I took J to a different playground in Central Park today. It’s quite normal for an early morning playground to be pretty empty with just a few nannies and even less mummies. So when a middle aged man decides to come into the playground without a child and sit on a bench with his mobile phone it’s no surprise that I was a bit suspicious.
I kept my eye on him for ten minutes and as we naturally went near him, I asked him what he was doing there and pointed out the regulations nearby that say adults must be accompanied by children under 12. He was not happy at being asked and said ‘ooo, creepy’.
Then he starts getting all offended, saying he was waiting for friend who has a child. I said OK, but it is unusual for a man to be on his own in the playground. At which point, I expected him to be entirely understanding and for the conversation to end. But no, he gets up in a huff and says that he will wait outside. He is affronted that I confronted him. He then continues to mutter loudly, but I am too far away and cannot hear, but it’s clearly directed at me.
He’s offended. Really? Is he completely unaware? Did he not see every woman in the playground giving him a concerned look as they kept their kids away?
Interesting that when we left to go to another playground about 20 minutes later, he was still outside the playground having animated conversations (presumably with someone) on his mobile phone. No friend with child in sight. An ordinary guy with a tardy friend or something more sinister? You decide, but for me, leaving that playground was the best thing to do. Creepy guy indeed.