A few weeks ago something happened that I hadn’t told to anyone except one close friend. I wasn’t even sure how to tell people. I’ll give the short version here:
I was in Amsterdam again after a therapy session and was headed downtown to get something to eat. It was pretty crowded because the weather was good so I was looking for someplace quiet.
While I was walking toward my first choice (Subway, gotta love ‘m) I decided to cut through an alley as it would save me a minute of walking through the mass of people. As I was headed in there though I had this unnerving feeling that I was being followed but shrugged it off as being paranoid. Still, it was a scary feeling so I picked up the pace some and walked around the corner straight unto the next main street filled with people again.
The same shoes I saw in my periphal vision while walking into the alley were still there, getting closer. Still, it is not uncommon for other people to take shortcuts too, right? I mean, I did. That’s when it started getting really creepy because he picked up the pace and started walking next to me. I kept my sight forward and hoped I was just imagining things. Maybe he was just on his way somewhere, just like I was.
Sadly, I wasn’t imagining things because while walking next to me he started talking. He said something along the lines of “Nice tattoos! What do they mean?” and then gave me some obviously made up story of how he is a professional photographer that takes pictures of tattoos. Of course he didn’t even have a camera with him.
He then asked if he could take some pictures of my tats sometime. So I said “I dunno, can I see your credentials?” He then gave me a name I can’t remember and said he was from Italy (he was talking English in a very obvious Dutch accent) and had 7 sisters and 3 brothers. So I asked him what their names were. “Uh….. I… I.. uh.. I don’t see ‘m a lot, you know?”.
I told him he was a liar and I had no interest in him but he didn’t stop. He then said I was right, that he was lying, that he in fact has one sister and that she lives around here and I could always call her and ask her about him. But that she would probably think that was strange.
Once again I told him not to bother me as I have no interest in someone who introduces himself with a pack of lies. You’d think he’d quit there but he actually tried to get me to come along for a drink with him. Uh, no? He kept asking but by the third or fourth time I hit the big square and then he threw his arms into the air, walked off, and shouted something unintelligible at me.
It took a few minutes for me to realize exactly what had happened and what that guy was trying to do. Imagining the things that could have happened made me aware that I had become a walking target for some people. A potential victim. This made me realize I really need to start looking into self defense classes.
This kinda stuff is new to me, and similar things have been happening lately. It is unsettling.
Addendum: I should mention that I was approached again last Friday while I was sitting down on a small brick wall and messing with my cell phone. An older guy sat next to me and just started talking. He seemed genuinely friendly at first but later in the conversation he did want me to come over to his house to which I respectfully declined.