life, thoughts

Prowler

So, I was minding my own business walking the dog. The weather was cold, but not frigid, and dusk would soon give way to the super moon. I’ve never walked Max while listening to music or on the phone, because I believe it’s important to pay attention to the dog and my surroundings. On this particular day, I needed to make an important call. I wore earbuds and was on the phone while maintaining a moderate, steady pace. A man pulled up beside me and rolled down his window.

“Do you need a ride to the grocery store?”

My guard went up, and my mouth spewed a defensive tone. “No, I’m walking my dog.”

My mind flipped through questions I dared not ask him. Why would someone even consider asking me if I need a ride, when I’m clearly walking my dog? Maybe I misunderstood because of the earbuds. I made eye contact with the man who had a spotty goatee and a clearly damaged vehicle. “Wait, are you asking how to get to the grocery store?”

The man seemed to hesitate a moment and then answered, “Yeah.”

I pointed down the street, “Go to that next stop sign and turn left. Follow that road until it ends and the grocery store is right there.”

“Okay, thanks.”

My route did not go as far as that stop sign, but I stayed on the path long enough to watch the man drive away slowly. He stopped at the sign and . . .

. . . he drove straight away without making that turn.

I estimated how long it might take him to get back to my street if he was up to something nefarious. He needed to go a long way around blocks to get back to me, so I picked up my stride and hooved it around the corner to my street. With five houses to go, I constantly observed behind me, beside me and in front of me. Huffing, I clomped along the side of my house to get to the back door, because I didn’t want him to catch sight of me in the garage or at the front door.

Max and I arrived home safely, and I never saw him again. I wished I would’ve observed him more clearly and gotten a license plate number.

I didn’t know what to make of it. He obviously didn’t need a grocery store, since he didn’t turn where I told him. I’d never seen that guy around the neighborhood before. Why would he think any stranger would get in a car with him, and bring their dog? I thought maybe he didn’t see Max at first, but he’s not a small dog. He’s 65 pounds. It was very weird. I wish I could come up with a plausible explanation for the guy, but I’ve had an uneasy feeling ever since. Because I’m short, could he have thought I was a child (at first) when he came up from behind? Is this guy prowling our neighborhood until he finds a victim?

Have you ever had something similar happen? Any thoughts on my situation?

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43 thoughts on “Prowler”

  1. Such a creepy and scary encounter. Glad you are alright. And it just had to happen on the day you decided to wear your earbuds and make an important call D: It sounded like he was up to no good. Glad you hoofed it and walked home as fast as you could. Better safe than sorry.

    As the others have said, it’s unfortunate women have to be more alert about these things. I’ve had my fair share of people approaching me. One time I was at the beach not far from my place, a solo beach day trip in the warm Australian summer. Some random guy approached me. He asked if I wanted to go back to his place. I declined. He kept asking and I kept declining. Alarm bells rang in my head and I walked to the tram stop where there was people. I got on a tram heading into the city (which is enroute to my place)…and he followed me, sitting in the seat next to me. The whole time he tried chatting me up in the packed tram and I said nothing. The tram pulls up to a busy stop in the city and he hands me his phone…and I punch in a fake number πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, your encounter sounded scary, Mabel. When I was young and single, I used to have young men approach me, but it was usually not sinister. They just wanted a date. But having a guy follow you, that’s not good. I’m guessing he didn’t follow you when you got off the tram. Thank goodness.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

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      1. The guy who followed me eventually got off the the tram. It was such a relief, I was already plotting which stop I should get off – certainly not my stop. Hopefully you never ever see that guy you encountered again, or even his car or hear about him at all on the news.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You must’ve been relieved when he got off the tram. Yes, I sure hope I don’t hear about that guy I encountered. I still keep hoping that I just misunderstood the situation, but I think that’s unlikely.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Lori, I’ve got goosebumps reading your post – this sounds so creepy and wrong. You are right to be suspicious and I’m glad you’re safe. If you think he might have initially thought you were a youngster maybe you should let the police know so they can inform the schools and be on alert. Keep safe! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annika. I wished I would’ve been more observant and gotten his license plate or even the make of his car. I was just anxious to get home. It’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t seen him around. Thanks so much for your thoughtful concern.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi L. Yes, he did seem predatory. Been walking Max since this incident 10 days ago and I haven’t seen him around.

      Looks like we have some nice weather ahead. I hope they’ve got it right. We deserve it.

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  3. Our local area has street WhatsApp and Facebook groups where this kind of thing gets reported. I think it is fairly likely he was up to something. I am not sure how it works in the US but in the UK you can report things like this on the police website and they keep track. Just in case it relates to another case or incident.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Abbi. That app sounds nice that you have there in the UK. I had some commenters tell me that there is a website where I can go to report it. I’m going to sign up for that today.

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  4. Here from Kathy’s blog. We have the Neighborhood group email thingy here which is where we hear a lot of stuff like this. I think I would have reported it, even without the make and/or license plate, just so if someone else reports a similar event they’d have a trend. Glad you have pepper spray. It’s sad that we can’t even walk our dogs these days without being afraid.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Dawn. Others have commented to me about a site called Nextdoor.com where you can report stuff like this. I’m going to check that out. Thanks for stopping over and sharing your thoughts.

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  5. You are making me want to write a blog, Lori. Right now. Not sure it will happen, but you’re inspiring me. So glad you were not a victim. So sorry we women have to go through this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathie. Well, I’m happy to inspire, but I hope you don’t have a scary “prowler” story.

      I think the guy might’ve thought I was a teenager when he first came up from behind. I’m not liking that he could still be prowling the neighborhood.

      Thanks for stopping by (I was thinking of you today).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Lori, I just read a piece on https://broadsideblog.wordpress.com about whether women should travel alone. It’s just so terrible that we always have to be on the lookout for this stuff, travelling or not. What a creep.

    I once had something similar happen. It was about midnight on a Saturday and I was across the street from my house where there was a natural reserve park. It was mid-summer and the grass was really long, so my very large German shepherd was well hidden. When three guys in a car pulled up next to me, put the window down and started hassling me, they got the shock of their lives when my dog jumped up on the open window, stuck her head in and did her really scary fangs and teeth barking. I hope they crapped their pants.

    I’m really sorry to hear that your dog-walking has been spoiled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, how scary for that to happen to you. Thank God for your German Shepherd. I hope she scared the crap out of them, too.

      Max and I were on the sidewalk, with lawn and a curb, between us and the car. It wasn’t dark yet (dusk,) and It’s pretty urban where we were walking. I’ve still been walking him since (it happened a week ago), but it’s on my mind.

      Thanks for sharing that link. I’ll check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’ve got your pepper spray. Don’t go too far for a while and if you do see him again, just make it obvious you are picking up your phone and then make a note of his licence plate. Next time you’ll be prepared and can get the kind of car it was too. My guess is that he’s looking for greener pastures. But it doesn’t hurt to be on the lookout. I was pleased to read that you normally don’t go for walks with your ears plugged up. Always good to be aware of your surroundings. Be careful and you’ll be fine.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m not surprised you were uneasy Lori. I always remember watching and Oprah show about people who had had those uneasy feelings and not paid attention to them and something bad had happened – the point was that we should always pay attention when something doesn’t feel right, even if we don’t know exactly what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is something I’d report on the police non-emergency number. Just giving them a description of the car and what happened is something they’d want to be aware of. Do you use NEXTDOOR.com? This is a great site where neighbors can report things just like what you experienced. I’m a non-trusting person, so I would have assumed he was up to no good.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jill. Yes, I pretty much assumed this guy was up to no good, but I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to be afraid to walk in my neighborhood. I thought about reporting it to the police, but I felt I didn’t have much info to give them. I could describe what he looked like, but I didn’t get the make or model of his car, nor his license plate, and I kicked myself for that when I got home.

      Thanks for the info about Nextdoor.com. It looks familiar. I think I was on that site once when we first moved here. I wonder if I have a password for the site.

      P.S. I do have pepper spray handy when I’m out and about.

      Like

      1. Nextdoor is great to keep up with what’s happening in your area with crime and other issues. Our local police and representatives will post information relating to crime, road construction, etc. Plus it’s a great place to sell things, too. You could even advertise your editing business.πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi, Lori. Lyn from Florida here. No, you didn’t misunderstand. Yes, your safety was most likely in danger. We as women all too often rationalize and think the best of people, which makes us easy targets. It’s a good thing Max was with you and gave a warning growl. The man may have initially mistaken you for a pre-teen or teen, especially with the earbuds. You did the right thing for the situation. He probably hesitated and re-evaluated once he realized you were a grown woman with a protective dog. I’m glad everything worked out to your favor. But please be careful in the future. Any lone, strange man in a car stopping to talk to a woman with no one else around is always suspect and should be treated as a possibly dangerous situation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Lyn. Yes, that’s what I thought from the beginning. I wanted to find a plausible explanation so as not to be scared walking in my neighborhood, but I pretty much figured he was up to no good. When I got home I wished I would’ve gotten his license plate or at least the make of his car so I could tell the police. But, since I didn’t have anything to go on, I didn’t report it.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. James R.? What? What does Yt mean? Are you asking me if this is a work of fiction for my blog? I sure hope you don’t think I’m lying, because this really happened. I have a witness, and it wasn’t just my dog. The person on the phone with me heard everything.

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      2. So, I’ve been thinking about this obscure response, and I’m wondering if it has to do with the Jussie Smollett thing that is back in the news. I’m not a good actor to fake it like him.

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