Yesterday as I was walking in to the grocery store to pick up a little cake for Little Man, a wonderfully nice mommy with two kids in one of those truck cart things came out towards me and asked me if I would like her cart. Since I had promised Sunny a ride in the truck anyway I said yes, and she and I chit chatted as she loaded her groceries and kids in her minivan and I loaded Sunny and Nemo into the cart. We talked briefly about how it was a busy time of year for us and a challenge to shop with the little ones, and during the conversation she referenced preparing for the holiday yesterday (Rosh Hashanah began at sundown last night). We said a pleasant goodbye and I headed into the store.
Suddenly a guy appeared six inches away from my side, and saying "Happy New Year*" he flipped a business card between his index and middle finger at me. Startled, I took the card with a perplexed look on my face and he said "If you need a plumber, call me." He then walked into the store slightly ahead of us, but too close for comfort. He kept looking at me with a smile on his face, looking like he was going to start talking to me, or expected me to start talking to him, but he never did and I never did. It was quite unnerving.
Several times in the store he was in the section where we were, but I spent a LOT of time at the bakery counter and I didn't see him leave. I KNOW he wasn't near us when we left. We paid for our stuff, spent 15 minutes loading up the minivan with groceries and kids, and drove away.
As we left the shopping center where the grocery store was, I noticed a white pickup truck with a cap on it pulling out behind me and then turning the same way I went. This in and of itself wasn't a big deal, because the town where I live is heavily populated, big enough that if it incorporated it would automatically become the second biggest city in Maryland. But the truck turned behind me again onto a bigger highway, and due to the experience with No Boundaries Plumber I was disconcerted, so I slowed way down in the left lane so he could pass me.
Those of you who live in the DC metro area know what should have happened then. Slow in the left lane means people go flying past you, usually with accompanying horns and middle fingers flying, maybe a tossed cup of coffee or ice thrown in for good measure. That's what I expected. That's not what I got.
He slowed down to my pace. I sped up. He sped up. I nearly peed my pants.
I turned the corner to go down towards my neighborhood and decided he was, in fact, following me, and I didn't want him to know where I lived. So I turned and drove through a neighborhood and back out onto main roads. He stayed with me for 4 turns before he stopped following me. He never got close enough to me that I could see if it was No Boundaries Plumber, nor could I see the tag number.
I am officially petrified.
When I got home, after checking the rear view mirror eleventy million times, I got everything in the house and locked up. I didn't let the kids go outside, because it wasn't clear to me if the person was after me or Sunny or Nemo, but since I was dressed in my typical day-with-the-kids frump wear I have to assume that he was more interested in the kids than me. I still haven't let them go out front to play today, only out on our deck. I was very careful on my way to and from Sunny's school today to make sure I wasn't followed. I've kept the Plumber's card, and I don't intend on ever calling him. Ever.
I've also lectured the kids and made them watch the Stranger Safety video again and again, and we talked about this and how they are NOT to go outside without an adult escort until further notice. If I could just feel secure that they'll actually follow instructions I'd feel a whole lot better, but I may make them walk with me with leashes until they're 22.
I'm scared to leave the house. Time to move. To Mayberry, maybe. Or North Dakota would be nice, except for all that snow. Anyone know any vacant caves in good school districts?
*I had been super perplexed about why he said "Happy New Year" but a friend has since enlightened me that Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. So, that meant he heard me talking to the other lady and thought I was Jewish. I feel sick that he was obviously hanging around for a while and I didn't notice until he was nearly accosting me. BigDaddyFish told me if I'm ever followed again to take a picture of my rear view mirror with my camera phone, because even if I can't see enough to make out the tag, those in the business can manipulate it so they can.