This is a philosophy that has kept me from being kidnapped and murdered over the years, but I also know there are times when not every stranger is a danger.
As an introvert who’s working on being more social, I understand that I’m never going to meet new people if I refuse to ever speak to them.
So when I’m out on a run or a walk, I will say hello to the people I pass on the street.
Of course, these are very brief encounters, and I am already on the move to help prevent being snatched up and thrown into a windowless van, so I don’t consider it very risky.
After an encounter I had yesterday morning, however, I might want to go back to my strict no talking to stranger policy.
It was about 9am, and I was out on my morning run.
There was a light rain falling.
I was on one of the busiest streets in town, but there is a wide shoulder, so the traffic doesn’t bother me.
I run against the flow of vehicles, so that I can always see what’s coming at me, and have the ability to jump up onto the sidewalk to avoid danger.
I’m just running and minding my own business. Enjoying the quiet. Thinking that the rain is very refreshing.
I hear a car coming up behind me, and then in my peripheral vision, I see it pull abreast with me and then stop.
So this vehicle has just stopped on a very busy road.
The driver, a blonde woman who I would guess is in her fifties, yells out to me, “You wanna beer? It’s gonna be a hot one!”
I blurt out, “No thanks”, and offer a “Please leave me the @#$% alone” smile, and just keep running.
She cackles like a witch (clearly an evil one) and then speeds off.
There are so many thoughts zigzagging around in my head at this point. They include, by are not limited to:
What the @#$% just happened?
Who’s stops a car on a busy street to offer a total stranger a beer?
Who is drinking a beer at nine in the morning?
Who drives around with beer in the car to give out to strangers?
Why would someone trying to be healthy want a beer?
Who chats up a runner from a vehicle?
Did she have any Snapple?
What might be even crazier, is that the Beer Witch, as I will forever think of her, wasn’t the first stranger in a car this week to stop me during a run to chat me up.
On Tuesday, when it was much hotter, an old man, who had to be in his seventies, pulled up next to me to ask directions.
Plus he was just this sweet, little old man.
That’s probably what all his previous victims thought before he brutally murdered them…
The really annoying thing was that he was asking for directions to a building that was just up the block from The House on the Hill.
I was so out of it after running three miles in the heat, though, and a little turned around and unclear as to where I was, that I gave him very complicated directions.
What I should have done was told him to crank up the car’s AC, give me a ride, and I’d take him to his destination.
Again, probably exactly what he was hoping for to make it easier for him to kill me.
So I sent him off on a very circuitous route, and got the hell out of there before he could pull out his chloroform or a weapon to force me into the trunk.
What’s the fascination with talking to a complete stranger, who is clearly focused on his run and not looking to strike up a conversation?
These are not two isolated incidents, either. I have been stopped at least a dozen times in the past year for directions.
This, however, was the only time I’ve been offered a beer.
I look like I know my way around, would stop to answer a question, and seem harmless.
But people should know better.
The sweaty, exhausted runner is a perfect disguise for a serial killer seeking his next victim.
Didn’t anyone ever teach these people to never talk to strangers???