Sometimes drunk people are funny. Sometimes not so much.
I had an errand at the grocery store today and, for several small reasons, I went to a store out of our area. On the way in, a man asked me if I was a registered voter. This man was not holding a clipboard like he should have been – usually these people have little tables set up, but at the very least they are holding one or several clipboards and pens. This man? Was totally holding a beer. It was cleverly disguised in a paper bag, though, so I think I was supposed to pretend I didn’t see it.
I, on the other hand, was carrying a ginormous four-year-old with a mild (so far, knock wood) head cold who was still groggy from a nap, and was hurrying after a seven-year-old with an unpredictable gut who had to use the restroom. So I just walked in without signing the man’s
beer petition. I mentioned to the first employee I saw that he maybe would want to check out the situation and he assured me he would.
But I guess he didn’t.
We walked to the car and, as I was buckling the son in, I realized the man had followed us to the car. Still without a clipboard, although he had put the beer down (or finished it) but I could smell it on his breath. He asked me again if I was registered to vote and I told him no. Which is a lie, but it was code for, “Get the fuck away from me.” I don’t remember exactly what happened next – maybe he asked me why – but I ended up asking him, “Would you please leave me alone?” He told me no, and made himself firm on his spot. At this point, I began panicking inside, wondering how far this would go, but he turned and left.
I closed E’s door, and walked around the van to close the other door when he started yelling at me. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I responded with pointing out that he had no paperwork, and that he was, in fact, drinking. He didn’t like that very much and told me he wasn’t. I reminded him that I had seen the beer in his hands (really, alcoholics? does it make sense to blatantly lie like that? WTF?). At this point he mumbled a threat at me (well, it started out as yelling, and ended as a mumble), wrote down my license plate number, grabbed his beer and clipboard (it existed) from where it had been placed around the corner, well out of view, and walked off.
I tried calling 911 during all this, but first my iPhone wasn’t working (it’s been doing this lately), and by the time I got hold of someone, he’d left and there was no point to the call, really.
The kids are upset, as am I. The Daughter grilled me the whole way home about why this happened and how safe we are. The Son reminded me that “the man said he would not go! He said ‘STAY!’ I don’t love that man.” I feel shaky and vulnerable. And pissed. I intend to let the store manager know why I won’t be shopping there again.
I don’t think I handled any of it very well. I should have been more assertive, more bold. More peaceful. But what’s done is done.
In my life, I am constantly comparing myself to my mother – making sure to keep myself sane. And this is exactly the type of situation that my mother would involve herself in, but in a crazy sort of way. Like the time she called the cops because Brake Depot tried to overcharge me. Or the time that she called the cops because she saw a tire on the side of the road and decided it was a bomb. Even though this thing happened to me today only about an hour ago, I have replayed it dozens of times in my head to make sure I wasn’t being crazy. I don’t feel that I was.
What I need now is a nap. And maybe a hug.