Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Maximum Exposure

Oddly enough, the story I am about to tell you has happened to my twice in my life. Let's start with the most recent episode.

Yesterday I am at Panera for a meeting. I arrive straight from tennis at about 1:50. My meeting is at 2:30, so I sit outside. I get a bottled water and check my Blackberry, make a few phone calls, etc.

When I first sit down, all four tables are empty. Then, a middle-aged African American man sits down at the table next to me and gets on the phone. I continue with my stuff and as I am making phone calls, I am worried about being too loud (I always feel like people cannot hear me on my Blackberry, so I am sure talk louder than I need to). I notice how quite he is and wonder how the person on the phone can actually hear him. He continues. Other folks come and go, a young couple about to head off for a wedding and honeymoon, a student, a Panera employee. I take it all in, drink my water and continue to wait.

My appointment arrives at about 2:30. The guy is still on the same call as when he sat down. We are chatting away and then, I see this guy making hand juestures while talking and it sort of draws my attention. I shift my eyes over to him for just a second. Something catches my eye. I stop and think, did I just see what I thought I saw? I look again.

Sure enough. It is a one-eyed snake staring right at me--a brown one. He is exposing himself to me. Now, at first I think maybe this is just an accident, like he is wearing shorts and no underwear and it is just the angle. I wait a few minutes and look again very discretely over the shoulder of the woman I am talking to. No, it isn't a mistake. This isn't just me looking up into his shorts, this is him hiking them up. By now, his penis is resting mid-thigh. He is doing this on purpose and now I can even see his balls.

Panic. I am in total panic mode. Then I think there is no way he is doing that on purpose. Then I think certainly he would feel a breeze on that thing if it was on accident. Okay, plan A. Go tell someone at Panera. I shoot that down as I figure what will they do? Plan B. Call Jeff and tell him to come over here in his police car. No, that won't work. How would I get Jeff to come over here without telling him why and the guy would hear me. Plan C. Tell the guy to stop. No, that is just plain weird and crazy. "Hey, buddy, can you put your shlong away? That is nasty and I am trying to have a work meeting here." Plan D. Wait for someone else to see it and say something, preferably another man who says something like, "dude, put it away." But, mostly women walk by. I watch their expressions with deep intent, I can tell two saw it too.

Now, he is still on the phone, or as I have now come to believe--pretending to be on the phone. Plan E. Ignore, ignore, ignore and hope it goes away. I pick that. I position myself so he can tell I can only see his upper half and as the woman who I am meeting with (totally unaware of what is going on) moves, I move with her.

Nearly an hour later, he is still there and still pretending to be on the phone. I have only listened to about half of what this woman is talking about as I am running through scenarios in my head. I am reminding myself to be careful when i get in my car and to pay attention to see if he follows or stays when I leave. I keep hoping he will go. He doesn't.

Finally, the meeting wraps up. I decide that when I leave, I will go in Panera and tell them. I stand up and look down one more time to see if he is still doing it. His shorts, of which the legs were pulled up near the top of his thighs before are now pulled down past his knees. I just leave and he stays...still on the phone.

I asked Jeff at dinner, thinking because of how he pulled the short legs down to his knees by the time I got up, maybe he didn't realize it was hanging out and then pulled his shorts down low to ensure it wouldn't hang out again. No. He knew what he was doing, Jeff assures me this was an intentional self-exposure. After saying, "You should have called me" we discuss what purpose that would have served and the answer is none. The police would have to catch him in the act to make it a misdemeanor. Nothing would have happened.

So now the odd part. As I said, this has happened to me before. As soon as I was old enough to work, I have worked. My first job, and my job all through high school (and then some) besides that of working for my dad, was at a locally owned toy store in the mall. One day a man came in in shorts and wanted some help with a toy called Blocks and Marbles. This is probably 1986, maybe even 1985. He was wearing those short shorts with the white trim, remember those? His were yellow.

He asked me to tell him about the toy, which was on the bottom shelf. I bent down with him to tell him and his penis flopped out the side of his shorts and rested on the side of his leg. Of course, that motion caught my eye. He continued to ask questions as if nothing had happened. I continued to answer them, trying to act like nothing happened. I told myself he didn't know, that had to be an accident. After a few more questions, I realized this guy totally knew what he was doing. I excused myself and found someone else to help him.

Still troubled, I asked around. Could you feel that if it happened? Would you know you were hanging out if you were that exposed? Could such a thing happen on accident or was it intentional. While I wish it wasn't so, I am now certain he too was a pervert--intentionally exposing himself to a girl who wasn't even old enough to drive.

Oh, men. Really what makes them think we want to see that?


Jeff said...

This gives new meaning to hanging out at the coffee shop

Anne said...

Im speechless.

Anonymous said...

I think I would have told the manager, he/she could have kept an eye on him (so to speak) and if he kept it up...sorry bad pun, could throw him out. As a under endowed white male, I'd have to be nude to be exposed, just pulling up my short's wouldn't do it, but I still think I'd know if I was hanging out

Anonymous said...

Does your cell phone have a camera?
Picture is worth 1000 words when you decide to call the police.

Kris said...

I think under-endowed white male is right. I really should have told the manager. I am there all the time, they would know I wasn't kidding.

As for the cell phone, no. I use a blackberry--no camera, but email!