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Seriously, Who Asks That?!

, , , , | Friendly | July 17, 2021

I am waiting at a bus station/park-and-ride a ways out in the county. It is winter and rather cold, so I’m bundled up in a very puffy, hooded coat, and I’m also wearing a black balaclava/ski mask-type of thing but with my nose and mouth uncovered.

As I settle in to wait for my connecting bus, a man gets off another bus. We are the only two on the platform. I am a woman and I’m 5’1”, and at my best estimate, this man is maybe 5’10” — tall enough to make me feel kind of small, but I’m aware my short height makes that easy to do.

The man mutters something I can’t quite make out.

Half Of My Brain #1: “Did he just say the word ‘terrorist’?”

Half Of My Brain #2: “Stop being paranoid. See, he’s going down to the other end of the platform.”

Nevertheless, I move to a bench that puts my back against the wall. I’ve always preferred that, anyway. I kid you not, twenty minutes later, the man comes back and walks straight up to me.

Man: “Are you a terrorist?”

I’m internally short-circuiting because who ASKS THAT?

Me: “What?”

Man: “Are you a terrorist?”

Me: “I don’t understand.”

Man: “Well, you look like one.”

Me: *As confused as possible* “What— How do I look like a terrorist?”

Man: “Never mind. Forget it.” *Walks off again*

My bus wasn’t for another twenty minutes! Luckily for me, another bus arrived about five minutes later. More people got off it and the man got on, leaving me with a much more relaxed wait for my bus. My best guess is that my balaclava looked like a headscarf of some sort. Headscarf on a woman equals Muslim, and Muslim equals terrorist, obviously. HORRIBLE man.

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