The Inner Warning System
It's sunday, 10 a.m., there are only a few people and cars on one of the main roads in Punta Arenas. I am on my way to a shop that sells nuts and dried fruit in bulk - my favorite kind of store and my favorite kind of snacks. But all of the sudden, there is this uncomfortable feeling in my body, the alarm is on, my muscles are tense and my senses are enhanced - something is wrong!
I slowly turn around and there is this guy, walking behind me, way too close. Instantly I am thinking about all the options I have. First of all, stay calm! Let's see, if this guy is really following me. I slow down, but he still stays right behind me. Then I speed up, and so does he. At the next intersection I stop, pretend to be looking for the way. He also stops, even though the light is green. Now I know - I am being followed!
"Stay calm, Lisa! It's the middle of the day and there are some people and cars around." I scan the surroundings and keep criss crossing the intersection. The guy keeps following me slowly. Obviously he isn't a clever criminal, because it is so obvious, that he is following me. But my inner system keeps on ringing the alarm.
"Dejame en paz!" - Leave me alone! But he keeps following me, keeping a bit of distance though. I have two options - outwait him, until he leaves or run. I decide for the safer option and start sprinting, hoping that I will run into somebody or pass a shop or something. I turn around and see him running after me. I stop and yell at him "LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE! FUCK OFF!". For a brief moment I am surprised, that I can actually yell this loud and he seems to be irritated as well, but keeps chasing me.
But I am faster. Like a chased bunny I take two quick turns and spot a "Shell" sign. For some reason I instantly remember passing the gas station yesterday. When I reach the gas station my hands are shaking and I am having a hard time to keep my breathing normal. I feel sick to the stomache and I am angry. Angry about this uncomfortable feeling, that has been directed by some other person.
"Everything okay?", the guy from the gas station looks at me, worried. I explain what just happened and he tells me to come inside. He hands me a water and I sit down. It feels good to talk to somebody and a few moments later I can already make jokes about what just happened. "I yelled at him in german as well, I think that scared him a bit!"
15 minutes later I thank the guy and leave the gas station. And now I have two options: Make this bigger than it is and walk around scared and mistrustfully, or I close that tiny chapter and think about the fact that I have been cycling for six months without something like that happening and that this could happen anywhere.
Of course I pick option two, even though the feeling is simply disgustingly horrible, those situations are rare. It's kind of like the punctures I have had so far. Two times it was a tiny wire that had drilled itself into my tire. What are the coincidences of cycling down a wide street and picking up this tiny wire with my tires?!
Wrong time, wrong place! The important thing is, to always listen to, and trust the inner warning system!