Mom Instincts. Don't knock 'em.
Today I took my sweet little 2-yr old to get ice cream at a quaint little old-fashioned ice cream shoppe in our small town. It was late afternoon, and not a busy time for the little shoppe.. we were actually the only patrons in the shoppe other than a single, late 30-ish/early 40-ish man sitting at one of the 3 little wrought-iron interior tables. I placed our order with the nervous-looking ice cream scooper (not sure what the actual job name would be). She looked to be no more than 16 yrs old, and was obviously somewhat new to the role - as I asked what a 'coffee frappe' was, and she had to go look it up on her 'cheat sheet'.
She quickly put together Maya's strawberry ice cream with extra sprinkles, so I sat at a table to allow Maya to begin eating, while the girl worked on my drink and a salad I ordered to go (sounds odd, but they have the BEST salads). It took the girl quite some time to complete my order - I seriously think it must have been 10 minutes. During this time, the single man seated at the far table (not very far, as there were only 3 and I thankfully selected the furthest table from him) sat and stared at the ice cream scooper girl. It was very odd. He did not say anything to her.. simply sat and watched her work. He was not eating anything.. he had an empty coffee cup and an unread newspaper in front of him. He didn't look like he was just 'spacing out'.. he really was watching her.
Eventually he got up and approached the counter - and asked the girl for another coffee. She was busy making my salad, so it took her a couple of minutes to get to it.. and he stood by the counter waiting. I now had complete heebie jeebies from him, and he was standing silently behind me. The shoppe was so small that I could hear him breathing a few short feet from me, and I was completely freaked out. I started wondering if I should move my seat so that I faced him.. as I was worried that he was staring at my daughter in the way that he stared at the girl. Maya kept looking at him, but didn't say anything to him.. so I don't know if he was watching her or not. I swear, instincts were kicking in and I was feeling a bit of that 'fight or flight' mode kicking in. I felt suddenly like we were very alone and that the area was deserted. The shoppe was bizarrely quiet.. other than my chit-chat with Maya.
So FINALLY he rec'd his coffee and sat back down.. again staring at the girl. I was finally able to pay my bill and leave the shoppe. On our way out of the shoppe, Maya was feeling the effects of her ice-cream-sugar-high, and was saying 'dog-dog! dog-dog!' which she does when she is hyper.. usually she is chasing the dog at the time. As we pass the strange man, he says (while staring at Maya and never looking at me), 'You have a beautiful daughter there'. I said 'thank you' and continued toward the door. Maya decided to stop in her tracks, smile, and chant 'dog-dog' at him.
He smiled at her and said 'are you saying you want to be a go-go dancer when you grow up?'.
OK. THAT was inappropriate, wierd, bizarre, and frightening. I grabbed Maya's arm and we bolted out of the shoppe. I sat down with her a few feet from the entrance to finish our ice creams. I was considering going back to make sure the little ice cream scooper was ok.. but after ~5 more minutes, Mr Heebie Jeebie left the shoppe and moseyed past us, down the street.