No… I’m not talking about the super-dreamy man you cherish and adore and wish you could wake up with every day, just to see his face and hold his hand and hear his voice and talk to all day long to share in his unique insights, laugh at his funny jokes and be inspired by his general, unequivocal brilliance….
Yes, he exists, but….
I am (unfortunately) talking about that other man… the strange, creepy one you don’t know… who follows you and stands too close to you whilst riding the elevator at work.
I encountered such a man yesterday morning. He had, evidently, been walking several paces behind me on our trek from the parking garage into the building. I had not seen or heard him there until it was too late.
We arrived at the security checkpoint of our office at nearly the same time. I swiped my key card and punched in my secret code, but the security door remained locked. This gave The Man time to enter my dance space and ponder some clever comment he could utter to me about how I couldn’t get in, despite the fact that this sort of thing happens regularly to everyone, now and again.
He did say something, but it was completely lost on me, as I was only half-listening in my attempt to rush through the swipe/punch-in process again, get through the door, move away from him and get on with my day.
I succeeded in moving away from him, but only temporarily. By the time I reached the set of elevators to head upstairs, The Man was right on top of me again… having stealthily followed me through the security door. He then decided to park himself beside me, perhaps errantly thinking I might wish to engage in conversation while we waited for an elevator… together.
It was then that the expanse of the room began to call out to me, urging me to explore its wide open spaces. Alas, I was trapped between The Man and a wall of closed elevator doors.
At last, a car arrived. But it was heading down.
“Wrong way,” The Man alerted me, as if I needed him to clarify anything to me other than why he was standing so close and staring at me. (Not that I actually cared or needed to know.)
A moment later, another elevator arrived. It was going up.
A normal, inconsequential man exited and I stepped around him to go inside, pushing the button for my floor. The Man walked right up to me at the buttons as if he was going to reach across me and push the one for his floor. Instead, I asked him which floor he needed and pushed it for him. It was one level above mine. This short trip was going to feel longer than necessary.
We had the entire elevator to ourselves, which meant that — in a world where all people respect all other people’s personal space — we could have spread ourselves out and away from each other… and I wouldn’t have had to feel him breathe on me.
However, that is apparently not the world in which we live because The Man chose to stand right on top of me… and to stare at me. And stare. And stare. Annnd stare.
When the doors finally opened on my floor, I escaped quickly… but not without The Man wishing me well for the day. I noticed how he leaned forward as he said it… and how practiced his words came out… and the hungry look in his eyes. I dashed away without looking back, hoping never to run into him again.
But I’m sure I will. Eventually.
If not him, then someone else just like him. They are out there. And they are plentiful.