South of Pinecrest got hit the worst (and for those unfamiliar with Miami, MOST of Miami is NORTH of Pinecrest, not that the city and South Beach won't eventually be hit by an epic storm and end up underwater, but San Francisco has earthquakes and who knows whether Diamond Head will re-erupt, lol).
Re Parrot Jungle for those not in the know, it relocated to Watson Island near South Beach and downtown but the beautiful grounds were left behind as an unbelievably beautiful town park with paved winding paths through the only tropical rainforest in the continental United States and spectacular coral rock structures. The parrots are long gone, replaced by hordes of people visiting the grounds for various reasons because most of the areas, while still accessible to the paying public, are also rented out at ASTRONOMICAL rates as indoor and outdoor venues. But even in this presumably safe, desirable Miami suburb I was recently...molested.
Here's THAT story...
My new Sunday morning ritual was an 11am yoga class, then a noon visit to that park's Farmer's Market and a several lap power walk on the winding trails beneath its rainforest canopy. Usually I go with my hag but yesterday, I went solo.
I thought I looked pretty good, bigger and more jacked and ripped than usual since I've been hitting the gym hard. Also, you don't wear loose flowing clothing in yoga if you don't want your junk to fly out and your belly bared doing headstands so I was wearing my typical outfit, a wifebeater (in this case, the one with the superman logo in my profile) and fitted gym shorts, and instead of my dork glasses I was wearing cool prescription Ray Bans, and had worked up a light sweat.
I don't disengage from my surroundings with phones or earbuds when I walk or exercise. I'm pretty situationally aware so by the end of my first lap I had the park dynamic down - typical Sunday, with spillover from the Farmer's Market, an Eagle Scout ceremony in the art gallery at the entrance, kiddie birthday parties at the picnic table and splash 'n play areas, a smattering of foreign tourists, a plethora of strollers, and what looked like a geriatric jewelry making class in the original historic entrance.
At one point in the trail I zigged when I should've zagged and spun 'round to follow another trail, almost running into a woman ahead of me. She was wearing a turquoise one piece bathing suit with khaki shorts pulled over them and a long ponytail. I figured she was a splash 'n play mom taking a breather from the kids. I tried passing her but she seemed to be crowding me. I managed to pass her but got a weird vibe off her and started spinning scenarios in my head - "I'm a single man walking solo in a park filled with women and children, and I'm going to be met by a gauntlet of cops apprehending the perv who stalked and sexually harassed a young mom." Yep, a paranoid thought - no gauntlet appeared and I didn't see the mother again for another few laps.
Getting tired from the heat and a bit disassociated by lap 4, out of my peripheral vision I sensed I was being followed. Like they say you should do when you're driving - change your route to confirm this - I took a detour and walked a circle and indeed, it was either a coincidence or I WAS being followed/stalked.
I boldly looked directly over my shoulder to see who it was and realized it was the swim 'n play mom. I thought "Oh shit, I better walk faster so she doesn't think I'm following HER," and did.
But she quickened her pace, her footfalls echoing ever more loudly, and came up on my heels, then walked abreast, flashed me a big smile and said "hello."
I got my first good look at her - pretty, clean-scrubbed without a hint of makeup, in her thirties, petite, latina - and she asked where I was from.
A pretty woman boldly asking me a random generic question stirred a memory I couldn't identify right then and while in my head I answered with zero game like Scooby Doo ("hrrrruh?") I smiled back and told her "from here" (it's my hometown).
She said she was from South America.
Then as we continued walking side by side she grabbed my crotch.
Major Cognitive Dissonance.
We kept walking. She released it and again asked where I was from, making me question (among other things) her grasp of English, when she copped another feel, more insistently, as if to see if what she felt the first time was real (it is).
With her slender fingers firmly grasping my basket I had a sudden flash of insight.
I remembered the memory, over thirty years ago, when me and bunch of other guys backpacking Europe, sleeping in a public park but in what amounted to a sleeping bag collective for safety, were awakened to the sight of women kneeling over us asking in a friendly way random generic questions like "What is your name? Michele?" "Where are you from?"
If I was wrong this may have gone south real fast, but with the splash 'n play mom's hand still on me I said: "C'MON, dude."
I'd realized she was transgender.
She gave me a smile, motioned to the freestanding bathroom building adjacent to the geriatrics making jewelry, and said "Come with me."
Now, I may be a lot of man, and I found her stirring, but I'm not enough man to be serviced within a stone's throw of geriatrics, an Eagle Scout ceremony, a stroller brigade and a half a dozen little kids in swimsuits so I told her "You're very convincing in every sense of the word and thank you, but I'm not interested. And BE CAREFUL."
And I left her, finished up two more laps, and left the park.
Weirdly, I have to admire her balls. As for me, I think I inadvertently discovered cruising.