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My kids got to learn something new yesterday...


PeacefulChaos
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Yesterday was a really beautiful day here. Mid-70s, sunny, a bit of wind. So around 1:30, I decided that rather than sit inside bored while the kids were out, we could all just walk down to the lake (1/2 mi)..,feed some geese, maybe go to the playground, maybe stop and get ice cream on the way home... Yep, we'd do that.

So we set off, dropping off a long-lost book at the library on the way (I don't even WANT to know the fees on that one! This is why we don't do the library...). We fed geese, and at around 2 the kids were on the playground. My boys were older than any others there, and it's geared toward the youngers a bit, but they busied themselves helping littler kids reach things and showing them how to do them. We ran into a young man who DH and I had in youth group with his little girl and talked for a few minutes before heading home, around 2:30.

As we were passing by the library, a very large man - about twice my size, and I'm not small - blocked the sidewalk and we had this conversation:

Him: 'heyyyy can I use your phone? I need to make a phone call.'

Me (reaching for my phone): 'um I guess so.'

Him: 'is your husband gonna shoot me if I use your phone?'

Me: 'shoot you? No I don't really see why he would do that...'

Him: 'you married? How long you been married?'

Me: '13 years.'

Him: 'where your husband at now?!'

Me: 'he's working...' (At this point I'm becoming more and more uncomfortable)

Him: 'I been single now for 11 years. I like it this way.'

Me: 'yeah some people do... I like being married.'

Him: 'man, you are hot, too.'

Me: 'um, ok...'

Him: 'we'll never mind, I don't need to use your phone, don't want your husband comin after me'

Me: 'oh ok, you have a good day!'

 

And then I pretty much TOOK OFF. Link was waiting for me a couple feet away (Astro and kairi were sitting in the shade, clueless) and I could tell he was bothered. He asked what that guy wanted, why he stopped me, etc, etc.

 

As I got closer to home, the more angry I got.

First off, I am clearly leaving the PARK with my KIDS. What makes you think it's appropriate to approach me? As a result, my oldest got a definite lesson in 'how not to approach women' and also 'how to stay next to mom as you become older and bigger' :lol: ... But SERIOUSLY?!?!

Idk, maybe I'm naive, but when this man asked to use my phone, I really thought he just needed to use a phone!!! WHY DO I HAVE TO SECOND GUESS THIS STUFF?!?!

Second, these thoughts were going through my mind as he was talking to me: 'hmm, I can't get past him. I should just be nice. If I'm nice but firm about being happily married, showing no interest in him, maybe he will leave quicker....I wonder if (the friend at the park) can see us. I wonder if he would even be able to tell that something is off and I don't know this man. Well, at least it's a busy road here and stuff...'

Why are these thoughts that go through my head?!?! Why are these things that I have to be so aware of?

And third, after leaving, my thoughts were this; 'was I too nice? Should I have been shorter, snappier from that start?' And then I thought about WHAT I WAS WEARING. (Shorts, a loose grey top, sneakers, sunglasses, and a messy bun, NOT THAT IT MATTERS)... So I left and started looking at what I may have done to give a wrong impression. Even though I KNOW BETTER!!!!

 

I was livid. Unwanted attention comes and I guess I just figured it was the way it was, there was really nothing to be done about it. But for some reason yesterday, for the unwanted attention to come with my kids in tow, it really, really bothered me.

I was thinking again last night and I wouldn't have been meaner to the guy... At first glance, there was no way to know whether he really needed a phone or not. I can't let one person out of the several I saw yesterday change how I act toward people.

(Though for a little bit it did make me wish that Pink wasn't going to ever have to deal with this sort of thing... Ever. Measuring distances to doors, whether people can see you or tell you're being bothered, trying to be so careful with words so as to avoid a wrong impression... I hate that girls have to do these things. HATE.IT!)

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Sounds like mental health issues. I've had encounters like this when I worked with that population. Don't take it personally. What a scary experience. Hugs.

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Also, after the fact, you can call the non-emergency police number and they will deal with him to the extent they are able. Might save somebody else from that kind if disturbing encounter.

 

Sorry you had to go through that AND with your kids.

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too nice.

& i'm saying this nicely. :)

you were too nice. I'd practice saying "can you step back please, you're too close to me."  Any decent person will step back & probably apologize. Even if it's a non neurotypical person, they'll probably be aware that they missed some cue and are too close. Jerks might want to continue crowding you and then you go full out, palm outstretched, loud voice, STEP BACK. I live in a city, street harassment happens, people will follow you, people will do all kinds of crude and inappropriate stuff.  We did assertiveness training things where we practiced telling people to back off and doing it firmly and loudly.

Once again, a person who is a nice person will back right off and then you can continue having your conversation or helping them or whatever.

And small talk is one thing but asking personal questions like that? Um, no. Practice saying "sorry, that's none of your business."

Be ready for them to mutter 'b*&ch' at you.

I'd be very careful before giving a phone to anyone here, mostly because punks will grab it and run.

& fwiw, I am actually really nice. I talk to people on our streets. I help the homeless guy & give stuff to the crystal meth peeps but when people ask for help, keep your distance & don't crowd me or try to intimidate me in any way.  

But I admit I'm also jaded. There was a couple running a scam here for years - I'd see them all over town near the major transit hubs. They were running a con where they'd say they were from out of town and were lost and had their wallet stolen etc etc etc & would sucker people into giving them money. One of them would cry pathetically.   Police had a hard time nailing them on anything. You do get kind of hardened living in the big city...

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