A MISUNDERSTANDING AT THE YMCA

I feel I should say something. My name is Theodore, and I’m stunned by this. I came to the YMCA for a neighborhood watch meeting, and when I walked into the community room—I guess I was a bit unclear on the dates—no one was around. So I—well it was only my third time there, and my glasses aren’t the greatest, so I wandered into another room looking for the men’s room. I thought all of those women were confused, you know, not “right”… And I got drawn in by their total disregard for common decency. I have to say, I never—they were so uninhibited, and wild! I mean, nothing I had ever witnessed before came close to it, in magazines, most movies, and I got sucked in, and I thought, “Dear Lord, I had no idea that our community had so many problems.” And then, the more I watched those women, the more I realized, I’m really not a pervert. I’m not a Dudley Do-right, either. I’m… I guess I’m observant. That’s what I’d call it. I get caught up in my observations, and I like to observe certain things every day. It’s not that I know what I’m really looking at all the time. Like I said, my glasses aren’t the greatest. I always say I come from a long line of nearsighted people who get mixed up in farfetched situations. And most of them liked to watch, every night, or in the morning, or whenever it seemed prudent for both parties. But I have to say—I will be honest, I’ll admit it—I’m a bit of a deviant. I like looking at people undress. Who doesn’t? You know, one or two quick peeks from just the right angle, not the side because I like to get a good mental picture in case they draw their curtains, or notice me standing at the window—and if there’s a higher power, I can’t believe that higher power didn’t create the human form and allow it to exist uncovered… You know, I actually grew up with the Bible, you may not believe it, I attended Sunday school every week, but it was actually every Wednesday. So I read a lot from the Bible and I remember this one line: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. And, you know, I think my persistence pays off. Everyday, around 7:30 a.m. during my morning stroll through various backyards, or in the afternoon when I might be at the mall and accidentally see past one of the changing room draperies. But I never touch anyone. No, I keep my distance, and those women can attest to that. I think there were seven women in total there, although not all of them saw me before I ran out. But, you know, it’s so nice to have an activity, to keep me away from… to appreciate and respect life! That’s part of why I’m sitting here, even though you stated that I’m being detained, but rest assured I could get out of here if I really wanted to. It’s just that I respect you a lot, officer. In fact, it’s like that news story I just saw on TV, where that police dog was shot by her own side during a burglary, because she instinctively ran toward the crook, even though he was moments away from getting shot? I’m not sure if you knew the dog, I think her name was Renetta, but I can tell you my heart sank when I heard the news, and I cried the entire morning. I’m a real animal lover, had three dogs growing up. But my point is that, in a lot of ways, I’m Renetta. I’ve been bred this way; my body has been trained and accustomed to the rhythms of savage urges, just like all of us, we’re all animals, and I have mankind—you, or the administrative staff at the YMCA—persecuting me for something that is simply—a simple misunderstanding… What am I saying? You’re so quiet…I’m thrown back on myself…Maybe I'm saying that I need an objective constraint outside of myself to, you know, stop myself from running out into the gunfire, or—in the case of this particular misunderstanding—to stop me from walking into women’s locker rooms. And then I wouldn’t be here, in this room, with that video camera pointed at me. I guess what I’m saying is that I prefer to be speaking with you than to a priest, or my mother's gravestone, God rest her soul. In fact—now this might sound a little cuckoo— but I wouldn't mind coming here every night and speaking with you about my observations, to be observed, to converse. I really never talked to anyone like this before… You see, what I want to ask is if I can stay here overnight, or at least a few days. I no longer have the keys to my apartment, due to a misunderstanding with my landlord. Well, I’m—I do have the keys, they’re just no longer the correct keys, the locks have been changed without my consent. And yes, I know you’re not supposed to want to stay here, but you’ve just been so kind and understanding, and you’re—I’m not sure what the administrative staff has told you, but I have not been sleeping in that building. I have only been there four or five times in my entire life, and I was there earlier only to attend a neighborhood watch meeting. As you are well aware there have been a series of burglaries happening around our neighborhood and I just wanted to do my part.