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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