The Chihuahua effect

You know when you hear a small dog yap and yap and when you look at the situation, it is the smallest dog thinking he can take on a larger dog. But when that large dog had to stand in front of the small dog, it would run back to its owner, hiding, tail between its legs. That sums me up.
I like to regard myself as an opinionated but quiet person and when a situation overpowers my quiet nature, I scatter.
Story time, I was on a bus on the way home from Termini station the one evening. I got on the bus I needed to be on and took a seat. While I waited, I put on my earphones and went on Pinterest to kill time. When I looked up again, the bus was sardined. The bus driver then got into the bus and we left.
We drove down Via Nazionale and I looked out the window and watched the people as they shopped. Next moment, the bus driver made a sharp right turn and most of the people catapulted to one side. One woman grabbed my leg to find her balance and soon after apologized. I told her it is no problem and asked if she would like to have my seat, seeing that she was a bit older to which she said that she would be getting off at the next stop. Listening to my music and gazing out the window, I felt someone touching my leg again. I thought it was the same woman and brushed it off.
The woman got off at the spot and after a while, I felt my leg being touched again but I could make out who it was as the bus was so full, so I pulled my leg further away from the aisle. This person was determined because my leg was being rubbed again. I tried to see who it was only to find an older man, about mid 50’s rubbing my leg. I was petrified because A) My Italian is not good B) I am a young woman on a bus at night C) I am a foreigner; would anyone help me? I was not too close to my home, I can’t walk because it is dark out and all the busses are full as it was peak hour.
At first, I thought, should I scream? Should I be quiet? So, after a few minutes of thinking how to approach this and formulate an understandable sentence, I flicked his hand off my leg and said *translated* Excuse me? Stop it. Thinking he would stop or at least apologize but no, Hugh Hefner decides to spark up a conversation asking me where I am from. I look at him, fix my earphones and look out the window again. He taps my leg again, this time asking if he could take me out for dinner.
Here is what bothered me:
Yes, I am a stranger, as they say, in this country and I do realize that many foreigners come and go into various countries, including Italy, for ulterior motives but what his right mind made him think that I wanted him? I was properly clothed, I listened to music and I was in my own little bubble. Yes, I am not from here but that doesn’t give him the right to assume that I’d magically be interested in him or the fact that this man, old enough to be my father, would think that I would accept his offer of dinner.
I told him that I don’t understand him and to stop. Then he kept insisting that I was lying to which I answered, “Oh yeah, sure” then he tapped my leg again and I looked at him, deep down petrified and as loud as I could speak, I told him to stop it or I would phone the Carabinieri and I opened up my phone log. Magic! I got the attention of the bus driver and a few patrons (who took note at first and did nothing, as I thought) He told me not to be like that and that we can be friends, so I start dialing 112 then he decided to get off. The bus driver yelled something in Italian to him as he got off and I just sat there, shaking, trying to figure out what just happened. I wanted to cry.
As I arrived at my stop, I was about to get off and the bus driver asked if I was okay, to which I answered yes and I thanked him. I got off the bus and walked home as fast as I could, luckily my house was not too far from the stop. I then realized that after dark, I stay inside, unless I am with a few friends.
I always thought that I would be this tough girl, acting like Lara Croft when a situation such as this occurred, but to be honest, I have never been so scared in my life, aside from how spiders make me feel, so what do we do?
Well, it is important to know your emergency numbers and to not be scared and speak up and to have the heart of a Chihuahua, regardless of how small you think you are.

Feature image: Saved from Pinterest, user @d.extry
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