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Creepy man in park may be harmless

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Updated: August 1, 2014 8:32PM



Dear Abby: I am a woman in my 30s. Every morning I walk my dog in the park near my house. Each morning I see the same maintenance man in the park and he stares at me in a way that makes me uncomfortable. I have tried saying “Good morning,” but he doesn’t reply and just continues to stare.

I don’t think I should have to stop frequenting the park because this creepy man works there. Is there a way I can confront him about his staring without making the situation more uncomfortable?

— Dog Walker in San Francisco

Dear Dog Walker: Has it occurred to you that the man may be mute, or perhaps doesn’t speak English? Talk to some of the other women who frequent the park and ask if this happens with them, too. There may be an explanation for his behavior, and he may be perfectly harmless.

If you are still uneasy after that, contact the parks department. But I’d hate to see someone lose his job who might be concerned only about whether you’re picking up after your dog.

Dear Abby: When my son visits me, he stays in a hotel with his family instead of in our home. When he visits his parents-in-law, he stays in their home. His in-laws would consider it disrespectful if he didn’t.

He used to stay here before he got married. His siblings and I feel hurt and disrespected, and we also think it is inappropriate. When his siblings visit, they stay at our home.

My wife died 19 months ago. I know if she were here, he wouldn’t even think of staying anywhere else. How should I (and my other children) handle this?

— Proud Dad in Nevada

Dear Proud Dad: The important thing is that they are visiting and sharing good times with you, not where they stay. I’m sure they have their reasons for wanting to sleep at the hotel. At the end of the evening, they may crave some private conversation. Or, your daughter-in-law may feel uncomfortable now that your wife is gone. The way I would handle it is to simply ask them why, without being confrontational.

Dear Abby: When I attended the recent funeral of a family member, I saw someone walk up to the open casket and begin taking photos of the deceased. Then, if that wasn’t enough, the person asked the deceased’s caregivers to pose by the body!

I feel it was in extremely poor taste. Am I wrong? I know I’ll see the “photographer” again at future funerals.

— Baffled in South Carolina

Dear Baffled: In some cultures it is not offensive to take photos of people in their coffins; it is accepted, and relatives cherish these last mementos of their loved one. If you follow that logic, then it’s understandable that having a photo of the deceased with the people who cared for him or her at the end would not only not be in poor taste, but would be desirable. I don’t advise challenging the photographer unless you’re sure everyone else feels as you do.

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