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I’m no sidewalk stalker

Kevin Noonan | Tuesday, August 21, 2012

“I do mind, the Dude minds. This will not stand, you know, this aggression will not stand, man.”
Say what you want about the tenets of The Dude’s philosophy in “The Big Lebowski,” but at least it’s an ethos. I, myself, am the victim of regular, unchecked aggression, and I’ve just about had enough of it.
A good part of my days each weekday on campus is spent walking to and from class. As I’m walking from almost as far north as possible to DeBartolo and Mendoza, I cover a lot of turf on my daily treks.
As I make my daily journeys, with higher education or a nap on my mind, depending on which way I’m going, I often walk alone.
My clothes are often wrinkled and out of fashion (I’ve already used this forum to discuss my distaste with the University’s laundry policy.) I’m often deep in thought, being the spectacular intellectual and misunderstood genius that I am.
And to top it all off, though my wonderful parents graced me with many tools, apparently one of them was not a facial structure that doesn’t say “I might attack you.”
On an almost daily basis, as I walk to class, or the dining hall, or wherever I’m headed, I find myself often behind a male or female student with whom I am not friends.
And as I walk, keeping to myself, I see him or her turn around to see me following them, and see a look of terror flash across their face.
My instinct in these cases, when I see someone give me a look like I might be the Son of Sam, which again happens at least 11 times a week, is to flash a warm, friendly, non-threatening smile.
But you know what, in case any of you are in this situation in the future, a forced smile is apparently about the worst thing you can do.
Where I see it as a sign of my peaceful intentions, apparently it acts more as a confirmation of the other person’s suspicions, and their pace inevitably quickens to a blazing speed.
I get that there are real dangers in the world, and we should be aware of threats around us so as not to be taken advantage of; I’m just not one of them.
And frankly, I’m a little hurt.
So in the future, if you see me walking behind you on the quad, I promise, I’m not about to attack you.