We were about 16 when my best friend, April, and I walked to and from school together. It only lasted for about a semester at which point I finally got my driver’s license started driving to school.
Honestly, strange things were wont to happen on those walks along that route. One time we were walking down a street near the one my house was on when a little boy about 5 years old emerged from a bush and shouted, “Oooh baby take your clothes off.” (<— I'm probably gonna get some icky google hits from that line.) We were shocked that a child his age would ever say such a thing. We wondered aloud what kind of environment he was growing up in.
Another time a boy walked right up to us, introduced himself and and asked for my phone number. Like an idiot I gave it to him and when he called the house I was surprised (why, I do not know. I was the idiot who gave him my phone number). He promptly told me that he liked me and that he liked me in a… umm… less than honorable way. I almost vomited I was so grossed out and wondered what kind of psycho he was to call a perfect stranger and make such a statement. But then again, what kind of girl goes and gives her phone number to any guy on the street? I wasn’t that type of girl but obviously the hormonal imbalance brought on by puberty had temporarily paralyzed some of my synapses. I got what was coming to me. And thankfully I learned my lesson about not handing out my phone number to just anyone.
But this particular time caught my friend and I by surprise. We were simply walking along the street with home as our destination, perhaps with a brief layover at Taco Bell for some after school sustinence. As we neared the shopping center across the street from my house we heard a car approaching on our left. We looked and it was what we would have then termed a “hoopty.” It was very big. Very long. Very low and probably had a certain amount of hydraulics worked in as well. The reason we heard this vehicle approaching was not due to a backfiring engine or loud rap music though.
It was the fact that the four or five hormone crazed boys were leaning out the windows whistling and issuing all manner of unsavory cat calls in our general direction. Normally, being quite the saucy little pair, we would have yelled out some sort of clever insult, the receivers of which would likely not understand. But these boys not only yelled in our direction as they were driving by…. they began to slow down… they began to subtly pull over.
As we turned into the shopping center their hoopty-mobile rounded the corner as well. We did not want to aggrevate these fellows and yet we needed a way to get them away quickly. To say the very least, they gave us the heeby-jeebies or something slightly more sinister perhaps. A nameless feeling that made us certain that they were going to do us harm if they happened to actually get near us.
Thinking on our feet, we quickly ducked into the first store around the corner in the shopping center, a liquor store. Frequently we would stop there and purchase a Coke or a candy bar or a bag of chips or something. But today we had been followed and we both had a pit in our stomachs wondering what kind of evil these boys were planning. We were not in the mood for snacks. April and I stood there for a moment thinking about how to ditch these guys without risking a worser fate, being on their bad side as opposed to being objects of their pursuit.
Suddenly it came to me but I took no time to explain. I just said, “When we walk out that door, do exactly what I do.”
We calmly walked out the door of the liquor store and predictably the boys were all sitting there in their enormous vehicle waiting for us to come out. As we crossed the threshold I smiled at my dear friend and began wildly gesticulating in fake sign language. Making very distinct and purposeful signs that I’m sure really do mean something in American sign language, April and I began to carry on a fake conversation in sign language, laughing out loud and adding a garbled word in here and there for effect. Having been best friends since the day Kindergarten began I probably don’t have to tell you that the act was flawless, April knew exactly what I was doing and played right along without a moment’s hesitation.
I must tell you, we felt awful about this. We felt a small betrayal of the sweet deaf people that we were acquainted with.
As I had predicted these boys watched us come out of the liquor store carrying on a very animated conversation in sign language and just like that their car peeled out of the parkinglot faster than a jack rabbit on amphetamines.
Our hearts settled back into our chests and I think we decided to go and treat ourselves to a soft taco, having just saved ourselves from certain… certain… I don’t know what but… well, certainly something bad!
As we recapped the whole situation we didn’t think, “Jeez, what is with guys these days? What would they have done to us if they had managed to snatch us… or whatever they were going to do?” No… we didn’t think that at all. We thought, “Those jerks. What the heck do they have against deaf girls?!”