Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't I know not to talk to strangers??

Last Sunday in church, an older gentlemen I had never met before came up to me after the service and said, "If you give me your name and address, I'll send you a written invitation." He had just been speaking with DH who walked away, so I assumed this guy had said something to him about asking me this. I asked him what the invitation was for and he handed me folded up wadded stack of about 3 sheets stapled together. I flipped through it and it looked like a handout/worksheet with questions that had not been filled out. I asked again what it was and he said, "Toastmasters." I told him I wasn't familiar with what that was, what is it? And he said, "Public speaking."

Now, although I had never met him before, I figured he was one of the older folks in our church - there are several I've never met or only met once. And he had just been talking to DH, so I thought HE was clued in on what was going on. For some reason, I assumed this guy had told DH he wanted my address and DH had agreed. Which is why he walked away. All was well. So I gave the guy my address. After all, we're in church, that should be a pretty safe place, right? (do you like my foreshadowing, btw?)

After I finished writing my address, I stood there holding his pen (trying to give it back) as he explained that he would be at Golden Corral (an eating/entertainment type place) on Tuesday evening at such-and-such time. Then he abruptly turned away and began speaking with two gentlemen (who I know are in our church). I stood there a moment, wondering if he was going to come back, thinking it might be rude of me to just walk away. But DH was on the other side of the sanctuary, gesturing for me to come so we could go get LB and get some lunch. So I walked away.

DH and I discussed the guy as we were walking out and it turned out that DH did NOT know he wanted my address. As a matter of fact, the guy wouldn't have spoken to DH at all had DH not said hello to him first! Upon seeing him walking down the aisle after the service, DH thought the same thing I had: an older gentleman in our church whom we hadn't met. So he said hello. The guy stopped and asked DH, "Do you know me? How do you know me?" The conversation didn't last long and then DH walked away. He had no idea that this guy apparently had a purpose in talking to me. I was rather upset. Looking back on it, I felt preyed upon. This guy had obviously come in from the outside, saw me on stage (remember I'm part of the worship team), and decided to ask for my personal information. And like the naive girl that I try not to be, I gave it to him. I felt DH should have been there to protect me. So I prayed that the guy wouldn't use my address in any strange way. (Can you imagine him showing up at my door while DH is at work and it's just LB and me at home? THAT'S why we have a peephole! They're not installed by the builder, but we paid a guy to put one in. Custom placed for my height too.)

Then yesterday an envelope arrived in the mail with this letter inside (click to enlarge):

So the guy wasn't completely off his rocker: there really IS some program going on at Golden Corral next Tuesday. But look at that handwriting. It looks like it was written by either a 10-year old or a 90-year old (or someone who had suffered a stroke perhaps). And the envelope had two stamps on it. Two stamps of 28 cents each. With no return address. I'm a little comforted that he told me the truth when he asked for my address. I'm a little disconcerted by the binder paper. But he did put quite a bit of effort into it! Even gave me HIS address. (We looked it up: within walking distance of the church). Yes, I blacked his address out. Just because I'M silly enough to give my address to strange men doesn't mean I should post HIS address on the internet for ALL the weirdos. (See how I flatter myself that I should worry about weirdos visiting my blog!)

So I think this story ends well. Nothing horrific happened. I figured out later what I SHOULD have said. As soon as he asked for my address I should have ignored the question and said something like, "I don't believe we've met. Are you a member or been attending here long?" And then if he continued to press for the address I should have gracefully declined. But at the time, I was operating under false assumptions (namely, that DH knew what was going on.) In the future I'll be prepared! And no, I'm not going to the "program". We looked up Toastmasters online. It does exist and it IS public speaking. But the list of events does not show anything at the Golden Corral next Tuesday at 6pm (perhaps he's senile and is inviting me to some event that USED to take place). Besides that, I'll be out of town, having flown out that morning for CA!

graphic signature

No comments: