Friday, July 24, 2009
Suspicious or Not, you decide
Weirdness today at the post office.

It was Friday, so I was busy anyway. But, I really needed to get a package in the mail, so I left my desk shortly after 1 pm today.

I parked my car in the lot at the post office. The parking lot was completely empty, so I got a primo spot right in front of the door. Now, this isn't a huge post office. Just a small town one, so the parking lot holds 20 cars or so. Possibly fewer, but more than 15.

I grab my box and go inside. As I'm walking in the door, I notice a Hispanic man (18 to 24 years old) coming my way. I am only about five feet in the door, and he is about five feet from making his exit. I say "hello" and smile at him, but keep walking. I'm nice that way. I think people should greet one another pleasantly, even strangers. (Okay, not the creepy ones. If he/she maxes out your creep factor meter, feel free to scurry past and look away innocently.)

So, I turn the corner and head toward the window to post my package to New Braunfels, TX, but out of the corner of my eye, I notice that the young man has changed course and followed me back toward the desk. He doesn't follow me the entire way, of course. He stops a short way around the corner and turns to the wall to read a poster. Or should I say feigns reading a poster.

The gist of this poster could be gathered in two minutes by a slow reader. I got it in about 3 seconds. Look, it was mostly pictures. But this guy, he stood there pretending to read it for the entire 6 or 7 minutes it took me to complete my transaction.

And, before you start wondering if maybe English wasn't this guy's first language and he was using the poster as a study aid, let me point out two things.

First, a girl knows when she's being watched. She feels it.

Second (and third and fourth), if he was using the poster as some sort of self-quiz, then why did he suddenly decide to take this quiz after I walked by, and why did his quiz coincidentally end the moment I walked past him again on my way out the door. And, why did he react like he'd been caught stealing a cookie from my cookie sheet when I looked at him? (I'm a mother, I recognize this expression.)

Now, before you start to flatter me and say something to suggest that if he was observing me that he was probably just, you know, looking at something in the candy store, let me assure you that that can't be it. I was up at five a.m., this was eons after "fresh", ages past good hair, and an hour or two past "prime." I was tired, hungry, and in a hurry. These do not project "hottie" in any language I've ever heard of.

When I sensed that he was following me again, I quick unlocked my car and jumped in, locking the doors up tight before turning the key in the ignition. And then I chided myself as ridiculous. He was full daylight, the parking lot of a federal building...what the hell did I think was going to happen? And yet, I still can't shake the weirdness of it all. So I sat there in my car watching his retreat in my rearview mirror, my curiosity well piqued and my safety now assured.

I couldn't figure out where he was going at first. Remember, mine was the only car in the lot. Maybe he walked to the post office? Nope.

This post office is semi-attached to a sprawling strip mall. Maybe he was parked at a store and walked to the post office after concluding his business in the first shop? That would seem unlikely. You see, his car was parked outside of the post office property, but just across from it in the strip mall lot, nowhere close to a shop.

Imagine an empty shopping mall with four or five anchor department stores and hundreds of acres of empty parking spots. You know how employees park in the far away spots and leave the near spots for shoppers? It was like that. This is a strip mall, not Macy's. This is suburban Madison, not suburban Chicago. There just isn't a lot of demand for parking. Clearly, he was nowhere near any shop, inconvenient to any shopping. The only thing is spot was convenient to was the post office and only in a cop show stakeout sort of way. By that I mean, if you are going to stake out a post office, you probably don't do it from the parking lot.

I believe I was under surveillance. I don't know why. Maybe he's a wannabe spy nutter. Maybe he has a rich fantasy life as Double-Oh-My-Gawd. Maybe he's honing his skills to be a stalker.

The whole thing struck me as the height of bizarre.

What say you? Suspicious...or not?

This isn't the same as when I wake from a deep sleep suddenly, sure I heard something and check the house with my handgun in hand making plenty of noise so the bad guys will run. This was full daylight. Public building. I was fully conscious and not even on an antihistamine.

I did not imagine this.

So I ask again, suspicious...or not?
posted by Phoenix | 10:15 PM


At 7:42 AM, Blogger Feisty said...


Definitely creepy!!

Package to Texas, huh?

; )

Glad you are okay. I have a derringer and will share.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger johnknoefler said...

A mexican lady friend told me that in Mexican culture a woman simply does not greet men. She does not say anything to them unless she just wants attention. To be friendly to men in mexican culture is about like asking to get raped. I don't know if this is true but she is a tough lady. I am 5'5" and she was taller than me and a fighter. So I kinda took her word for it. Of course if anyone doubts this is true then feel free to be friendly to Mexican men. Most of the time maybe nothing will happen. Most of the time....

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Noble Eagle said...

The dude sounds like bad news to me. Better that you skeedaddled out of there. One thing I've learned in life is this: If that little voice in your head tells you that you should be worried, listen to it. The ranks of crime victims are filled with people who went against their own best judgment.

At 2:13 PM, Blogger deb said...

Greetings from Grammy D -- had a similar experience myself. Hispanic did you say? Looking for comparables. Mine was in the library -- came over to talk, and then came over to talk more, followed me upstairs, talked to me some more, found me searching for books, talked to me some more. I tried to hide down a different aisle as I saw he was looking for me again but --- he found me. I felt stalked. Always play it safe. American ain't what it used to be.


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