Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pigeons, and Esteban

As I was running yesterday, I saw an exceptionally ginger kid riding his bike through the middle of the playground.  There's no path there, and it's not designed for bikes as it's mostly sand.  I watched him weave his way through the park, silently judging him as I jogged a few yards behind and to the right of him on the designated exercise path.

The path he took required him to split the difference between 2 large trees that were about 6 feet apart.  No outstanding roots or anything, but they momentarily limited his peripheral vision.  At this same moment, a domesticated terrier was let off of its leash about 20 yards to the left of him. The terrier immediately scampered towards a nearby flock of pigeons, barking and jumping around.  The pigeons immediately took off, headed directly towards the 2 large oak trees.

As the ginger kid came through the other side of the trees, he found himself in a delightfully unexpected game of pigeon "chicken".  They buzzed his head, chest, and bicycle with the crazed ferocity of a flock of stupid creatures fleeing for its life.  The ginger kid gave a mini shriek and almost fell off his bicycle, catching himself by setting both his feet on the ground.  He was still stopped when I jogged by a few seconds later, laughing to myself.  Gingers.

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A couple weeks ago, I walked out my old apartment at about 11:00 PM on a Tuesday night to meet some friends.  As I was leaving, an effeminate, graying man exited one of the adjacent buildings.  Being nice, I held the gate open for him, and watched him saunter through it as a faint "gracia..." escaped his lips.  He turned to the left, and I turned to the right.

I walked to the corner of my block to take another right, and as I was about to turn right I quickly glanced back.  The guy had changed his course and was now about 15 paces behind me.  I decide to walk up Parque Bustamante on the opposite side of the street, and quickly cross instead of turning right.  He stayed on the same side of the street, and at a more or less parallel pace we walked towards the north side of the park.

At one point we were both stopped by a red light.  As the cross traffic breezed by, I glanced over at the other side of the street, and noticed this man intently staring at me.  Fully creeped out at this point, I patted down my pockets and "realized" that I had left something back at the apartment.  I began to walk back towards my apartment, keeping a peripheral eye on the guy now on my left.  Fortunately he continues to walk up the street in the other direction.  I walk back to the corner, then slowly saunter in the same direction I was initially headed in.  At this point I couldn't see him, but I assumed he was long gone.

Less than 5 minutes later I run into him on my path.  He immediately introduced himself, and asked a couple questions in Spanish.  His name was Esteban, and he worked in some kind of finance in Central Santiago.  Whether he was talking or listening, the expression on his face never changed.  He embodied the emotion of intense, off-putting interest.  I told him I was "moving out of the country" on Dec 1, and would thus be gone soon.  But the conversation kept going, and I felt myself talking more and faster than I normally would to a complete stranger.  Then he asked me what I was doing right then, and I told him I was going to meet some friends in Providencia.  He asked me if I would be going out around the same time the next night, and I told him "yeah, probably."  He says that we should meet and go out for a walk at that time, before I go out.  To which, I inexplicably responded, "ya perfecto".

I have no idea why I said that.  This guy set off every creeper alarm in my head, and I was already squirming inside my body having talked to him for that long.  The only explaination I can think of is that my Spanish is still developing, and often when I don't understand what somebody says to me, my knee-jerk reaction is "ya perfecto" (it works surprisingly well in most cases).  After that I said I was late and had to go.  I power-walked to the nearest metro stop, and boarded the subway.

The next day, as I got back from class, I slipped a little note under his apartment door telling him that I wouldn't be able to meet him the next day.  I did this mainly so he wouldn't be hanging around my apartment door for an indeterminate amount of time, waiting for me to come out.  I waited a good half hour after our scheduled meeting time before I exited the apartment.  This time, I jogged to the far side of Parque Bustamante, and entered the metro stop from the other entrance.

Smash cut to yesterday.  I was late getting on the Metro that morning, and thus everybody was packed in next to each other like this:

After standing patiently for a couple minutes, I look around at the people around me (there are often some verrry entertaining characters in metro stations).  As I start to look behind me, I notice none other than Esteban staring daggers into the back of my head.  Fortunately I had my sunglasses on, so I just continued my sweep around like I noticed nothing, then faced forward again.  I then "noticed" an opening in the line a couple yards down, and jumped into the next subway car as it pulled in.

What I'm trying to say is, if at any point I don't post on here for over a week, it's probably because I'm trapped in a broom closet in Esteban's apartment.

1 comment:

  1. Do I need to come run interference? Survey says yes.

    ReplyDelete