I pulled into a space outside the grocery store and put the car in park. As i did so the doors automatically unlocked. Out of habit, i pushed the button and relocked them. I began untying my lunch bag and spreading the utensils and baggies out on the seat beside me. I did need to go into the grocery store but i also hadn’t eaten lunch. I figured i would do that first as i was hungry and generally less and less functional as the hunger went unattended. Then i would run errands. Before i knew it there was an older hispanic man with silver teeth pressing on the hood of my car. He waved at me through the window. He said something but he was speaking so quietly i couldn’t even tell if it was in spanish or english. He seemed to know me but i didnt know him. He waved to me and looked at me with this big grin of recognition as if i should know who he was. I wracked my brain trying to think of anywhere i knew this man from but i was certain i’d never seen him before. He motioned for me to roll the window down. I played dumb as if i thought he was just being polite and saying hello. I smiled and waved and went back to my food, pretending as if i thought he’d left and gone into the grocery. I had rules against taking possible bait, no matter how populated the parking lot. I didn’t know what he wanted but in my mid thirties i’d lived long enough in this world as a single female to know better than to roll the window down for someone i didnt know and therefore wouldnt have any legit business with. This is a topic i hate speaking on. I dont view myself as a target or easy picking, so its hard for me to swallow that others do. However, to be in denial about the thing is to be unaware, and i’m in the habit of that less. If you are a single female of small stature you are a better target for those with nefarious motives than someone with company or who would be difficult to lift into a van or a truck.
He did leave for a moment. He disappeared between the cars. Then all of a sudden he was back again, this time near the driver’s side window. He motioned for me to open it. I considered that i may be paranoid. Perhaps he needed help jumping his car or something. If he needed help jumping his car, there were plenty of young men walking around the well populated parking lot like ants. Why ask a small woman in an suv, i quizzed myself? There were plenty of men, some exiting work trucks. If he needed a jump, he was mighty fixated on me when there were plenty of others already out of the car who could have helped him. Now a young man in a colorful button up shirt and a cowboy hat returned to the truck parked beside me. He opened the door as if he was going to get in but he didnt. Instead he stood around as if he were waiting for someone. Eventually he did get in the truck but he got in the passenger side of the truck. He seemed to be waiting for the driver. The older man waved goodbye and disappeared walking towards the store. The younger man remained in the passenger side of the truck, glancing at me every so often. I decided to take a long lunch. My gut told me that it was not time to get out of the car. On my phone I fetched an episode of 60 minutes about a drilling company that cut corners and ended up erasing 7 towns off the face of the map in an environmental disaster. As i watched tv and ate i realized the older man with the silver teeth was back. This time the colorful shirt guy had a buddy, presumably the driver. They were both young and fairly good looking, unlike the man with silver teeth. They had both doors to the truck open on the side next to my car and the young men were looking at me now as the older man beckoned for me to get out of the car. I played dumb some more…waved emphatically and then went happily back to my program. I was not getting out of the car. I also wasnt running. I wasn’t going to be scared out of a well populated parking lot into some isolated area where they could hit my car and then get me out in an obligatory way to exchange insurance cards and survey the damage. I stayed in the parking lot watching my program for an hour. Eventually they gave up. They loaded into the truck and drove out of the parking lot together. I ran in, got my five items, checked out, walked briskly back to my car, and left. For them to spend so much overall time trying to get me to roll down the window…i knew it was not just an old friend i didnt remember trying to get my attention and say hi. Such a person would have shrugged and went on with their day. Especially when someone parks beside you and leaves the door open as if they need to retrieve something, yet lingers without doing so…don’t ever get out of the car.