[Special Note from Jodi: A friend sent me this link over the weekend. I had no idea this picture was taken. I do read this person’s blog but don’t know her so I’m kind of stoked that she paparazzi’d Roan and me. Check it out here.]
Quiet Weirdos in Public
I got an interesting email this weekend. A story about trying to do the right thing, when the right thing to do could be a little dangerous, a lot scary, and isn’t actually even all that obvious if it is the right thing to do.
It begins this way:
“So I was on the train today going into the city and a few stops on, some people got on including a guy about 40-45 or so and a girl anywhere from 17 to 22 (it’s hard to say) she had on jeans and a jacket & scarf and lots of eye shadow, but not too different than any other young Spanish girl. The guy sat next to me – she sat across from us. He had a new iPhone and I glanced over -I thought he was watching a video. Turns out he was taking a picture of the girl. I was really uncomfortable about it and I stared at him with a scowl on my face. He turned and looked at me and started playing with other features of his phone.
I was steaming and I didn’t know what to do, he kept staring at her and I thought “It’s not illegal to take a picture, but WTF, why was he taking her picture (umm, yeah)?!? I knew I would be mad at myself if I didn’t say anything and if he got off after her, what then?”
Let me ask before you read further: what would you do? Think of your answer before you read on. Do you confront him, do you warn her, or do you remain quiet and scan the news later that night for the resolution of the story? Clearly this guy is creepy as hell. But do you intervene? Should you?
She goes on:
“We got into Manhattan and he put on the camera again. He sneakily held it up to take her picture and I said, very loud ” Do you know her?” She looked at us and he quickly turned off his phone. I said “Why are you taking pictures of her?!?” He said “I’m not, who the [redacted] are you?” and I said, “You’re a [redacted] pervert, get off the train!!!” He said “No way!” and I took his picture – he waved and smiled for the picture and said – “Here what you want MY picture for?” I said “To give the police so you are a known pervert!” The girl told the guy “You freak get the hell out of here!” he wouldn’t go. I screamed, “This guy is a pervert!” – and pointed at him. He sat there and I was shaking.
The girl thanked me and we acknowledged that no one else seemed to care and she got off the train. I got off at 6th and he did too but went the other way. As soon as I got off the train, I called [my boyfriend] and sent him the picture in case anything was to happen.”
I think it’s easy to read this from the safety of my couch and imagine the things I would have done. I’d like to say that I would have helped to protect the girl in some way. It probably would have been a less aggressive way, because I’m scared of weird men. Truthfully if Roan were with me, I’d have done nothing. If I were alone, I don’t know. It’s possible that I still would have done nothing and chalked it up to self-preservation.
But I do respect where this reader was coming from, and what she was trying to do. She’s not self-righteous about the event, and knows that it could be that she shamed an innocent guy. She asks at the end of her email, “What if… just what if… I was wrong? And I screwed that guy’s day up real bad? I am still angry and I know it’s silly… what do people do in that situation?”
I don’t know the answer. Do you? What if the girl being photographed was your daughter/wife/sister? Does that change your answer?