Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bob Don't Stalk My Daughter

One of our new Canadian friends and the Eldest
We arrived at the beach on Saturday and the kids soon began making friends. While Dad and I set up camp they were out and about exploring the campground and getting acquainted with the bazillion other kids that were there. It was great!
On Sunday, as Dad and I relaxed over an evening beer, the Eldest came back with Wallene and asked if she could attend a bonfire on the beach that evening with a new friend she had met, Bob. Dad and I said that would be fine as long as we met Bob first and Wallene went with her. [There are several bonfires on the beach each night and we were within 100 yards of where she would be.] She brought Bob back to our site and we had a pleasant chat with him. He seemed like a polite, nice kid.
The first red flag went up when Pooldad and I went to light the grill. The kids were helping us by acting as a windblock by standing around the grill, Bob included. As Pooldad went to light it Bob whipped out a lighter and said "Here, let me help." Now, perhaps you don't find it odd that a 16 year old has a lighter, but it seemed not quite right to us. So I asked Bob, innocently enough "Oh, so do you smoke?" He replied "No, I collect lighters." Okay. I guess.
The grill was lit and the kids left to go play at the arcade. When the girls returned for dinner the Eldest seemed a bit bothered and over dinner explained to us that Bob had told her he was recently released from rehab for drug addiction and had been clean and sober for a little over six weeks. While Bob does deserve praise for beating his addiction we explained to her we also noticed this made her extremely uncomfortable. She asked us to help her decline their bonfire date later that evening. Not having that many "dates" before she didn't want to appear rude or hurt his feelings, but she really didn't want to go with Bob now.
Bob was due back at 8 pm but managed to visit us 3 times while we were trying to prepare and eat dinner. On the third visit Pooldad pulled Bob aside and gently explained that the Eldest would be unable to go to the bonfire with him that night because we had decided to do something together as a family - there was a camp activity planned. He said okay and left. Only to come back several more times that night to chat, walk by or cruise by on his bike.
Now, you have to understand - our campsite was all the way at the front of the campground. There was absolutely no reason for him to be anywhere near our tents except to scope out what we were doing. There were bathrooms closer to his campsite, beach access was 50 yards from us, our road was not on the route to the beach and the arcade, cafe, store and computers were all at the back of the campground from us. Thus he had no excuse to be cruising our tents.
The next day [Monday] was worse. Pooldad and I were up at 6:30 am because [unfortunately] I received a phonecall that was bad news. I was in tears and waiting for a return call to receive an update, but still it was obvious I was crying and Pooldad was trying to console me. Then at 6:35 Bob showed up. He started chatting away, glancing at the Eldest's tent and making small talk. Finding it ridiculous that we are being visited at the crack of dawn by an oblivious teenager Pooldad asked Bob if we could please be left alone at least until 8 am as we had bad news and were trying to decide what to do and we were waiting on a return call. He said he was fine with that and left.
And he returned at 7:00, 7:15, 7:50 and 8 am. The Eldest still wasn't up so we again asked Bob to leave because when the girls awoke we would have to share the news with them and we wanted to be together as a family and really didn't feel like entertaining company. He said he understood and left.
And YES! He returned again at 9:00, 9:10, 9:20 - This went on and on until, finally at 10 am I turned around to see him talking to Pooldad and I lost it. Not the best campground etiquette, I admit, but I screamed "Bob - get out! RIGHT NOW. You have disrespected our wishes and you are seriously creeping me out! GO AWAY." He left then. Pooldad said he was trying to apologize, but I didn't want his apology I wanted him to get a clue and go away.
Unfortunately for us - he continued his bike drive-bys, walk-bys and following the Eldest wherever she went in the park. We spent Monday and Tuesday escorting her everywhere because no matter where she ended up, so did he. It was so strange. Even our Canadian neighbors noticed his behavior and took to walking around with the Eldest. Since they were long term, yearly guests and knew the owners of the campground they made a mention about Bob's strange actions and were assured his family was leaving on Tuesday.
They did depart on Tuesday morning. But I have to say we spent a very nervous day Monday and Tuesday morning around our tent not knowing what he would do if we left. He was really that creepy.
*Of course Bob is not his real name :)


Yvo said...

That is really creepy! I don't blame you for losing it, I probably would have lost it a lot sooner (but then, we know you're nicer than me by miles and miles!). Sorry about the bad news too.

He probably was harmless but at such a young age, he may have been unwittingly looking for one addiction to replace another (a common occurrence in addicts or people with addictive tendencies). ie, he wanted to occupy his mind with something besides not being able to do whatever it was he used to. Commendable perhaps is one way of looking at it, but generally, when you come out from rehab, they strongly discourage starting relationships as it can lead to dependency issues and a new 'addiction' (which can be suffocating for someone who is not recovering, and for someone who is, it can be another way to relapse later).

He's so young... that makes me sad.

(Sorry, I hope I'm not coming off preachy or anything, I don't think you guys did anything wrong, just blabbing about what it sounds like he may have been doing - subconsciously or not.)

Marni said...

Yikes! All kinds of creepy.

Greenmare said...

oh my gosh, hope that didn't sour you on camping. Good job taking care of your daughter!!!!

Phelan said...

Teen boys are so clueless. And yes very creepy. Hope you enjoyed your Bob free days.

Anonymous said...

The nerve of the creep! I don't blame you at all for going after him and telling him to get lost. I would have done the same.

Gail said...

I am afraid I wouldn't have been so nice!

Rudee said...

Yep. Definitely a creep. I hope she didn't exchange digits with him.

Rudee said...

And I'm sorry about your bad news.

Patricia said...

interesting Bob story...in these times today, I'd trust no odd acting teenage boy...
You need to be so very careful in campgrounds where strangers abound...isn't that too bad..and sad?

Barb and Steve said...

You were right in "losing it" with him. Aeems like Bob has a problem with stalking or low self-esteem. I'm sorry you got bad news...

Varta said...

I think you were totally justified.While 16 is young, it's old enough to know what's acceptable behavior and what's not!

Linda and Denny said...

First of all, I'm sorry you lost several days of a splendid vacation to having to worry about a creepy kid bothering your daughter, secondly I'm sorry to hear you had bad news while there.

Certainly you were correct to try to protection the Eldest and it seems you did your best to do it in a polite way. Losing it? You managed to control yourself way longer than I would have.

I hope that troubled young man manages to find himself some help; it sounds like he needs parents like you!