In a scarier incident, my aunt was in the parking lot of the Wildwood Wal-Mart when a stranger approached her and demanded a dollar. She said no--I don't know how to explain it in print, exactly, but you know how there's asking people money and then there's threatening ways of asking people for money? This was one of those Prelude to a Purse-Snatching ways. Something you need to know about my aunt, by the way: she's an inner-city kindergarten teacher, and she doesn't put up with shit. "I think you can give me a dollar," he says, edging closer. "I think you need to get a job," she fires off. He edges closer: "I think you're going to give me a dollar." My mother's telling me this story and I'm kind of freaking out at this point, but fortunately, one of the Wal-Mart employees came up to my aunt and said, "Ma'am, is this man bothering you?" And then the employee recognized the man, because he had just tried to snatch someone else's purse a few minutes earlier and they were still looking for him. This is all in the middle of the day, by the way.
"It's the economy," my mother said. "People are having to choose between food and gas, they just can't pay for both. They're getting desperate."
Well, then there's the other thing that happened to my cousin--same aunt: her daughter. My cousin was walking home and parted ways with a friend a street or so away from their house, when she noticed this white SUV was following her. Like, really closely. Really slowly. All the way up her street. My cousin has a very small build, so she often looks younger than she actually is (she's graduating high school this month, but she could probably pass for early teens if you weren't looking closely); maybe the creep in the car thought she was a much younger girl, I don't know. Maybe he didn't care. So this SUV follows her up the street, and she's freaking out this point, so she runs up her driveway, and the car follows her what the hell. Like, up this long steep hill to her back door. Fortunately my cousin was able to get in safely, and the car fled, but what the hell? The world is a scary place, and you can't always blame it on the economy.
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