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The Sunday Squirrel: traffic encounter

I was behind the wheel of my husband's car, stopped in the left turn lane of a busy intersection in downtown Fairfax. A glance in the rearview mirror showed the driver of a white pickup truck behind me now walking toward my car, her gauzy drawstring blouse billowing in the breeze.

Was something wrong? Was a rear light out, or something stuck to the bumper? Maybe the trunk was open and I had failed to notice somehow. Concerned, I rolled down the window and looked questioningly at her.

She leaned over, graying brown hair pulled into a loose ponytail that flopped over her shoulder. “I wanted to talk to you,” she said with a smile pointing toward the rear of the car. “I noticed you went to Arizona. So did I. I thought we could connect.”

Huh? I recall the license plate ring I bought for my husband a few years ago that advertises his alumni status. Yes, we did go to Arizona, but she wanted to talk about it now? In the middle of traffic?

Maybe she was on something. Or not on something she should be on. Either way…

“I don't think so,” my husband says from the passenger seat.

We share a confused look. I glance at the light, wondering when the green arrow will come, my hand poised on the window button.

The woman smiles again. “I wanted to connect with someone from U of A. Maybe I could follow you and we could talk.”

Completely flabbergasted and unsure what to say, I blurt, “We're not going home.” I lied.

“Yeah,” she says. “I could just follow you to wherever you're going.”

I look at my husband again, wondering what I've missed. It's one thing to stop and chat briefly with someone wearing a t-shirt or ball cap from your alma mater if you're at the gym, or maybe a fast food place. But to get out of your car in busy traffic and try to “connect” with someone seems insane to me.

And more than a little creepy.

I glance at the traffic light again. The arrow is green. Yes! I point to it. “We have to go.”

“But–” The rising window shuts out her sputtering as I drive away from her frown.


The above squirrel is based on an event that happened to me and my husband earlier today. I'm still shaking my head in confusion. Have you ever had an odd encounter?

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  1. Reply

    Ah, you gotta love Northern Virginia! Maybe she was just lonely, and wanted a sense of connection in a geographic area where everyone is from somewhere else. But I wouldn’t risk connecting in DC area traffic. Yikes!

    • Reply

      I thought about her being lonely. I’m just not sure that’s how a sane person would go about “connecting”. I know there’s an alumni group in the DC area. That seems easier and safer! 😉 Weird.

  2. KM Fawcett


    As a self defense instructor, my first reaction was that she wanted to do harm. Who the heck would follow someone so they could talk? You can’t take any chances these days. Better to be safe than sorry and get away from the situation as quickly as possible.

    My second thought was… maybe it was a reality TV show with hidden cameras.

    The thought of her being lonely and wanting a friend never even entered my mind. I guess I’m too suspicious.

    • Reply

      Yeah, Kathy, I didn’t know what to think. She was older and didn’t look threatening, but I’m never going to go someplace with a stranger like that.

      I only thought of her being lonely after we drove off, but mainly I figured she was a little nuts. Strange.

  3. Reply

    Holy heck! That’s VERY odd for NOVA. I’d still be shaking my head too. Have to say that’s the first time I’ve heard of that happening in our area.

    Welcome to VA. Please don’t feed the loonies.


  4. Reply

    Sooooo creepy!
    I didn’t know that our area had sociable people lol lol lol you know what they say about Washingon DC… lol
    I am glad you escaped this woman lol lol

    • Reply

      It was creepy, Mirella, but you’re here, so obviously we have sociable, friendly people. 😉 Anyway, my biggest concern was that the woman would follow us. Thankfully, she didn’t.

  5. Reply

    Okay, that’s creepy in a really hilarious way. I mean, I would have paid money to see the look on your face, Gwen, when she said she wanted to connect! 🙂

  6. spleeness


    Oy! Lonely or not, that she displayed no clue with social norms is cue to worry plenty. Someone that unhinged just can’t be trusted. I’m glad you sped off!

  7. Reply

    She is crazy, not in a funny way, In an insane way. People like that are desperate and lonely and reaching out for someone, anyone.

    People like that will do ANYTHING, I would get the hell away from them fast.

    Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if she had some human parts in her fridge, just saying.

    Sounds compulsive too.

    She may have been an old girl friend of mine, very PSYCHO! She seems to fit the description. And I have a lot of them floating around. If you see her again, tell her I need some of my 80’s cassette tapes back.


  8. Marie Pannone


    Wow! She did sound a bit desperate. Perhaps being older, she isn’t comfortable w/ or doesn’t know how to connect in some of the newer techy ways. If so, I can relate a bit, since I felt a bit desperate this a.m. at home alone trying to post my first pics along w/ status on FB. I quickly tried to reach out to one FB friend by phone but to no avail. (I’ll only get better I’m sure.) Sounds like you are good at setting healthy boundaries-and being quick thinking on your feet…I mean seat!

    • Reply

      I know what you mean, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t stop traffic. Not that way! 😉 You’re doing great with FB. I’m sure you’ll figure it out. If not, get those boys to help!

      Thanks for commenting!

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