The Only Help You Need Is To Get Away

, , , , , | Friendly | May 30, 2018

(I’m walking from the bus stop down a quiet residential street around 11 at night. I’m dressed like an average college student; I’m in a sweater and pants with a backpack, and I have a reusable bag with some shopping on my shoulder. The particular street section I’m on has no sidewalks, so I’m walking at the edge of the road by the parked cars. The street is completely deserted, but suddenly a truck shows up from somewhere, stops by me, and starts crawling along.)

Male Driver: *shouting at me* “Do you need help?”

(I’m weirded out and don’t answer, just keep walking.)

Male Driver: *shouting* “Do you need help?”

(I don’t answer.)

Male Driver: *shouting insistently* “Hey! Hey! Do you need help?”

(The truck is following along with me. I glance over; it’s a white, middle-aged guy, and maybe my eyes were just playing tricks on me in the dark but I’d swear he is wearing a cowboy hat. Any way you slice it, I want absolutely nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, he keeps on shouting, “Do you need help?” on endless repeat. I scuttle away from him, off the road toward the lawn of one of the houses, while giving him a very obvious freaked-out look in order to send a clear message: I’m not going to come anywhere near your truck in a million years, dude, and if you try anything, I’m going to run and start knocking on doors here for help. He finally gets the message and drives off. A couple of days later, I’m walking on that street again at the same time, in similar clothes and with my shopping bag, and when I get to the same exact part of the street, which is again deserted, a four-door car comes by and stops near me.)

Female Driver: *shouting at me* “Do you need help?”

(I glance sideways surreptitiously. This time, it’s a 35- to 45-year-old white woman, possibly with someone sitting in her passenger seat, but I can’t see clearly enough to be sure. I ignore her and walk on.)

Female Driver: *shouting* “Do you need help?”

(I don’t respond.)

Female Driver: *shouting* “Do you need help?”

(Boy, is she persistent. I walk past her car while making a decent pretence of being distracted by my phone. I also have earbuds in.)

Female Driver: *leaning out her car window and calling after me* “Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help? Do you need help?” *all while sounding inexplicably more and more entreating and outright desperate*

(I kid you not, I thought she’d fall out that window with how she was stretching toward me, and she didn’t stop calling after me until I finally walked out of sight. In the moment, the best way I could think of dealing with the weirdness was just acting like I didn’t see or hear her at all. Anyway, I don’t really think it was that safe to come up to talk to her on a deserted street just because she’s a woman. I’ve been wondering on and off if the man and woman were married or siblings or the like; it was way too much of a coincidence for two people to act identically within a couple of days of each other, on the exact same stretch of the street. For the record, I live a five minute walk from there. It’s MY neighborhood, just as much as theirs — if they even lived there themselves and weren’t just super-weird visitors. The only “help” I ever need while walking in my own neighbourhood, regardless of time of day or night, is figuring out a good way of getting rid of these sorts of creepy busybodies, without putting myself in danger by talking to them. Please don’t ever do things like this to someone just because they’re walking on some street alone at night; all this accomplishes is freaking us out and really annoying us.)

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This Isn’t A Shaggy Dog Story

, , , , | Friendly | April 20, 2018

(I am outside doing some yard work, when one of my neighbors stops by on her walk to say hello.)

Neighbor: “Hi, [My Name]!”

Me: “Good morning, [Neighbor]! How are you?”

Neighbor: “I’m just fine. Did you hear about the break-in over at that new neighbourhood? It’s just a couple miles down the road from us!”

Me: “No! That’s awful. When was that?”

Neighbor: “A few days ago. I guess they knew no one was home, because they tried prying the front door open with a crowbar in broad daylight!”

Me: “Oh, my God! Wait… How do you know they used a crowbar? Were there security cameras?”

Neighbor: “Well, there was a camera, but what happened was that the homeowner’s German shepherd scared the thief so badly he dropped the crowbar and took off! When they got home their dog was just sitting there next to a partially-opened door and a crowbar. He waited there the whole time until they got back, and nothing was missing from the house.”

Me: “Wow! I bet that guy won’t try that house again.”

Neighbor: “German shepherds can be very persuasive.”

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When You’re Actively Thinking About Running Someone Over

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 18, 2018

(I’m leaving to pick my partner up from work. Unfortunately, my phone is broken, but I send an email to my partner’s phone saying I’ll meet them outside. I go down the street, and there’s a man standing in the middle of the road. Cars are parked on either side, so I can’t get past. He comes up to me and stands in front of my car.)

Man: “Hey! Cold weather we’re having.”

Me: “Yeah…”

Man: “You know, it’s never been this cold before.” *he starts rambling about the cold* “So, have you always lived in Florida?”

Me: “No, I lived in Colorado before, but I really have to go–”

Man: “Colorado! They’ve got good skiers up there! Everyone’s a skier!”

(He starts talking about some ski accident he once had. Every time I try to talk, he interrupts me and talks faster. Eventually, his ski story is over and I think I’ll finally be released.)

Me: “Wow. Anyway, I should get–”

Man: “Do you follow sports?”

Me: “No, sorry.”

Man: “Well, I love football. The teams I follow used to be…“

(He keeps talking about how his team loyalty changes every time he moves. I cannot get a word in. He moves his arms a lot when he talks, and I’m starting to hope that he pokes himself with the tool he’s holding, just enough to make him leave. Finally, his monologue runs out of steam. He steps to the side and I speed out of there and end up being 20 minutes late.)

Partner: “Oh, my God! I thought you were in an accident! I was ready to call my mom and have her backtrack through the route.”

Me: *explains*

Partner: “Well, I know someone who’s not getting a Christmas card this year.”

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Getting An Edge About The Hedge

, , , , | Friendly | November 6, 2017

(Back when I was a kid, we moved into a fairly nice neighborhood. There wasn’t an actual home owner’s association, but several of the neighbors liked to act like there was, and tried to tell the other residents to change things about their homes and lawns. My mom is not the kind of person to put up with that sort of thing.)

Lady: *knocks on our front door*

Mom: *opens the door* “Hello?”

Lady: “Hi! I just wanted to come by and see how you were doing. I noticed that your bushes were getting rowdy, and I was worried you’d gone and moved out on us.”

Mom: *glances at the bushes, which aren’t perfectly trimmed, but aren’t super scraggly* “Oh, well, they look fine to me.”

Lady: “Yes, well… we just want to make sure our neighborhood looks its best.”

Mom: “Yes… Well, goodbye.” *goes to shut the door*

Lady: *sticks her foot in the door and actually pushes it open* “Ah, ah, so you will be trimming those bushes, right? And maybe invest in an edger to tidy up your lawn?”

(Mom didn’t say a word, just pulled the door open all the way, then started to swing it closed, hard. The lady jumped back as the door slammed in her face, then stood making faces on the porch for a minute or so while we kids watched from the window. Eventually, she huffed off down the front path. Unfortunately, she and the others kept coming back. The door continued to be slammed in their faces.)

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Don’t Talk Crap

, , , , , | Friendly | October 28, 2017

(I’m walking my dog and he stops to do his business. After he finishes, I pull out a bag to clean it up when I hear a bang behind me. I stop, bag in hand, and look back to see a man on the porch of the nearest house, glaring at me. I’m outside of his fenced-in yard, on the strip of grass maintained by the city.)

Man: “If I see even one bit of crap on my lawn, I’m tracking you down and shooting that dog dead.”

Me: *after standing up to my full 6’6” height* “Try it, and I’ll land you in the hospital.”

(He tripped over himself running back inside. I can understand not wanting to deal with dog crap, but A) it’s not your lawn, B) I’m cleaning it up already, and C) don’t make threats if you aren’t willing to pay for them.)

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