Sunday, March 18, 2012

Street Smarts

I Chose to Trust My Intuition, Would You?
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The other day, I decided to visit the Bronx Zoo with a good friend of mine. It would become my first visit ever, and I was looking forward to spending this gorgeous early spring day outdoors.

I took the train from Brooklyn and prepared myself for the hour long ride with a great book. I ended up arriving at my stop a while before my friend got there. Luckily, there was a small plaza with benches and I decided to sit down on an empty bench to dedicate myself to the page turner I had brought with me, again.

Then, something awkward happened.

The benches – there were about six of them – were not all occupied. There must have been about three benches that no one was sitting on. But this teenage girl decided to sit right next to me.

Why had she chosen to sit next to me instead of one of the completely unoccupied benches?

Nevermind I thought, and read on in my book. Then, the second awkward thing happened. The young looking girl lit a cigarette, or something that looked like a small cigar. It seemed strange, because she looked like she was only 16 (maybe a little older). She finished her smoke, and then quickly jumped up, making the bench jerk since it was loose, giving me the sensation as if I was about to fall off for a second.

She rushed off, and I felt relived that she was gone, had her sitting right beside me given me a strange sense of 'something is off.'

I did not see where the girl was headed exactly, so the more it surprised me when she ended up exactly where she sat before – next to me for a second time. But this time, she scoots closer.

"Excuse me, I think I got off at the wrong stop, so I need to call my brother to make sure I'm at the right stop. Can I use your phone?"

I realized that she must have observed me being on my phone to post a picture on Instagram, before I had started reading my book. Her scooting closer to me, made my inner alarm ring. I looked at her and tried to believe her for a second, but I could not. I was checking her out, and she looked like a sweet, innocent girl who I guess likes to smoke small cigars. But something kept telling me she is not what she appears to be. I replied:

"No, you can't have my phone."

She thought for a second.

"Oh... well, I am not gonna take your phone, you can have my sweater and hold on to it, I am not going anywhere."

I almost considered holding on to her sweater, but again, that would have been a bad trade off, and I already started picturing her running off with my phone. I somehow knew I could not trust her.

"I will not give you my phone, ask someone else!"

She shook her head and turned away.

I thought about the situation some more. What if she was telling the truth? I felt bad for not helping her out. What if she really was lost? So I picked up my purse (which was situated between us too – and I kinda did not want her to be able to grab it), and pretended I was looking for something inside of it, when I had an idea. I decided to make the following offer.

"I can give you 50 cents, and you can go and call your brother."

By the way, she had not made any attempts to ask anyone else for their phone.

"No, but I don't have his number."

I got slightly angry at her for thinking I was buying her lies.

"So how were you gonna call your brother if you do not have his number?"

She had the audacity to say this:

"I need to go on Facebook and write on his wall."

This time I shook my head.

She remained on the bench, right next to me. A little too close, and I was hoping for my friend to arrive soon, to finally have a reason to get up.


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