I live in a city that is pretty cool about people walking around in the nude. I also live where the Mission District meets the Castro, which is pretty much the epicenter of old man nakedness. I used to live by Baker Beach, which is a nude beach, and every Thursday when my local comic book shop got new comics my room mates would buy some, get a burrito, go to the beach, jump in the ocean (once, because its the ocean and its fucking freezing), and then lounge around on the beach naked until the sun went down.
Today I was sitting in the subway waiting for my train, reading MCUNCOOL's OKC post and thinking he sounds like pretty decent dude, when I see a young woman wearing only a scarf walking towards me. The first thing I thought was, "Oh no, something really bad just happened or it is about to happen." My heart started racing and I tried to figure out what to do. Should I give her my hoodie to cover herself? Ask her if she's okay? She started talking to the woman sitting next to me about her dress, and asked what she thought of nudity as fashion. Oh thank god, its some sort of weird school project or something. The woman in the dress said something like, "Its San Francisco, so I'm used to it. People can do what they want to do." The naked woman serenely walked away and I then noticed she had another clothed woman with her as backup. Phew. No one was crazy and no one was in distress, but my heart rate was still way up.
Keep in mind this is the same BART station that previously featured the naked acrobat a few weeks before. I think the video of him flipping around and assaulting people bothered me about as much as possible having not personally been there when it happened. It made me afraid for my friends, and for myself if I had been there and tried to confront him. It made me think about changing my policy of not carrying a weapon on me when I go out. I ultimately decided that I'm still not going to arm myself, but that doesn't mean I'm not afraid.
I feel like my tolerance for eccentric behavior has gone way down. In life there are certain unspoken rules that we all follow, and when we see someone not following them, even minor ones, we wonder how far they will go. That person that stands way too close to my face may be just a close talker, or they may not respect any boundaries and could possible eat off my face. The naked woman in the subway raised that fear in me, not specifically that she would eat my face, but that she had broken the rule of "We are going to keep our heads down and get where we are going to go," and I didn't know what other rules she was capable of breaking. I hope that if I saw her strolling around in Dolores Park or the beach I wouldn't feel so disturbed.