humor · mental health

Spidey-Sense Tingles

I hope everyone is safe this morning. Our hurricane prep was for naught, but so many were not as fortunate. I listened to scary podcasts while we cleaned, and now I can’t stop thinking about the dangerous situations people get into.

It annoys the crap out of me when I listen to a Let’s Not Meet and hear, “But I didn’t want to be rude.”

Or in my case, always.

How is it possible to worry about etiquette at the same time you worry about your life? Or worse, rape! If I’m in a vulnerable position, there is no contest between rude or murdered.

Let the world think I’m a bitch. Any person who lands at my doorstep probably has years of life experience under their belt. An unpleasant encounter with me isn’t going to break them.

I have always wanted to write a form letter I could hand out during difficult interactions. I think it would be better for myself and others. Instead of worrying about how to get rid of them, I can smile, hand over the letter and walk away. How is that not the perfect solution?

Instead of the person worrying I may be a danger to myself or others, they will have an obviously pre-written letter reassuring them I’m only awkward, not dangerous.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. All I need is, “Hi, I am very sorry I cannot help you, but I suffer from severe social anxiety. If you try to interact with me, I may have a panic attack. Have a great day and good luck with whatever.” It would fit on a business card!

Would that not be preferable to wasting your time on a crazy girl? Then you wouldn’t have to start over when you finally accept I’m hopeless. I just want what’s best for everyone. Why can’t anyone see that.

Jenny Lawson mentions a similar type of letter for her neighbors. I see the similarity here, but it doesn’t count because I have been wanting to do this since junior high.

The only thing stopping me is the overwhelmingly negative response others have toward the idea. They are unanimous it would make situations worse. Victor wouldn’t let Jenny write hers either, and he seems like a really smart guy.

I’m forced to concede they’re usually right about these things. Maybe I’ll try to explain it again, just to be sure. It’s possible they didn’t understand how incredibly polite the letter would be. I don’t feel like I’m overreacting this time.

Seriously, really think about this. People are attacked everyday for countless reasons. We can all agree that’s a fact, yes? Good.

People have a, “that could never happen to me” mentality. I believe it’s because truly dangerous people are just uncommon enough to put us in a false sense of security.

We live in relative safety in day to day life. If a stranger approaches, the default response is probably courtesy. Most people aren’t going to be on alert until multiple red flags tell them something seems fishy. By time you realize something is wrong, it could be too late.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 30 and no one has ever tried to hurt you. It only takes once to ruin your life. Instead of letting that nice man come inside while he waits for AAA, you could say “No. I will not open this door! If you don’t want to stand in a blizzard, go knock on a different door.”

Worst Case: You left a nice man in a blizzard for 15 minutes. He will go home that night thinking, “what a bitch” about the woman who wouldn’t open her door. Then he will forget she exists the next day.

Best Case: The serial killer left to find an easier target. You didn’t die tonight. Congratulations!

Often, predators speak quickly, with a sense of urgency. They do not want you to have time to think. They want you to act impulsively and catch you off guard. If you feel a person genuinely needs help, there are a dozen ways to do so safely.

If a person at your door needs to use your phone in an emergency, you don’t have to open the door. You could make a call on his behalf, for instance.

If the person asking for help becomes outraged you aren’t doing as told, you have yourself a red flag. If the person then asks for something else that would require you to open the door, you have another red flag.

Every child should be made to understand: Adults don’t ask children for help. Nor do they have a reason to keep puppies in their van. If they do, it is a giant red flag. Run away.

Is being rude to a stranger really that horrible? Is it really so unforgivable to say no? Please be safe out there, people. Some random asshole’s opinion of you doesn’t mean a damn diddly.

If you find yourself in doubt, refer to the Golden Rule:

All living creatures have the right to be treated with respect. Any who invade your personal space, temporarily forfeit said right.

In case of emergency, release your bowels. Territory marking is not just just for animals. We may have evolved past it for the most part, but it is a very reliable strategy.

This week’s reading recommendation.

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