Sunday, June 26, 2005

My Not So Secret Admirer

Originally uploaded by Sean Healey.
OK, so the photo is a bit of an exaggeration... He is however over 6 foot, rides a Harley, is bald and is probably pushing 280 to 300 pounds. Yeah, just my type... Worse... he and I have the same employer though luckily, he is in a different division.

So, here's how it all played out... I'm in the cafeteria about a month ago and one of the maintenance guys tells me that his "buddy" has rode the elevator (no, that is not a euphemism) with me a few times and wants me to call him. He proceeds to tell me that the elevator guy likes me and attempts to describe him to me. I have absolutely no clue who he's talking about and tell him so. He then tries to hand me a scrap of paper with the guy's cell phone number on it.

Aargh! I explain to him that I hate speaking on the phone to begin with and I'm not going to call someone who I don't know and that I couldn't imagine a worse or more awkward phone conversation. I refuse to take the phone number from him and say his friend should just introduce himself the next time we're on the elevator together.

Within the hour, my admirer had already left a message for me with the secretary. Before the end of the day, he'd left another on on my voice mail.

I'm terribly annoyed at this point. I don't want to have to deal with this at work. So, the next morning I actually call him to put an end to it. He answers and I explain to him that I don't want to speak with him on the phone and while I don't know exactly who he is or why he's calling, I'm not given to socializing with coworkers off the clock (only a minor exaggeration...). He then asks to stop by my office to introduce himself. I tell him I'm busy (I was) and says he'll stop by tomorrow instead, then he says goodbye and hangs up.

I'm totally panicked because all can think is this guy won't take a hint and I'm trapped someplace where I can't be rude to him.

I turned to the one coworker I like socially to get some advice. And, it gets worse... Turns out that my admirer had to be ejected from a work function last year for drunkenness and sneaking in a non-employee. It was also then that I got a more detailed description of what this guy looked like and remembered seeing him around.

I contemplated going to my boss or at least my secretary and asking them that if I can't get him out of my office in under 10 minutes when he shows up, if they could interrupt. The only thing that stopped me was that he was coworker. I felt blackmailed about it but I didn't want to do anything to create embarrassment or problems in the work place for him. It's really too bad that he wasn't being similarly courteous.

Well, days went by and then a week and other than the constant teasing from the one person at work that I had confided in, I'd neither seen nor heard anything from the admirer.

Eventually, I came to believe that my words had sunk in and that I was off the hook. Which was a good thing, because then I heard about another incident involving him and a bottle of tequila at a recent work function.

Well, wouldn't you know it... the same day I heard the tequila story, his friend who had originally approached me told me that the admirer would soon be calling me because a friend of his was interested in leasing some property from our employer. Although I'd previously found it ridiculous that my boss took all property inquiries, that day I was grateful for it. I explained the call should be directed to my boss and continued walking.

Now, I find myself scanning the parking lot, elevators, hallways and the cafeteria in constant trepidation. It sucks.

And yeah, you might think I'm overreacting but I've attracted a couple stalkers in my life and while nothing really bad happened, it certainly wasn't very pleasant.

One guy stole my address and phone number out of my dance professor's office and sent me cards and called me to tell me how much he liked what I wore that day. I came to believe he was actually following me. He signed his own name on the cards, which was how my dance professor figured out how he got my info (he cleaned the professors' offices).

He was a real winner. My professor told me how she'd seen him at the mall holding hands with his sister and how once, after a theater production, he'd peed in a potted plant at a bar where the cast and crew was out celebrating.

My other stalker was at least a little more respectable. He and I met when I was working at a car rental agency. He was new to town, had just started a job with a large law firm and hadn't bought a car yet. He and I actually went out on a date.

I made the mistake of telling him that my grandfather's wife had taken me to a fortuneteller the year before who told me that I would marry a left-handed, red-headed lawyer. Yes, he had dark red hair and it turned out he was also left-handed.

When I told him I didn't want to go out again that I wasn't really interested in dating anyone right then, he decided that the reason for this must have been that I had once been raped (I have no clue...).

Anyway, he sent me the nicest dozen roses that I have ever seen and when I called to explain that I was serious about not going out with him, he told me about the "rape theory." I corrected him and hoped that was the end of it. Occasionally, even after he'd bought a car, he'd show up at the airport just to talk to me. I felt trapped but not threatened because he never again brought up going out.

Some months later, he showed up at the car rental desk with some story about just getting back from a business trip and having lost his wallet. He asked if I could give him a ride home when my shift was over. I thought the whole "rape theory" thing was weird but he really hadn't creeped me out yet so, I agreed.

I was to get creeped out very, very soon. When we got to my car he told me that he'd gotten a new apartment and he'd give me directions as I drove. For some reason, it didn't occur to me to ask him for the address. It soon became apparent we were headed toward my neighborhood. At that point, I expected an attempt for an invitation to my place but no... we went past my street to the next one. Turned out, his new place was directly behind my apartment, or more specifically, my bedroom window (yes friends, this is why I rarely ever open my blinds).

I didn't point out the proximity between our apartments and he got out of my car without any incident. Some time later, I heard from my friend Ainsley that she'd waited on someone that I used to go out with at the restaurant she worked at. How that comes up while ordering dinner, I have no clue. The next I'd heard about him, he and Ainsley had become friends. Soon, Ainsley and I lost touch and I never saw him or heard any more about him.

Hopefully, this workplace admirer won't provide any more stalking stories for me to share...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I missed my first earthquake!

The ground has been a little shaky here in southern California for the last week. We even had a tsunami warning for the whole California coast the one night (and yes, the National Broadcast System does really provide more information in the event of a real emergency). The biggest "event" was a 5.2 trembler centered near the San Andreas fault. The effects were felt from LA to San Diego. The news carried a lot of stories of things falling off walls and shelves and people running out-of-doors in case it was "the big one"

Me, I was sitting in my office when it happened, working on my computer. And, in spite of it evidently, scaring the bejesus out of the cafeteria staff and freezing all my coworkers in place as they waited for what might happen next... I didn't notice a damn thing!

My only explanation is that my apartment shakes every time the Metro goes by and perhaps, I've become desensitized? I still don't quite get it; I felt the baby earthquake years ago in Cleveland that cracked the air traffic control tower at Hopkins. How did I not notice this one?

Oh, well. I am assured by everyone here that there will definitely be more opportunities to come.