So, I was walking this morning at the Y. (As I do every morning...M-F....I'll post more details about the super walking workout that I've been working on, another time.) To set the scene a little I walk on the treadmill amongst a bunch of other workout machines and in front of two large gyms. There is a track that is above the open gyms that goes around the machine area(an upper level) as well. So I'm walking and I get a weird feeling. Suffice it to say going 5 days a week means I have at least seen all the other regular walkers/work outers and have spoken to quite a few of them. Whilst I was walking today though a new guy started walking around the track whom I had never seen before. It was one of those moments when as soon as he stepped on the track I knew he was there. He wasn't hideous or anything. Relatively large (in a fat and gangly, NOT muscular way). With a red face and an farmer-styled foam black cap. He was one of those people who seems not to have eyelashes or brows but actually does, their just almost clear in color. I remember vividly his red rimmed eyelashless eyes. So, what began as a slightly ominous feeling coinciding with this guys arrival, began to slowly grow. Now, I don't believe in judging people on looks alone. And generally I think I do a pretty good job of checking my assumptions. But, I have also learned to trust my intuition. So for the first bit I alternated between trying to figure out my menu plan in my head and having an argument with myself (in my head, of course) that went something like this:
Intuition me: "I have a bad feeling about that guy."
Logical (often critical) me: "Your so judgemental. Just because the guy is a little disheveled looking does not mean he's dangerous. Give him a fair shake. "
IM: "No ,but really. I think I need to go. Seriously, that guy is giving me the heebe geebes."
LM: "Calm down. It's nothing. You are just being paranoid. Take a breath and stop trying to find excuses to stop your workout."
...at this point we're at about 10-15 minutes since this guy appeared. And all of a sudden he disappears and reappears one treadmill away from me. The whole five minutes he walked there I was telling myself :"Don't look at him. Don't make any funny gestures or lick your lips or sneeze or ANYTHING that would give him any ideas" Exactly what ideas I thought he'd get I don't know. But it took so much exertion to keep myself from running away that my treadmill heart monitor kept lowering my incline (to account for my ever increasing heart rate). He only walked on the treadmill for like two minutes and then got off and began walking around the track again. I regained some sense of calm and continued my workout, trying not to be weirded out by this strong feeling of drowning/sinking. About 5 minutes later he got back on the treadmill. By this time there were a bunch of people in the machine area training on the new weight machines they put in last week. So I felt a little less scared.(I was no longer arguing the logical side with myself but was fighting the full throws of 'fight or flight'. He walked on the treadmill for about 10 minutes that time and the entire time I planned my escape.
I figured when my time was up he'd probably be walking on the track again so I'd keep walking until he was just out of line of sight and then I'd quickly wipe down the treadmill and run downstairs. He smelled like an old wet ashtray. Now, I have smoked and smelled like smoke before but this is that kind of smell that overtakes you in its strength and pungency. It was as though he had soaked his workout clothes in an outdoor ashtray after the rain. It was a pervasively ugly smell. So I asked myself "Why would someone who smokes so much be here walking for so long?" (I walk for about 50 minutes which is really long for most people and he was there almost the whole time). He just didn't seem to belong. So the moment he got off the treadmill and started walking the track again I kept a watch. As soon as he passed where I was in line of sight I hopped to the spray bottle wiped my treadmill, collected my stuff and left.
Have you ever had this feeling before? An intuition so strong that you completely neglect all sense of logic for some ancient self preservation alarm? Am I crazy?(As 'they' say....paranoia, will destroy ya!)
More importantly, does it make me a bad person for feeling this horribly about someone who I've never met and hasn't done me any harm?(yet?)