Today as I was going to the Palo Alto Main Post Office I passed a man, whom I shall not describe, standing out on Waverly street wearing all dark and black clothes, with a hooded jacket (not a "hoodie") pulled up around his head and face so I could hardly see him or make out his features. To me that alone is a bit menacing. Perhaps I unconsciously moved or looked a certain way because as I passed him to go to the Post Office he spat into the street.
Did my business, walked out of the Post Office holding the door open for an elderly lady and encountered this person again on the way back to my car, parked on the opposite side of Waverly. As I looked at him I noticed now in addition to the hoody that he had a kind of ski mask pulled up around his face ... you know, like the kind the bank robbers used to wear in the old Western movies. Now all I could see was his glaring eyes.
I got to my car, and I noticed the bus pulled up, and I wondered what the bus driver would do? He seemed to say something to the young man, but the man got on anyway and that was all I could see because of the reflections on the windows of the bus.
Personally, I would rather do about anything other than to encounter, be in the same space as or have to interact with such a person. I don't even think people should be allowed to enter buildings of board buses if they are wearing "bank robber" attire, or burkas, hoodies, masks or anything that hides their identity ... with certain exceptions.
I think a lot of other people feel the same. While she was living my Grandmother use to ride the bus to downtown almost ever day of her life to the senior center where she could talk and visit with her friends, but sometime she stopped doing that in the late 1970's ... about the time people such as this started to appear unashamed and unapologetic on Public Transit. Not getting out and having some place to go and feel safe in public contributed to my Grandmother's decline of health and eventual demise to an extent, and having streets that are scary or even unfriendly to walk will contribute just as much to other elderly people, and to the driving up to and past the last minute of driving competence for those who would rather risk a crash than risk confronting such thug look-alikes.
I'm sure this will be cast as some kind of freedom of expression issue, but a lot of these issues seem to have led to a declining quality of life and a declining sense of community as anti-social people "express freely" their anti-socialness, and the rest of us have to just smile and accept it. What do you think?