A Tents Situation

Story Sent in by Malia:

I had known Patrick since college. I had met him while he was dating Catherine, a friend of mine. They were together for a few years before Patrick broke it off to date someone else, on the other side of the country. Patrick had always been very nice to me, but it was hard to forget how he had ended things with Catherine.

Patrick emailed me out of the blue several years later. "I've moved to your area," he wrote, "Want to grab a drink?"

I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. We were all younger back then, and perhaps he felt remorseful for the way he had treated my friend. I also wondered if he was contacting me as a way of reaching out to her. With this tangle of thoughts in mind, we met up at a bar.

I wasn't going to bring up Catherine if he wasn't, and he didn't. Not once. Instead, he focused the conversation on me. It was actually a good talk, and we caught up over the course of a couple of hours. I ended up feeling glad that we had taken the time to meet. Afterward, we went our separate ways and promised to keep in touch. I figured it would be a once-in-a-while kind of thing, and I certainly didn't want to date him.

Not long after I returned to my house and was readying for bed, I heard a sound in my front yard that was like someone hammering the pavement.

I looked out my front window, and there was Patrick, pitching a tent. As I watched, he slid the supports into their external sleeves and up it rose.

I cracked open my front door and said, "Patrick? What are you doing?"

He put the tent down and walked toward the door. "What? This? Oh, I'm just pitching a tent." He grinned, as if that was the answer I was seeking.

"Yes, but why?"

He replied, "I felt like pitching a tent in your front yard. We had a good time tonight, didn't we?"

I said, "Yes, but I think you should go home. How did you even know where I lived?"

He said, "Internet. Anyhoo, I kind of want to stay right here, if that's okay. I'll be out whatever time you want in the morning, although I'd like to come back tomorrow night. Just in the tent, if you don't want me in your house."

He had one drink that night, and certainly didn't seem drunk when we parted ways at the bar. I couldn't figure out what he was thinking, but I said, "I'd like you to leave." He looked back at his tent for a long time, as if asking it for advice on what to do next. I finally said, "Patrick? Did you hear me?

He turned to me and said, "You know, I always thought of you as a hot version of Catherine. Has anyone ever told you that? I just want to camp here. It feels good. It feels right."

"It's illegal," I told him, "And I'm calling the cops if you don't pack up right now."

He said, "I guess you are different from Catherine. Hope no one puts a bomb in your house's foundation. Oh wait, I did that already."

He jogged back to his tent, rolled it up, and carried it down the street. I didn't sleep a wink that night, or very much the night after. Patrick never did contact me again, although just thinking about that night makes me shiver.


  1. This is one of the creepiest things I've ever read on this site.

  2. I wonder how many bad dates would be averted by not thinking this:

    "I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt"


  3. Especially when they're preceded by other lines like, "He told me he'd pay me back soon and would be out of my couch in a week, even though he had no job, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt..."

    Some people need to learn the hard way.

  4. "He asked if I wanted to go to an abandoned warehouse as a 'fun' first date. We had planned on going out to dinner at a busy restaurant, and I had just met him on the internet a week ago, but I thought that it could be fun, and anyway, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt..."

    ...Her body was never recovered.

  5. What Numbers said. Seriously, that's a serious threat; you don't know that he wouldn't do it.

  6. Avoid going out for drinks with the homeless?

  7. I'm a tepee I'm a wigwam.

  8. "Howie Feltersnatch said...
    I wonder how many bad dates would be averted by not thinking this:

    "I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt"


    I wonder how many people that end up spending 10+ years of loving each other would never even meet if people didn't think that...

  9. That... escalated quickly.

  10. At Shattering: excellent rebuttal. Still, in our experience specific to this site, Howie's opinion is a valid one. Hell, I doubt that Jared could have made a site without the phrase "I wanted to give him/her the benefit of the doubt."

  11. Girls: if a guy asks you out for drinks, he considers it a date. Don't go and think to yourself "I don't realy want to date him" or "I just want to see if he mentions our old friend Catherine" or whatever.

    Drinks = date to most menfolk.

  12. I thought 'pitching a tent' was meant to be metaphorical?

  13. ^I definitely thought that that was where he was going with all that nonsense.

  14. Nikki: I will drive across the country and pitch my tent on your lawn.


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