Paris is a moving, breathing city where bad things can happen despite its impressive views and charming buildings. I’ve witnessed unconscious motorists lying un the ground after a motor scooter accident, i’ve had scam artists approach me and I’ve stepped in dog crap (just once.) These things, although troubling, don’t happen all that often and aren’t personal attacks so I don’t take them personally.
I had just left my house on my way to class and was waiting at the crosswalk. A man crossed the street and asked me if I had a cigarette, passing me on my left. I initially shied away from him because I wasn’t expecting him or anyone to approach me so early in the morning. My next instinct was that he was a little too close to me and that, with my iphone in my right hand, he might be using this question as a pretense to mug me.
My face, known for giving my trouble as it can be a bit too expressive at time or deceptive, must have shown disgust. This dirty look followed by a “Non” (No, i don’t have any cigarettes) must have been too much for the guy to handle. He grumbled something at me and then he struck me on my right arm. It was a cross between a punch and a slap. I haven’t been hit by a male stranger since 5th grade when the boy I rejected softly slapped my face.
I was not expecting that type of physical contact at all. Obviously this man was not in his right mind. I felt helpless as there were only two other girls nearby, both who seemed unwilling to help.
It goes to show the progress I made in the French language when I instinctively turned around and yelled in English ” What the FUCK?!”. I wanted to do or say more but realized it might have been unwise and unsafe to do so.
I turned away and continued walking. It killed me to pretend as though nothing happened and I hated feeling so helpless. Maybe in a different situation I would have done or said more, but I didn’t want to take a chance with this guy who seemed a bit dangerous.
I know it’s not Paris’ fault and this sort of event could happen anywhere but I can’t help but to feel that I really don’t like Paris today.