The Boogey Man Spooked My "Me Time”

A woman's eerie encounter with a bizarre man lurking around at a nature preserve.

I’m Losing It

Boo Hoo

The boogey man spooked my “me time”

-Mary Beth Sammons

woman in the woodsRecently, while I was riding that downward spiral of anxiety, stress and worry, I removed myself from the present moment and fled with my little puppy to a nature preserve near my home.

Picture this: I’m in a mid-yoga moment, soaking in the fresh air and the colorful foliage and the tranquility away from the recent concerns in my life – like my dad being in the ICU for two months and then dying; my basement flooding; my company being sold to a conglomerate and eliminating my department, and my house looking like it went through a nuclear attack – suddenly I hear someone screaming at me from the grove of pine trees.

“What is your dog? A girl or a boy?” I can’t see who is yelling at me, except that the male voice seems to be coming from the grove of pine trees next to me. It creeps me out. Now what? OMG I can’t even take a walk, I think.

I cringe and keep moving as he screams louder at me: “Hey, I’m talking to YOU. Is that a boy or a girl dog?” Over and over, he is yelling this. It is then that I see this creep sitting in the forest right near me juggling a tennis ball from hand to hand. And smirking at me, like ha, ha … Ugh. I freeze in my tracks. But, he doesn’t move toward me, except with his piercing and shrill mantra about my little puppy.

He keeps screaming and smirking. So now I have one of those Robert Frost wilderness moments. Do I keep on trekking my five-mile hike through the woods? Or do I take the road I’ve already traveled and make a beeline out of the woods to the safety of my car? Suddenly, the reality of everything that has happened in the last month hits.

Now I am pissed. Furious. How dare this creep do this? So I decide to call the nonemergency number for the town where this picturesque forest is located – Barrington, Illinois. The clerk snaps at me: “Wrong town. It’s Kildeer.” And hangs up.

OK, now I am really losing it. I am standing in the middle of a forest with a puppy that would probably jump up and lick a prospective attacker (not enough to incite death, and she loves everyone), and the police hang up on me. So, I 411 it and call the Kildeer police nonemergency and get the same answer: “Sorry, that’s Barrington.”

I lose it and practically start crying: “OK, I am calling you to say I am a woman alone in the woods with my puppy and I’m getting screamed at by some creep and warning you of his potential danger to others. And you are hanging up on me? Am I supposed to just read about this in the newspaper tomorrow? When he attacks someone else?” Meanwhile, I realize my Mr. Stranger Danger Screamer is suddenly gaping at me in silence. Boo, scared you, I think to myself. Except I am left holding a cell phone that is silent, and there’s no help on its way.

So much for respite. I turn around, drive home and feel a sense of relief in the tumult of my normally anxiety-ridden life.


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