I woke up feeling absolutely healthy this morning. Influenza has been my best friend since last week and I’ve been totally housebound. Now that I am free to leave my apartment I hear the city is immovable after a snowstorm. I’m not staying indoors. I need to earn a living. Besides, I already feel like a prisoner in my mind after a scary realization last night: I think I have a stalker.
I listen to podcasts to get to sleep at night and my favourite is Stuff You Should Know. The episode last night was titled The Insidious Abuse of Stalking; I’d put off listening to it for weeks for fear of what I’d learn but already knew. In the podcast, host Chuck Bryant said, ‘if you feel something in your gut, trust it.’ After this person said sexually inappropriate things to me in a joking manner and implied that he’d love to help me with my writing career, I felt fear.
In December I told a couple of friends that I’d had a weird conversation with a man who’d developed an attachment to me that was not earned. As a result I was changing my schedule a little to avoid ‘bumping’ into him.
That’s a lie.
I quit going to certain places entirely for about three weeks, hoping it would throw him off. It didn’t.
I do not want to give too much information in case he reads this and gets upset. You see, he’s not some random dude. He’s works in an industry that allows him a lot of power. He has a mean streak and when he talks about the marginalized in our society, it’s with a sneer. He loves to talk to me and thinks it’s fascinating that I’m a writer. Even if I have my headphones on and I’m occupied, he parks himself in front of me and starts a conversation, whether I want to have one or not. I always hope it will be quick and superficial. It never is.
I should make it clear that this is not a former paramour, nor has he asked me out. He’s married. He did, however, apropos of nothing, tell me that I’m ‘looking really good these days’ last week, and now I feel panic. Any woman reading this knows the panic I’m describing because it’s involuntary when you become aware of leering interest from a complete stranger you want to escape. He sees you when you didn’t even know he was there.
I’ve been out of commission for 5 days and I’ve enjoyed not having to look around to see if a certain someone is close by. But I can go back to normal this week and I’m seriously thinking about shifting my schedule to running my errands an hour earlier. I’m writing this in a blog as proof of when it’s happening, if that makes sense. You see, I can’t do anything about this guy because he hasn’t actually done anything. He has not physically harmed me, he’s not standing outside my apartment right now, and you know what? Even if he was, it wouldn’t be a crime; it’s not against the law to be a creepy dude.
The world is filled with very lonely people and I don’t mind being a friendly person with an open demeanor because I don’t know how to be any other way. I love my routine but sometimes it’s good to have a little shake up, right? Right?!