I keep thinking about this "encounter" I had yesterday with Scarlett at the playground. No, no, no, this isn't another post about some jerk kids and their jerk moms - this one is very different. Scary different. It keeps popping up in my mind so I figure I'd better write it down.
Yesterday I wanted to take Scarlett to a different playground - we frequent three but I wanted a change. I drove around through a few neighborhoods looking for a new spot for S to swing. After several misses, I came upon a big, open, sunny field and an oddly shaded playground. It was in the middle of a neighborhood with houses on all sides. There were big trees hanging over the actual play area. Figures. I can't explain it very well but I got this feeling... just a weird eerie feeling - but we got out of the car anyway.
We walked over to the play area first - while I kept hearing myself say, "Let's go play in the sunny grass!" S wasn't falling for it - she wanted to climb. I noticed too many spiderwebs on the steps and slides. Vomit. Scarlett was having fun climbing through the long tunnel and shooting down the tunneled slide. Up and down we went. But I couldn't shake that feeling. We were semi-secluded. Why didn't I park further over in the lot? Why did I park RIGHT by the playground on the street? Why didn't I want to get out of the car? I managed to walk Scarlett away to the sandy swing area. Of course she wanted to sit and throw sand for a few. It was at that moment that I noticed The Guy. "Oh, you silly girl, you have to get filthy don't you?" I playfully asked Scarlett while taking her hand and guiding her further away. The Guy was now sitting on the bench. "Let's go run in the grass, come chase me!" I enthusiastically ordered her. That lasted about a second and she was headed back to say hi to The Guy. I was very hesitant. I said a nonchalant Hello and Scarlett took it from there. While I sized up The Guy- Scarlett told him how she was at the playground and how she had two sticks and how she went down the slide - he wasn't even looking at her. The Guy was about my age, heavy-set, with dark circled eyes and he just appeared to be "off." He seemed very odd, anti-social, quiet in a not-so-normal way. In this huge park with tons of benches why would he wander over to this area and sit right by us on that bench facing the playground?? He flat out gave me the creeps. At this moment, as my heart started racing, mosquitoes started to eat me alive! Mosquitoes at 10 am. I've never! I grabbed Scarlett saying, "Oh my goodness, Mama is getting eaten up by bugs - we have to go!" And we dashed to the car. I noticed a mail truck had pulled up by the fence and the mailman was sitting and watching us. Was he worried too?? As I buckled Scarlett into her seat, my back to the playground and The Guy on the bench, I kept thinking, Holy shit this guy could come up behind me right this second and bash me over the head or drag me away!! I am by no means a paranoid person but I was semi-terrified. We drove away and I said, "I didn't like that playground, did you?" and Scarlett said, "No."
I vow to you, friends, I will NEVER, EVER do that again. I will never put my child or myself in an unfamiliar area where I do not feel comfortable. I should have gone with my very first instinct which was to keep on driving. I should have never gotten out of that car. God only knows what could have happened. Those mosquitoes could have been a sign. Sure, The Guy could have been completely innocent and a perfectly nice person but that scenario woke my ass right up. Safety first, forevermore.
I will absolutely stick to our top three playgrounds from now on. Scarlett has fun there every time and I feel safe. That's all that matters.