Boricua’s story: “Seems harmless,” but feel crappy. Really crappy.

I actually have two situations that seemed harmless, and perhaps I would be overreacting but I think it keeps me alert and on my toes.

The first incident happened Fall 2010. I usually go to BP, the gas station near my university, before I go home (two hours away). I gave the cashier my money to gas up. He had this really happy look on his face, like way-too-happy-to-be-working-at-a-gas-station look, but I shrugged it off, thinking he was probably one of those people that smiled all the time and were polite. For some reason when I went back to the pump, it wasn’t letting me gas up. I went back in as the cashier for some reason was coming out. I stopped him and he recognized me saying “Yes, sweetheart?” I was taken aback by this but ignored him and explained what happened. He asked me which pump it was and as I turned to point at it, I felt a hand on my shoulder, too weirded out (the man was at least twice my age). He told me to move forward and take a another pump. After I gassed up, I called my then boyfriend and explained what happened. It doesn’t scare me today because he doesn’t work there anymore but it is creepy and made me feel uncomfortable.

The second incident happened last weekend. My boyfriend and I were at the movie theater. After we saw our film, we went to the arcade like always, and I head straight to the Galaga machine. There was a group of teenage boys around the area where the game was but I didn’t pay them any attention. My boyfriend went off to refill our soda and I began to play. Not soon after he left, this kid (and I say kid because I’m nearly twenty and he looked and sounded like he was 13) came up next to the machine and poked his head out to watch the screen as I played. He was blocking my view so I said “Do you mind?” He looked at me and goes “I just wanted to watch. Am I allowed to watch?” He was very cocky and reminded me of guys I went to high school with that had that tone of voice to pick up girls. I ignored him and he went away, talking with his buddies about me.

It came to the challenging stage which if you’ve played, means no enemies shoot at you. I keep the joystick in the middle and just kept pressing the fire button. All of a sudden this kid come back and starts moving the joystick back and forth and messing me up. I grabbed his wrist and passed him away telling him to stop. I wondered why he was acting so rude. As I continued to play, his other friends would be on either side of me and behind me, making comments about me and my purple bunny hat (“Are you going to a sleepover later?) Lame insults but all I could think about is why me? Why are they targetting me when clearly I’m a lot older than them and I definitely wasn’t wearing anything to give me unwanted attention (aside from the hat, which is my favorite hat). All I could say to these kids were “Kids today”.

Luckily my boyfriend came back and I explained to him the situation, loudly so the kids could hear I was talking about them. They soon left.

It makes me angry that kids are acting like that at such an early age. Just because I’m a woman, minding my own business playing an arcade game makes me vulnerable and perfect target? It’s bullshit.