Has anyone else been experiencing very rehearsed seeming and repetitive verbatim questions concerning travel destinations or origins?
These mini interrogations (think of the recent PC conconcept of 'micro aggressions' or 'triggers', most popular on college campuses or in a collegiate area.)
This seemingly innocent question or questions are always verbatim or exactly the same in every encounter.
They also seem very rehearsed and unnatural.
Usually they are coming from employees or small business owners and recently some instances of drivers of ride services like Lyft and Uber. Very seldom do they originate from random persons in day to day life but this can happen. Most
Travelers can tell who is genuinely interested in their travel experiences and who is 'playing cop'-which is really obvious when its done by people who are not trained, capable law enforcement.
It will always be the exact same sentence like "Where are you headed and where are you coming from?" With variations of course for the number of persons being posed this question.
"Are you camping?"
When one hears these two phrases for example, repeatedly, by nervous, edgy people who dont seem genuine and seem to have NO OTHER interest in you or your travel history or plans other than satisfying THAT question posed with an answer then one has to examine the situation.
Specifically the effect the questioning has.
People who are being real with you and inquire as to gear and or travel usually either admire your lifestyle (even though its probably romanticized) and are curious or have travel experience themselves. There will always be a conversation struck up by the initiating questions and the person doing so will have opinions or stories of their own. They wont be suspicious acting and robotic in posing their inquiries to start with.
When people engage in conversation with those who are genuine, you should feel free and at ease with the excitement that comes from true exchange of ideas and experiences or passing on knowledge and awareness to other human beings.
There forms a mutual admiration between those who have traveled similar places or in similar ways. Its innately GOOD and you know it.
When a person is confronted by a shady human being who seems uninterested but just plain greedy for some other motive, who asks the same line of questioning that one has heard spoken the exact same way (verbatim sentence or phrase) by similar types of people repeatedly and said questions seem put forth robotically and aggressively you should notice your first instinctual response, especially as a female as being fear as well as a sense of being put upon or attempted control. This immediately makes you angry and unfortunately you cannot afford to get angry.
Basically this is confrontational and its intimidation.
Either answer and SUBMIT or react in natural self defense which of course-makes the person being questioned the one who looks potentially:
Of low intelligence
'Out of control'
A bad person who deserves to be shunned by society
(Fill in blanks with any of these choices).
These people can also be categorized as baiters or agitators not just possibly harassing people for whatever reason.
It would theoretically be a nice ploy to drive away 'homeless' people out of an area IN THEORY via this method. They would either get sick of being questioned in an obviously interrogating manner and feel unwelcome by such aggression or possibly fall to baiting where they become aggressive due to this activity being another stressor in their lives.
Its not important to know the motive of this bizarre behavior but knowing how to deal with it is, especially being a woman with males involved, it could be potentially dangerous.
In our society men should know better than to ask women who are alone their private affairs especially something as sensitive as their whereabouts which is a security risk to female safety as well as our sense of feeling safe.
This is what also makes this line of questioning so seemingly odd, unreal and unnatural.
Who are you to basically demand answers from me, as a woman, when you are male, when you dont even know me?
This will piss an independent woman off if done repeatedly like nothing else and as tasteless as it seems-that is a viable motive in part. (IN THEORY..of course).
If women were repeating the same question verbatim frequently in a confrontation, aggresive manner I would find it odd but feel a hell of alot safer about it.
The ride service is easy to deal with-just give the driver a poor rating and site 'service' as a reason.
These drivers may also be trying to catch extra money by offering passengers rides without the service knowing it as a motive and in some instances, that seems most plausible but other times its just haraasment and a driver under those circumstances will ask repeatedly even after the passenger makes it obvious they are not interested in such a line of conversation.
Theres no need to be rude either. Simply ignoring the question and going on to something else or giving a vague, short UNINFORMATIVE answer is adequate. You always want to lay the burden of further possible harassment on the potential perpetrator. Not yourself.
So in a way, this action may also be considered a form of baiting, due to the possible negative reaction of the person being questioned as it may cause fear, anxiety or confusion in understanding how to deal with it.
Its bad form and business to take an undocumented ride all or part way for various reasons.
First its unsafe because the company no longer has your location with the driver. Also any wrongdoing is easier to deal with legally if things are legit.
Second it puts your cred as a passenger and customer at risk with the company. What is one driver compared to the company who sends you ALL of your drivers?
For instance if you mentioned you were going to a train station locally and the driver keeps at it about where you are going from there and has ALSO mentioned they are going towards the area the train heads towards then making a buck from side work is plausible and most likely.
However, if the driver seems more interested in both origin AND destination, as well as the person seems very edgy and controlling and is determined to control the conversation content without any viable motive other than gaining answers (and control) from the passenger then you may have harassment on your hands.
Most drivers from these services are exceptionally nice, friendly and safe but on occasion when it doesn't seem making some extra money is the motive and you have travel gear it becomes uncomfortable and puts unnecessary stress into your day.
I have never had this experience with female drivers. Perhaps reporting male drivers who engage in this for any motive might be the solution but many of us are afraid to make waves. It may be necessary however to establish this line of questioning as offensive in the same vein as micro aggressions, triggers and unPC generally.
It may be possible to do what many people have done to avoid offensive questions based on race, job description, age etc-reframe this as an offensive line of questioning, potentially designed to disrupt the daily life of those fitting a certain description and demographic as well as cause harm or psychological stress, emotional duress etc.
Living alternatively has become more challenging by new social norms (often misguided) yet made easier by a society that exists globally.
You may consider yourself a proud, poineering techo-nomad, Traveler or alt lifestyle person but to many people we still appear to be without homes or means which ends up being the dreaded 'The Homeless' label.
2 days ago