Trust your Instincts -or- This is Why I Carry a Switchblade

I know that I am only 24 years old and many of my readers have decades of life experience on me. That having been said, I have lived my fair share of life, much younger than many people do, and much more than many will. Through experiences good and bad, I always come away with a lesson. The most important of these lessons is to always trust my instincts with people- I am rarely led astray.

Sitting at my local cafe drinking my afternoon coffee with the beautiful sun lighting my skin, I am approached by a well dressed, middle aged Greek man who asks to sit. This is nothing out of the ordinary, and I was in the mood for conversation so I said yes. He introduces himself and we begin a small conversation in Greek before he tells me that he would like to practice his English. We switch to English and because I am more comfortable in my native tongue, I am able to use the rest of my brain to do what it does best- observe.

Firstly, I notice he is constantly scanning the cafe area with darting eyes. This strikes me as odd, and I file it away for future reference. Ahhh, he must have a wife and not want to be seen. So I interrupt him and ask him if he is married. “No, no, I am single” he reassures me. As he continues rambling, he invites me to join him for a drink at the bar around the corner. Again, this strikes me as odd- we are at a perfectly good cafe, and the fact he is nervous here makes me suspicious.

After a total of 4 to 5 minutes he excuses himself and says he must return to work. “Promise me we can have a drink tomorrow… 6 or 7 pm, okay? You must promise!” Normally I would tell this guy where to stick it, but the men of Greece are naturally friendlier and like I said, this is nothing out of the ordinary. “I promise nothing, but I am living here for now, I am sure you will see me again.” This pleases him and he is on his merry way.

The next afternoon I see him driving down the street on his moped wearing one helmet, and with another on the back. Real cute- he thinks he’s gonna get me to ride on his crotch rocket? (Pun completely intended) Sure enough, he drives up to me “ahhh come- we will go for a ride, slowly slowly, I will not go fast!”

I immediately make up my mind about him and decide that I 1) do not want to ride this joke of a moped 2) do not trust this guy as far as I can throw him 3) would be altogether happier if he never talked to me again. However, in a town of 1500 people, it’s best not to make enemies within two weeks of living there. I politely refuse his offer and tell him I am otherwise occupied, but I would see him around.

The next 3 nights ensue in this same fashion, loser on moped or loser on foot, asking me for a drink, a coffee, a walk- just to hang out. I get the creeps from this guy but have no real reason to tell him to shove it. Instead I found myself taking side streets or running into shops and out the back of them to avoid this guy- I couldn’t stand the sight of him, much less the sight of him looking at me.

Today I was with my friend Nicos when “Moped Man” drove by us and beeped his horn. I did the courteous thing and gave him a head nod. Then Nicos said to me “you know this man?” I said “yes! this is the weird guy I told you I have been running from.” He looked at me with what can only be described as disappointment

“Brandy, you must stay away from this man, he is from an outside village and I do not know him.” Later, over dinner, Nicos mentioned to his mother we have seen this “malakas” downtown, and asks her if he is an okay guy. She looked at Nicos- looked at me- crossed herself, and then tells me this man was released from prison not too long ago where he was serving time for raping a young girl.

I didn’t mean to, but I broke out into a smile. I silently thanked my instincts for guiding me correctly again, and double thanked myself for always packing my switchblade. After dinner I decided it was time to head home, after all, it was nearly 1am. I hit the main road and started towards my flat. Soon I heard the piss poor puttering of a scooter, great…

Sure enough, it’s him. Before he comes to a stop I have my knife out of my purse and in the sleeve of my hoodie. “Brandy- why you are going home so early? Let us take a ride on my bike- slowly slowly.” I know I could have just said “not tonight” and walked the 3 blocks home in complete safety –probably– but every part of my body wanted nothing more than to lunge on this man.

“Turn your bike off so you can hear me” I said to him. This idiot, thinking I was going to negotiate the terms of our “slow ride” turned his bike off and stared at me like a little puppy. “I know who you are and what you have done. If you EVER approach me again I will dig this into you before you can blink.” (enter switchblade here)

From puppy dog face to deer in the headlights- he gave me a look of acknowledgement, turned on the moped and sped away.

Tomorrow has not yet come, so I cannot say if this method was particularly effective, but it gave me a sense of empowerment, it gave him the knowledge that I would like nothing more than to stand over his corpse, and I think it gave us both an understanding.

I am well aware that my actions might be considered brash by some and downright foolish by others. Until you walk in my shoes- you will not have my feet.

Is the moral of this story to carry around a switchblade and confront convicted rapists in the middle of the night? No. Nor is it to always be watching your back at every second of the day and night for some would-be assassin. It is simply to trust your instincts -unless you have really bad instincts, then you should just stay home.

Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She's been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.

'Trust your Instincts -or- This is Why I Carry a Switchblade' have 16 comments

  1. April 19, 2010 @ 5:55 pm Annie Browne

    You go girl!!!! I want to kick his ass for you, all the way from here! You’re doin good…thank those instincts for me, too!


    • April 19, 2010 @ 9:46 pm livevicuriously

      heck yes! I love my little knife – if nothing else, it makes me feel a little more in control!


  2. April 19, 2010 @ 6:13 pm Steve

    Whew! Go Brandy!
    While I would say that even the creepiest Greeks that I’ve met were long on talk and short on action, they WERE hard to discourage.
    He now knows you are far too dangerous for him.
    By the way, the creepiest wacko I ever met in Greece wasn’t even Greek. He was a German ex-pat delusional alcoholic freakshow who issued bizarre statements alluding to being a member of government, a spy, etc. Kept inviting us over to watch American TV via satellite!
    No, thanks!

    … and it’s Steve Kramer! Paula let me keep my name when we got married! 🙂


    • April 19, 2010 @ 9:45 pm livevicuriously

      hahaha!!! good catch – I didn’t even realize I did that 🙂 fixed now! ooops 😀


  3. April 19, 2010 @ 8:12 pm Mom

    I completely understand your response to this rapists and do not believe you will be approached by him again. Rapists are cowards who prey on those they believe to be weaker than themselves. I do believe you accurately displayed you are NOT weak. Do “keep your head on a stick” and keep listening to that “still small voice” that leads you. I love you Miss Brandy. Good job. Needless to say I will Not be reading this post to Pop.


  4. April 20, 2010 @ 4:16 pm Stephanie

    Yay Brandy you are so amazing! I want to be just like you when I grow up! Though I’d prefer not to have creepy Greek stalkers. “Look at me, I’m Brandy, and I’m badass!”


    • April 20, 2010 @ 7:23 pm livevicuriously

      Stephanie, creepy Greek stalkers are the second best part of my day- aside from playing tag with fire… and doing shots of alcohol that i SWEAR could remove nail polish.


  5. April 21, 2010 @ 8:02 pm Keith

    Major props to you. That was ballsy and courageous. He doesn’t want a fight.


    • April 21, 2010 @ 8:12 pm livevicuriously

      nope! saw him 3 times today and he didn’t so much as breathe in my direction! I felt like screaming “what NOW bitch?!” …but I restrained myself 😀


  6. April 21, 2010 @ 8:05 pm Sarah Layne

    excellent story.. and way to go girlfriend.. !!!


  7. July 8, 2010 @ 2:08 am 10 things I’ve learned on the road « Que Sera Sera

    […] are more good people than bad people in this world. Sure, I’ve been robbed 1.25 times, been followed around by a rapist, and ran into a few other unmentionable obstacles, but of the months I have spent relying on the […]


  8. July 15, 2010 @ 10:34 pm Lucía

    Stumbled upon this. I am from Spain. You go girl! really inspiring. (although I would consider pepper spray – gun legislation varies from country to country and you dont want to end up in jail for carrying “weapons”-). Very brave, again, inspiring.


    • July 15, 2010 @ 11:24 pm livevicuriously

      hola Lucia! thanks for the compliments 🙂 oh I know the laws of pepper spray and long knives prohibit me from having them, so I try not to flash them unless necessary 🙂 love your country and can’t wait to come back in August!


  9. November 13, 2013 @ 12:01 pm Julia

    As someone who has been in a similar position I have to say… YOU ROCK! I know there are other alternatives to get out of this sort of situations but there is a lot of satisfaction in making assholes shake in their boots.


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