While I may have had my fair share of horrifying experiences with the opposite sex, I’m rarely the victim of horrible pickup lines or strange demonstrations of love. It may have something to do with the fact that I tend to only go 3 places other than my house and have a habit of scuttling about with hostility and suspicion anytime a man looks my way.
Last summer I went to pick up my barista friend Nate from Starbucks so we could carpool our way to a book club– That’s about as exciting as my weeknights get. I decided to order a dirty chai latte while I was waiting and when I stepped up to the counter, I recognized the barista. Not because I knew him– no, he was technically a stranger but it just so happens that I am creepy as hell and have an impeccable memory. My eyes scanned his face and immediately zoomed to a filing cabinet in my mind where I pulled every single experience I’d ever had with this seeming stranger.
Instead of sticking with socially acceptable behavior and ordering my drink like a normal cafe patron, I decided to ring my stalker bell and mention that I remembered him from the other Starbucks across town. That’s not too creepy, right?
He looked surprised that I remembered him so I just kept on tooting that weirdo horn, soaking in the awkwardness I had just created.
“You’re the reason I turn my music down when I go through drive-thrus, because you once mentioned you could hear me jamming to Stairway to Heaven.”
By this point he looked way more flattered than I had intended– he was only another random person I’d collected in the back of my brain where I should have been retaining lessons on how to read a map or do basic maths. Maybe he’d gotten the wrong idea when I said I liked my chai dirty. I decided not to mention that I also remembered him working at a bookstore when I was in high school and that I could remember the book I bought when I’d first seen him.
Nate was taking forever, so I went ahead and dropped my stuff at a table and headed for a pre Book Club bathroom break. When I came out, Nate was ready so we hopped in my car for another exciting night of literary discourse. As I was driving, my phone buzzed. I know I shouldn’t have been reading messages whilst navigating a highway, but I couldn’t not open a text that popped up from the name “Your New Stalker.”
Call me a tad bit sensitive, but I’d just gotten a restraining order against my ex, so I wasn’t really in the market for any additional stalkers, new or old.
I opened the message and it read “So are you and Nate on a hot date?”
That creeper had put his number in my phone while I was in the bathroom and then called himself so he’d have mine.
This is one of those moments where a normal person would likely maintain their standards and dignity and not hit reply– but gosh, I just can’t help agitating an already ridiculous situation. Plus, I was single and bored– why not, right?
We continued our flirtatious exchanges through the rest of the night. I read them aloud for Nate to laugh at and join in on my witty responses. At the end of the night when I’d just taken Nate back to his car, My “New Stalker” sent a text about meeting up later which may or may not have referenced my “little skirt.”
Keeping with the pattern, I read this aloud to Nate.
“Hmmm,” he said, “I feel like his wife probably wouldn’t be okay with that.”
“HE HAS A WIFE?!”
I’d already accidentally become The Other Woman once that year, I wasn’t looking for round two. I didn’t bother replying, though as the night grew later his texts increased until he was offering to come over and properly stalk me at my house.
“ARE YOU GOING TO BRING YOUR WIFE?!”
I couldn’t help it– But the point was lost on him as this opened up a barrage of texts about how miserable he was and that he wasn’t living the life he wanted and he couldn’t be himself anymore, blah blah blah. Apparently all it had taken was one story about Led Zeppelin at a Starbucks Drive-Thru and he was convinced that he and “my little skirt” were going to live happily ever after.
I deleted his number and never heard from him after that night– This whole encounter was an incredibly tragic loss, as I could no longer go back to that Starbucks. If I never saw his face again, I’d be a happy girl. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened when I logged into Facebook a couple days later and found him smiling on my newsfeed, smushed up against a brunette whom I recognized as a bartender at the one other place I go to other than my house, my job, and Starbucks.
Nate had commented on their photo, which put it front and center on my newsfeed.
“Congratulations on your One Year Anniversary!”
This made me very very sad– for their marriage, for their lives, but mostly because I not only had to find a new Starbucks, but a new bar as well.
What’s the sneakiest/creepiest way someone has gotten your number or your attention? Have you ever had to stop going to a favorite hangout just to avoid a creeper? Does anyone else retain random information about interactions with strangers?
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