wife in no time. I didn’t correct her misplaced (insulting and generalized) assumption because trying to educate one track narrow minded stupid people is a losing battle. It is a waste of time and energy.

I managed to keep D away from the guy and bought him some sweet pastry to calm his nerves (joke) and came home without nasty incidents. I have no idea what prompted the guy to approach me and what was the reason behind his actions. All I know is that episode added to my long list of reasons why I want to be an island. Away from everyone. Self- sufficient and free.