A right smart view, all right: a wry retrospective

After posting a copy of an e-newsletter concerning the Blue Ridge Parkway I subscribe to, I was reminded of an experience I had almost five years ago – the time in my life (that I knowof) that someone secretly followed me for close to 100 miles in the hope of consummating a sexual liaison. I wrote about this experience for a now-defunct message board, and saved a copy for myself as part of writing about the greater journey to which this pursuit of sorts contributed.
I am including this here for several reasons. One, I wrote it and I have it on my hard drive, so that must mean I have to share it with the general public. Two, it’s kind of funny. And three, it demonstrates that it’s possible to be the quarry of a much-maligned demographic without forming negative stereotypes or opinions about said demographic.
I first arrived in Roanoke in August of 2002 and got there by running and walking up the Parkway from Asheville, N.C., 275 miles away. All I had with me was a backpack that held about 15 pounds’ worth of clothes and necessities. It took me four days to cover 240 miles (with about half of these done at a light run), leaving me 35 miles south of Roanoke on a day on which it was, according to the radio station I was tuned into at the time, 94 degrees.

After a series of nights spent sleeping under the stars in campgrounds and trying to take in enough calories to not waste away, I had begun to wear down pretty badly. At around two in the afternoon on Friday, August 23rd, I left some potter’s workshop, where I had stopped to hydrare and drunk about a gallon of water, and shortly thereafter found myself at the Smart View picnic area. I trudged up to the cabin housing the men’s bathroom, sat down on the grass outside, and took off my shoes in anticipation of washing my beleaguered feet in the sink.
At this point a car pulled off the Parkway a quarter-mile away and up to the modest little building. The Parkway is sparsely populated, and I was surprised to have encountered another soul (only later did I learn it wasn’t exactly by chance). A casually dressed but dumpy-looking guy in his mid-fifties got out of the car and headed into the bathroom, glancing my way with a half-smile as he did so. I gave a little nod and continued tending to my feet. Owing to overwhelming fatigue, I was really paying humanity (what there was of it) very little attention, so I essentially forgot about the guy as soon as he left my field of vision. After a few minutes, however, I started getting the feeling of being watched, and when I glanced at the bathroom cabin I noticed the guy peering out at me — like many campground-style bathrooms there was a screen about a foot high running along one side of the building just below the roof eave, presumably for purposes of ventilation. I was wearing sunglasses (and with my shoes and socks removed, nothing else, save for shorts) and so the guy couldn’t tell I was watching him watch me. I suddenly understood with perfect clarity that the man was pleasuring himself and that I was the unlikely inspiration for this burst of spirited activity.
Nevertheless, I needed water and I needed to douse my feet, so I went inside, not glancing in the direction of the toilet stalls. I scooped some water into my mouth and, raising my feet into the sink one after the other, washed carefully between all ten toes, just as one is supposed to when logging sixty-mile days on foot. When I finished, I turned from the sink and chanced a look toward the stalls. It turned out that the gentleman who had taken up residence in the bathroom shortly before I had was not in fact in a stall but was standing in the corner and masturbating fervently and in full view, pants around his ankles.
I don’t think my expression changed, but I figured I might as well not waste time getting the hell out of there. As I reached the door, the guy stopped in mid-stroke and queried with a hopeful expression and in a plaintive voice: “Want a blowjob?” I told him no, I’m good (I think I actually laughed) and walked out. I had a fleeting fantasy of punching him in the face really hard, maybe several times, and taking his wallet and his car keys, but realized I would not be able to later justify this act in my own mind — I was really just looking for any haphazardly contrived excuse to commandeer a vehicle because I didn’t feel like shagging ass up the Parkway under my own steam anymore.
My encounter with this guy was far from over.

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