Dear Miss Management,
Yesterday, I, a grandmother, found myself attending to my newborn granddaughter in her baby stroller, along with the family dog (whom I have serious issues with but respect for his family tolerance to everyone, including me). Inside, my daughter (the mother and dog owner), my husband (the grandfather), and my granddaughter were making their dairy/sugar Baskin Robbins selections. In a matter of seconds, this random man at the only other outside table approaches, takes an instant liking to the dog, and stands mighty close to the stroller. Immediately, I double my hold on the stroller while I listen to him segway from one story to the next as he too closely approaches the stroller amidst his semi-coherent monologue about this being a good place to wait for a bus, Queen Elizabeth, her ugly dogs, her stay at a local hotel in a room right across from the stairs, how this is a good place to wait for the bus, the color of my daughter’s dog, his US patriotism, how this is a good place to wait for his bus… With each narrative transition, he moves closer to me and my iron-fist grasp on the stroller.
So that’s the scenario that intensified my baby/dog-protective anxieties. Is it OK to just tell these random people to back away? Well, I didn’t think so because he seemed harmless, albeit strange and, as I mentioned, very close. But then, my daughter exits the ice cream haven a bit frantic, quickly ushering me, stroller, and dog away, as she informs me that another patron who waitresses at a local restaurant warned her that this random man is a con artist who — no explanation given — conned one of her restaurant customers out of $2000.
Now, I feel like such a fool for giving him the benefit of the doubt. And, by the way, when I remarried, this daughter called my husband “random man,” as in “My mom married some random man.”
Next time, go with your gut, and get away from the crazy guy — even if you don’t have a grandchild or dog in tow.
And good luck with your marriage to “random man.”