Sunday, 6 May 2012

What NOT to say to a woman walking alone in Whitechapel

The other day I was walking along Whitechapel High Street at dusk, just running some errands before shops closed.  Suddenly, out of the blue, a man stepped in front of me stopping me in my tracks.  He was "my type", tall and blonde and rather good looking, except for what I identified later as a slightly crazy look in his eyes.
"Excuse me," he said in what I think was an American accent.  I may be American myself, but I've been known to get Limerick accents mixed up with American accents, and even I cannot, at times, distinguish an American accent from a Canadian one.
"You know Jack the Ripper, yeah?" he asked.
"Well, not personally," I responded. I can't resist quips like that.
He laughed a bit, but went on, "I mean, you know who he is, yeah.  He lives around here, right? I mean he did all his killing around here, yeah?" and then he smiled strangely. 
"Uh, yeah," I replied, "around here...uh...there are walking tours you can book," and with that I scurried away.
The whole exchange creeped me out a bit. Part of the reason I love living here is because of the history of the area, but I don't really need to be reminded as I'm walking alone while the sun is setting that there was once a serial killer, who would essentially fillet his female victims, working in the area.
This guy was probably just a tourist and didn't think that perhaps a woman walking alone at sunset isn't the person you want to randomly ask about Jack the Ripper.  But, as I said he did have a slightly crazy look in his eyes and his smile was a strange one.
I had planned on walking home for the exercise, but after that I took the bus.

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