Question of the Day: What is the most “stalky” thing you’ve ever done?
As I understand it, the word “stalky” refers to the act of pursuing a person beyond the limits of reasonable pursuit. In truth, I do not tend to stalk people; in fact, I tend to believe people would rather not be bothered by me and tend to leave others alone for the most part.
But there was a girl, once upon a time, that really got to me. It is not one of the better memories that I have. In fact, it shows a certain weakness of my character that I usually keep hidden. In fact, some people might refer to it as a strength of character, but I see it as a weakness.
This was after my divorce, when I was working at the hotel. My full-time job was as office manager at a trucking firm in town, but I had picked up the hotel desk job as a way to pay for my new convertible car (well, it was new to me). The hotel was attached to a Denny’s restaurant, and we were able to get half-price meals when we were working our shift at the hotel. We would go over and place an order with one of the waitresses, and she would deliver the food to us on a tray in the hotel lobby.
I was at a very weird place in my life. As I said, this was after my divorce, which was just one of many failed relationships I had had. I was feeling rather low – in fact, had I realized the symptoms, I am sure that I was clinically depressed. I was all alone, trying to put together the best life I could for my infant son and me. We were living in a mobile home that we were renting in a trailer park.
(I notice here that I’m using first person plural pronouns. “We were renting” a trailer – as if my son was paying rent. I think this is because I’m trying to alleviate myself of some of the responsibility by pretending that others might also be partially to blame. This is not the case: Everything comes down to decisions I personally made all by myself.)
Anyhow, the trailer was, not to put too fine a point on it, a craphole. It was a crappy life. I was lower than I had ever been.
This will seem like a tangent, but I promise to bring it around full circle: Sometimes I think of myself as a knight in shining armor. You understand the archetype, don’t you? I like to be the guy who can come in and save the day, change the world, that sort of thing.
Well, there was, living my crappy life and doing the best I could at the time (I really believe that). Working a good job as an office assistant and starting to make good money (as opposed to the convenience store and restaurant jobs I had held previously). Working a part-time job at the hotel to pay for my new car. Raising my son. But all alone. And feeling unworthy. Unloved.
Another possible tangent: Denny’s waitresses are not always … I don’t know how to put this nicely … they are not always the highest class people. Yes, I know that’s terribly judgmental. Yes, I’m ashamed of saying it. Yes, it was true – at least for this particular Denny’s.
Here’s where I start to tie it all together: There was a waitress who worked at the Denny’s and who I would always put in my order with because I knew that she would deliver the food to me and we could talk for a few minutes. She had great charisma, a great personality, and I thought she was very attractive. She talked to me and seemed to think I was worth some moments of her time (keep in mind how low I was at this time). After a few times of bringing me my food, she would come over to the hotel lobby during her break time to eat her own dinner, and we would talk together then. This was the closest thing to a personal connection I had in those days, but even by today’s standards I would say the foundation was set for a friendship (at least).
As we got to know each other, it became apparent that she had her fair share of personal difficulties. Abusive boyfriend, out-of-control lifestyle, unstable finances, etc. And the White Knight rose up in me and decided that I could change her life for the better – I could rescue this damsel in distress from the dragons that plagued her. We would ride off into the sunset together!
No we wouldn’t. As I said, abusive boyfriend. How would I contend with that? I didn’t want to get beat up. So I friend-zoned myself and just settled for being flirty and sweet. I’m good at flirty and sweet.
So, how is this stalky? I bet you thought I’d forgotten. Nope, here we go.
So one day, I go in to work at the hotel and I’m going to order my dinner, but one of the waitresses tells me that Tina had left. Quit her job. Poof – gone.
Well, so much for that.
And then the restaurant manager comes over the hotel and gives me her paycheck, telling me that her boyfriend is going to come pick it up from me and that I’m to give it to him. She’s not coming; he is. Cool, I get to meet the abusive boyfriend. I wonder if she has told him how flirty I am. I wonder if he’s going to punch me in the face. Excellent, can’t wait.
And he comes in, and he is some degenerate-looking scumbag (I may be slightly biased here). And I give him the check, and nothing else happens. No confrontation, no words really spoken. I think he looked at the check, said “That’s it?” and left.
Nope, not the end. Because then the stalky part kicks in.
That night, as I’m getting off work about 11, I go over the restaurant to get a drink and one of the waitresses I know is her good friend. So I asked her, kind offhanded, if she knew where Tina had gone. And she told me – she got a different job at the local truckstop working in the restaurant there.
So you know what I did? Sure you do: I went to that truckstop. (See? Stalky.) And she was working. So I walked in like I went there every day after work and sat at the counter and waited until she saw me. Big movie moment! She was so happy to see me! I was so happy to see her! What are you doing here? I came to see you! You did? I did!
And that was it.
Well, that wasn’t “it” it. That was it for the night. That was what I did that was stalky. But there’s more.
Because she soon left the abusive boyfriend. And she moved in with a friend for a few days, until they had a big blowup. And then she had no place to go. So guess what she did…
She called me and asked if she could stay at my place.
Of course I said yes!
Because, you know, I’m an idiot.
It could have been worse. She might have moved in with me and stolen my car and kicked my dog and sacrificed a goat to Satan. But no, she and I were together for – geez, I don’t know how long. Maybe a year? Maybe less, maybe more – how strange not to be able to remember. But she and I were together, so White Knight mode activated: I was going to change her life for the better!
And, you know, I probably did. But, in a way, she change mine for the worse. I don’t spend a lot of time kicking myself for decisions I made in the past, nor do I entertain “what-if” ideas for any sort of self-chastisement. I had never had a relationship with a cigarette-smoking, drug-addicted, alcoholic girlfriend before. I certainly have not had one since. Learned that lesson.
But she was sweet to me. And she was kind, and she was loving, and I know that her personal demons overwhelmed her – I wish I could’ve taken those demons away, but that’s not the way it works.
It’s a very sad story, isn’t it?