I was sitting in the reading room of my local library the other day, reading one of the eight or nine books I'd picked off the shelves. It was nice to get out of the house and away from the kids and all my other usual stuff. Some guy came and sat by me in the easy chair across from me and got out his laptop and started tippy-tapping away at it. Which was fine with me. Until he looked at me, out of the blue, and said, "You're quite the reader, aren't you."
I mean, really. He said that. Like he was talking to a little kid: He left out the word "little," as in, "You're quite the little reader, aren't you," but it was there in his voice.
I was really reading, not paying attention to him at all, only looked up because he was obviously speaking to me. He gave me one of those hokey smiles and waited for me to say something.
Maybe you can imagine some of the responses that came to mind but not to my tongue. I was thinking, "And who are you, the book bogey man?" Or maybe, "Ew!" (as in Michelle Obama with Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell last week). He was so gross, and so obviously trying to start a conversation whether I was interested or not, I wanted to say, "Is this your idea of a pickup line? Because, dude, it ain't working."
I'm proud of myself for my restraint, though: I just smiled vaguely and looked off into the space to the side of his head and said, "Mmm," and went back to my book.
But what would YOU have done, Madame L?
Dear Crept Out,
Ha ha! Get it? Crept out? Madame L thought you would enjoy that little joke. Of course the past tense and past participle of "creep" are usually "crept," and if you'd written that, Madame L would have thought you crept out, away from the weird guy. However, in the way you have used the word "creep" here, the past tense and past participle are "creeped."
In any case, Madame L applauds you for your restraint. Congratulations for being so polite, yet not giving in to the assumptions and intentions of a creepy stranger.
Madame L would probably have gotten up and huffed her way out of the library. She may also have said, "Ew!" (Thanks for that reference. Madame L is happy to supply the video for those who may have missed it:)
Dear Readers, do you have any other suggestions --- serious and/or hilarious --- for "Creeped Out"? Please share them by writing a comment (Comment section, below) or by sending an e-mail message (ellemadame [at] gmail-dot-com).
Madame L has been receiving other similar questions recently from her Dear Readers who aren't sure of the polite, appropriate, or deserving way to deal with people who don't get the idea of personal boundaries or otherness in general, and will be answering them in coming days and weeks.
Please keep 'em coming, Dear Readers! --- serious and/or hilarious!
Also, Madame L will share an incident that happened to her recently that made her wonder, "What's wrong with this person?" and ask your advice --- serious and/or hilarious.