An open letter to creeps

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Male or female, sometimes we travelers encounter creeps. People who wear their impulses on their sleeves so to speak, and do so in exchange for respectfulness.

While I’ve been very fortunate in my travels, maintaining an almost empty list of “creeps met while traveling”, it sucks when it happens. Any kind of creep and any kind of creepy deeds. I’m being vague on purpose because I want to eradicate the notion that a person who has been disrespected needs to quantify to what degree, in order to validate the way they feel. If someone was a creep to you, it sucks and it’s not your fault, and you’re allowed to feel whatever you feel about it. So I don’t want to be specific.

But I will say this…

An open letter to the creep on the crowded metro.

Dear Creep,

You should know that we all have influence over the people we meet, and to take that lightly is a great offense…

But, first of all, I want you to know that I wish I would have stomped on your foot a lot harder. Yes, I did that on purpose and yes you deserved a harder stomp. I hope you know that already but if you don’t, I’m telling you now. That it’s not ok to be a creep on a crowded subway. Nor anywhere else. Shame on you.

Do you know what this means, Creep? It does not mean all of the stupid things that you probably had in mind. It does not mean, for instance, that I am less valuable. And it does not mean that you are more powerful. You are weak against your stupid impulses, in fact.

Here’s what it does mean, Creep. It only means that you are creepy instead of respectable. You could have been respectable, but now you are a disgusting creep. It’s a shame and it is entirely your fault.

Do you know what else, creep? You are not going to scare me away from what I love. You are not going to keep me from traveling. To your country or any other. And if I can help it, you won’t scare me away from crowded subways either. I don’t want to give your influence any power over my travels what-so-ever, not even whether or not I take the subway. The subway is convenient and it’s ridiculous that you, the creep, could take it unthinkingly and I, the respectable one, would take it with insecurity. I’m not granting you that. I’ll be reasonably smart and cautious as always, but I won’t be scared.

Why not? Because you are one creep. But the gems I’ve met who outshine you, also outnumber you. They fill their homelands with beauty and conversation that calls me back again and again. Their influence is louder than yours. And yes, so much more powerful. You are just a creep who gives his influence so little value it becomes negative. But I will not grant you any power over what I love. You won’t change my mind about travel, nor people…nor the subway.

But you should know that you could… You could scare someone away from what they love and that is such a terrible offense. And it would be all your fault. Shame on you. 

When I stomped on your foot, I was trying to say all of that. I should have stomped harder.

Creep, we will both keep taking the subway. But next time I will stomp harder. And maybe next time you will choose not to be a creep.



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