We cut our park date short today. I was walking around the school park snapping photos of birds and trees while the girls played in the park attached to the elementary school. I realized there was a man by his house near the school park screaming some obscenities at the top of his lungs. He walked from his house to his garage and went inside and screamed some more. It sounded like a domestic abuse case so I started watching the man (and given my nature of intervening in strangers’ problems as I have in the past, this isn’t something I think twice about, I just try to see what I can do to help). I couldn’t find any sign of anyone else, yet he continued screaming the obscenities at the top of his lungs. I kept my eyes on him as my middle daughter and I took some pine cones we collected to our car. I became increasingly uncomfortable with his shouting and the words he was using, so I collected the kids to go home. He went back into his house, but after we got into the car, he came back out and started coming toward our car. I was almost going to take some video of him with my camera. He was a good 100 yards off, and the car was running. I watched him as he stopped to pick up something (a rock I suppose) and throw it at us as he continued screaming about a crazy b*tch.
At some point it registered he was screaming at ME. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t screaming about me in the first place, but he definitely started in at me in the end and I’m so glad I didn’t ignore my gut. I’m going to the school tomorrow to let the principal know about it – not that he’s going to do anything about this particular incident, but to let the school staff be aware of it. I’ve never seen the man out in the morning when I drop off the girls, or in the middle of the afternoon when I pick up my middle daughter, but still this incident has left more me a little concerned with how close his house is to the playground.
I haven’t read the book Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker, but I know others who have. Never ignore your gut feeling when something is amiss. This is one time I’m glad I listened to that instinct, especially since I had the three girls to protect and not just myself.
Update: Upon the advice of a friend who is a police officer in a neighboring town, he suggested I let the local police be aware of the man. I did, and came to find out that he’s been reported before for minor incidents of public disturbance since 2001. He’s probably suffering from sort of mental illness, but up until yesterday, really didn’t cause any harm against anyone. I was told that if he were to cause any other problems for us, to call the police to have them come out. I’m going to guess since I’ve never seen him out in the almost 2 years my kids have been going to school, that he’s not a threat to them, but still I will let the principal of the school be aware of the incident.
At any rate, on a happier note, I have some lovely pictures of the pine tree we collected pine cones from with the amazing new camera we have that takes crystal clear up close shots. I think I’ve found a new hobby.