Why I Creep
I looked up the definition of “creep” the other day. All the verb form gave me was “to move slowly, sometimes on hands and knees.” Truly, that’s all I expected to find. However, I feel an amendment must be added by Mr. Webster in the near future, for my favorite pastime does not involve moving stealthily on my hands and knees but, rather, taking observation to a whole new level.
Moving to New York City brought a lot of fun distractions for a girl from small town Wisconsin. However, the distractions I’m referring to aren’t the typical “co-ed gone wild” type. No, I find myself spending Friday nights and Sunday afternoons walking through Washington Square Park, examining all the unique people going about their lives. I see a mom dragging her son past the fountain he so desperately wants to take a dip in. I see a shirtless man with a beer belly salsa dancing with his headphones on. I see a surprising amount of people feeding the pigeons, sometimes out of their hand, sometimes out of their mouth.
Look, I’m not saying that I’m a stalker or anything. I don’t sit in my room with binoculars like Shia Lebeouf in Disturbia or anything like that. And I certainly don’t participate in any behavior worthy of a restraining order. I just enjoy observing people around me, or “creeping,” if you’d like.
I used to believe this creeping habit was passed down from my father. I remember sitting at home with him as a small child and watching him run to the window every time he heard a car, always out of curiosity of what our neighbors were doing and with whom they were doing it. Boy, would he love to see what my neighbors here in New York do on a regular basis.
It’s probably more likely that I started this little hobby because I was bored beyond belief with my own life. I never truly realize how dull my life is until I try to write poetry or start observing the people around me. The first because it’s really hard to write poetry when I’ve never experienced life-defining love or mind-altering pain or mind-altering pain caused by life-defining love. The second because when I start watching the people around me I begin to notice how many distinctive stories are out there. Sure, my story isn’t the same as the shirtless salsa dancer; therefore my story is distinctive as well, but I guarantee his story is much more interesting.
Either way, “creeping” is what I do for fun. When I’ve got free time on my hands, thanks to Mark Zuckerberg, I hop on my Macbook and hit up Facebook to find out who my ex-boyfriend is going to Homecoming, with without even having to start a conversation with him, or where my sister was last night without her having to know that I know. When I’m on the subway, I listen in on conversations, finding out deeply personal things about people I know nothing about.
I guess to creep one have to know the limits. Watching every move the neighbors make from one’s window is wrong. Following people around to know everything they do is stalking. Creating a fake Facebook profile to “Friend Request” someone to see their pictures, but then realize that they aren’t going to add someone with zero friends, so one must start “friending” random strangers and making more fake profiles for the first fake profile to be friends, is probably illegal. It’s a fine line between too far and just far enough, but it’s a line I’m willing to ride to occupy my mind and keep my curiosity flowing.
While my definition of creeping does not usually involve getting down on all fours and army-style crawling, my creeping is worthy of recognition so we creepers out there can feel acknowledged. There may not be much practical use for this interest I’ve started participating in, but it’s what I like to do and I’m going to keep doing it. And it’s safe to say if I ever decide to write a book I’ve got an arsenal of characters stored away in my memory that would make for some pretty stimulating material.