I learned a lot during a morning at the beach. Even though this happened a while back, I still think about it...and it still bugs me.
When I was around 24 and in grad school, I spent a couple of weeks at my parents' house at the beach during the summer break. I was all by myself and got bored at the same beach every day, so I drove half an hour or so over to Navarre Beach, FL to read some journal articles and get some sun at the National Seashore beaches which are usually relatively uncrowded.
Before I settled in to reading, I waded out in to the Gulf to swim a couple hundred yards. Yes, I took off my board shorts and just wore my Speedo. When I finished swimming, I walked back up to my stuff to dry off.
After a little bit, an older man came up and started talking to me in a Dutch accent (I'm still in the Speedo). He asked me where I was from, how old I was and what I liked to do at the beach. He sat down on my towel, looked at me and said he liked "Twinkies." I said I never ate them; he laughed and asked me to go with him to his condo so he could see the part of me covered by the Speedo. I went from mildly irritated to fearful. He put out his hand for me to follow him like a little kid.
I really got freaked out and started packing up my stuff and mumbling to him that I needed to go right then. When it came time to get the towel, he just sat there; I had to ask him to please get up. He did and I threw it in my backpack and took off.
On the way home, I was really irritated that my morning was interrupted, and also triggered that he clearly intended to see me naked. I was shaking during the drive. I was in much better shape than he was and could have easily taken him, but I felt so young and powerless...like I was during the CSA.
I later figured out that "Twinkie" means something else entirely to some folks---and that he was a "Bear" who wanted a "Twinkie."
I'm a very live-and-let-live kind of person. I don't care a whit about what people do if it makes them happy and doesn't negatively affect me. Was my reaction over the top? I like to leave on good terms with everybody I meet, but.....
You take a walk and you try to understand
Nothing can hurt you
Unless you want it to... R.E.M./Pylon "Crazy"
My Story: Cruel Summer