Me: (sigh, preparing to enter lecture mode) “What happened?”
Girlfriend: “A guy came up and started knocking on my window, pointing at his wrist like he was asking for the time when I was at a stoplight.”
Me: “OK… what’d you do?”
Girlfriend: “I shrugged my shoulders & shook my head like I didn’t know what he was talking about. He wanted me to roll down the window but I didn’t. He stayed there & kept knocking but I just kept acting confused until the light turned green and I could go, even though I was wearing a watch & my phone was in plain sight.”
Me: “Nice! That’s awesome!”
Dealing with an unknown pedestrian approaching your car when you are in or transitioning into it:
What I particularly dislike is when individuals do this type of approach when you have the least amount of mobility, as you are entering your car. I just find it sketchy and I do not engage with them or care what they are asking for.
As a guy, it’s probably just that they are asking for money, for a girl you could add to that option the possibility of sexual interest, either way: car door shuts, doors lock, windows up, safely get/continue moving.
I’m not waiting around to allow an unnecessary encounter that could be a setup for an attack, and I’m not going to take money out in front of someone I do not know. There are plenty of good ways to help people in need that can be done without fixating on your money by digging through your wallet/purse in a stationary, seated, non-mobile configuration (car parked or stopped at a stoplight) in front of a stranger.
Making the message clear:
My body language make the message clear that I am not interested and not open to further communication as I safely make my exit.
My “NO, NOT INTERESTED” gift basket comes packed with the following items:
- hand signal of no or not interested: shaking hand or finger
- head shaking NO
- clear lip-readable mouthing of the word NO
- clear verbal articulation of the word “NO/ NO, I CAN’T”
- not waiting around for rebuttals or a continued approach
The way I look at this, if you include the verbal and non-verbal ways I have communicated, I have said NO four times. If someone persists after four clear messages of NO when you are in a mobility compromised position, be prepared to take action, verbal escalation or even physical action could be required depending on the circumstances and what has developed.
If the person persists, well, usually my car is in careful motion so that it does not matter. It is much harder to get robbed, assaulted or carjacked if your car is moving. If I am not in-action yet, I am ready to escalate or enforce my personal space boundaries- if breached, and make my message very clear.
There are a few incontrovertible rules of self defense. One of them is to avoid interacting with approaching strangers when you are in a vulnerable position; being seated and strapped into a vehicle puts you at risk. Rolling down your window and engaging heightens the risk exponentially. When I get in my car, my goal is to get from Point A to Point B as safely as possible. No texting and no striking up conversations with people at stoplights or loiterers in parking lots. You have nothing to gain from these encounters; it’s just not worth the risk.
Train smart & be safe!
NOVA Self Defense