Note to self: for future reference, never again go to the nearby mall on a Friday night, especially if it's not yet 8 o'clock. No matter how much you're craving Cold Stone, either exercise some self-control or find another slightly less convenient location. Or even restrict your cravings for ice cream to any day of the week other than Friday. I'm generally big on exploring. It's pretty much all I've been doing in my spare time: jumping in the car and driving to wherever the road takes me. This I've been exploring the area where I'm living as well as its nearby neighbors. I took a slightly less than Magellan approach to things tonight, and wound up hitting the biggest high school hangout in the area. All Christopher Columbus style, no less, ignoring the surrounding signs and just jumping into a place that turned out to be totally what I didn't expect it or want it to be. It was like Back to the Future part one, only Chuck Berry was conspicuously absent on the radio.

I devoured my ice cream and then moved on to my real destination for the evening (Cold Stone was, too, but I don't think I've ever wanted to scarf that stuff as fast as I wanted to tonight): a soulless and evil giant corporate bookstore that I happen to enjoy, known as Borders Books. I've found all sorts of useless stores in my area, such as a sewing shop, a whole bunch of real estate offices, and some makeup stores, but I've yet to find a good used bookstore convenient to me.

I entered Borders in the hopes of finding a book and/or book with a kit for Calligraphy. I found both, and ended up buying the latter of the two. The catalyst for the purchase itself is interesting. Given my love for the written word, I've lately been fascinated by more stylistic representations of writing, and have been itching to give it a try.

I wandered the store, browsing the shelves and eventually coming to the 'art' section. Before settling in that area to skim the titles and some of the books, I didn't notice anything unusual. People milling about and reading books, or groups of people wandering and chatting about books or boyfriends or living in the ghetto (I actually heard a snippet of a conversation regarding that last one). Once I found the book/kit, I plopped myself down on a small wooden stool to leaf through it.

Whilst leafing, I noticed, using my superior peripheral vision, a guy walk up and stare around the area before grabbing a random book from a shelf in front of me. Without bothering to actually look at the title. I continued reading, and looked up suddenly when someone walked in front of me. And there's this random guy, probably in his early 20's, leaning on a center display of books and holding a big book displaying pieces of art, and staring right at me. And then offering me what I guess was supposed to be his most winning smile and a toss of his head so that his shoulder-length thick, shaggy and in all likelihood lice-ridden dark hair flopped backward.

Fortunately, my reflexes are state of the art, and I instantly focused on my book once again. Not one to give up, though, he remained. Which made it very difficult to focus on my book because, frankly, I was found the whole situation creepy. I've been to gay bars here. I've been to the gay district in West Hollywood. I've shopped in a mall that may as well get it over with and change its name to GAY WORLD. And, out of all these places, I'm getting cruised at fucking Borders? Holy shit.

When I moved, he moved. Where I went, he followed and tried to stay back a few shelves for the sake of remaining conspicuous. And he kept trying to catch my eye. I got my break when I rounded a corner and he didn't notice. And then I ran for it, Calligraphy book/kit clutched to my chest for dear life. I flew down the stairs to the first level, looking back only to check that I wasn't being followed.

I made my purchase (I'm super excited about it, by the way), and then made my escape. Obviously, I weaved my way through cars to make my path extra difficult to follow. And when I got to my car, I jumped in, locked the doors, scrunched down really low in my seat and turned up my rap music so I would just be another one of the cool high schoolers hanging out. Oh, and I also wore my baseball cap sideways and at a slight tilt. In other words, it was the best getaway ever.

Now the only thing I'm left fearing is that I'll wind up the subject of some advertisement in a local alternative newspaper. He'll have mistaken my look of horror and revulsion for something resembling interest, and will run an ad in the "I Saw You" section that reads:

Me: Dark and handsome, reading a book on Baroque art at Borders. You: Smiled at me over your Calligraphy book and then kept looking at me as I was eyeing you. I want your body.

Um, yeah. Terrifying.