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Stalker #3

I had this nice post I was working on, about how much I love grad school--aside from the daily beatings--and about how much I'm learning and how great it is here. I was talking about how much I love Columbus (much to my dismay? surprise? I dunno) in spite of my expectations.

I had started making friends, lots of nice people, even seemingly popular people. I got talked up by a really hot Italian TA. I'm not geeky gross middle school Abby anymore; I'm whatever I want to be.

Everything was too perfect. Yeah, my first night was exceptionally bad, but things evened out after that and everything's been awesome. It's wonderful, being in a world where everybody's passionate about the same thing you are. I'm not alone!!!

But.

I'd have to say that this is my record. The last stalker I had at least had the decency to wait a semester or two before getting really creepy. And he wasn't even really super-stalkerish. It took this guy a week and a half to creep me out of my skin. We talked on Friday for the first time, and we had a nice conversation, but that was that for me. Since Monday, he's been popping up everywhere. He hovers wherever I go. He waits for me to sit down so he can sit next to me. He hangs around outside the girls' bathroom, pretending that he just "happened" to walk up whenever I come out. I decided to test it today, so when our final lecture of the day let out, I waited to see which hallway he was going to go down. When he was safely down that hall, I went in the opposite direction, which, thankfully, led to the graduate study room. As soon as I put down my bag, I heard the sound of somebody punching into the keypad that locks the door. Sure enough, the stalker walked into the room and said, as though I wouldn't notice how insanely creepy he was being, "Uh, I just thought I'd get my work done here before heading home, y'know." He pulled out his books and papers and started working. I stood where I had been, backpack half-opened, deciding what to do.

Should I confront him? Should I not confront him? We've been having all these lectures recently about student advocacy, confrontation, sexual harassment, etc., and I finally decided to give him one last test.

He failed.

I zipped up my bag and said, "Uh, actually, I should probably head to the bookstore to see if they have some of those really big post-its for the class I'm teaching tomorrow."

Can we say, "Hook, Line, and Sinker?"

Yes, we can.

He nearly jumped out of his seat with a "Oh, mind if I come with? I've been needing to get some stuff there, too, actually..."

His response was perfect because it made him wait for my answer, which gave me time to form one. I stood there silently for a really long time. And then I confronted him. "Um, actually, I need to ask you something...." He took off his glasses while I spoke, rubbed his eyes, and turned bright red. He kept interrupting me, but I suppose that's only natural when you're trying to defend yourself. "No, no! It's nothing like that! I was actually wondering if how I've been acting lately seemed creepy to you and I was going to ask you about it but I didn't really get the chance to--the opportunity didn't really present itself--and that's not what I meant by it at all I just thought you were really cool and I wanted to hang out with you that's all I didn't mean anything by it really seriously I didn't it's just that you're cool that's all."

I explained my situation. I pointed out specific instances where he had been creepy, why it was creepy. I explained that I've had experiences with stalkers in the past, and I'm letting him know what his behavior seems like, so he doesn't repeat it. I explained that I was giving him an out. I said that I didn't mind hanging out, but that I'm sensitive to stuff like this, and that having him follow my every move is unhealthy for both of us. He needs to have his own life, his own agenda. Copying mine isn't an option. I hadn't really expected him to get embarrassed like that. I'm not really sure what I expected. I thought I was being nice by not just chewing him out or saying something like, "Well, if you thought your behavior was creepy, then why the fuck did you do it?! Way to go, Sherlock, your hypothesis was right! You are a creep!"

Abbey--she's studying Chinese, so we all call her the Chinese Abbey, while I'm the Japanese Abby--was in the "Quiet Room," which is attached to the main graduate study room that the stalker and I were in, and I'm sure she heard everything, but that's probably a good thing. We learned today from the Committee of Academic Misconduct that it always helps to have witnesses. I hadn't planned it that way, but it all went really nicely, I thought.

After it was all said and done, I finished with, "Well, I think I'm going to hit the bookstore alone today. See you tomorrow." I didn't hear his response because, mentally, I was already reprocessing the situation. I said goodbye to Abbey on my way out, making a face that read, "Sorry you had to witness that." She either has a cooler head than I do or simply didn't hear the conversation--she didn't bat an eye. "See ya!" she said.

So that's my story for this week/today. I haven't had much internet time--thanks to all the insane work I have to do (I need to learn Chinese and write up a 15-minute lesson plan for tomorrow, grrr)--but I thought this was important enough to sacrifice potential sleep time for.

We'll see how things go from here. He may get vindictive and weird, or he may maintain the same behavior--although I doubt that--or who knows.

And, no, the bookstore didn't have the post-its I wanted after all. Dammit.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
sapphire_hime
Sep. 14th, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
I think you've handled the situation really well. I wouldn't have been able to think so clearly and not freak out ^_^; I hope he stops bothering you after this.

What are you studying at Columbus, if I may ask? My cousin goes to the same school as well.
alexakaruda
Sep. 15th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I guess I've just had enough experience with stalkers, and I know that things only get worse the longer they are allowed to go, so I just decided to make him aware of his actions and the effect they were having one me. I hope he stops bothering me, too. ^_^

I'm studying Japanese pedagogy, actually. I'm so excited!!! They have all these great classes here and I'm really looking forward to taking them. (Well, there are some classes that I have to take that I'm not looking forward to, as well, but, c'est la vie.)

What's your cousin studying? Is s/he an undergrad or grad student? What a small world!
sapphire_hime
Sep. 15th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)
I'm not too fond of some of my classes this semester, but I can't wait until I started taking specilized courses :) I believe this is my cousin's last semester at Columbus, though, before going back to Kuwait. She's an undergrad studying genetic engineering (which sounds fascinating for me, who's never taken any science related classes in years).
(Deleted comment)
alexakaruda
Sep. 15th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've had enough stalkers that, at this point, it's a matter of, "Well, do I pretend like it's not happening and let it go on to the point where it really interfers with my life, or do I stop it now before it gets out of hand?" Thinking about it that way, the solution seemed pretty easy. I know from experience that hoping it'll go away doesn't help anything.

Mom told me a little bit about the fact that you had some old weird guy who kept hitting on you. That's so gross. I met a nasty guy in Japan--an American, I think--who kept hitting on me while he went on and on about the fact that it was *so cool* that he was the same age as Dad. ::weirded out:: And he was fat. And was trying to do the "I'm actually skinny and young because I have a [graying] goatee" thing that never works. Ew.

I've found that stalkers never process the negative signals you give them. Often--always, in my case--they are dissonant with normal social cues, so dropping hints doesn't work because their social interaction antennae don't work or simply don't exist. Hence they resort to harassment and stalking as ways to express interest or to "claim" people they want/like. All the people in my branch of the department who have to work with my stalker picked up right away that something was very wrong with him socially, but I didn't think he'd end up being a total freak. WHY AREN'T THERE ANY SANE [single] GUYS IN MY FIELD?! Am I doomed to be alone and/or grossed out? It's so frustrating. If only Shinya would come to America already....
(Anonymous)
Sep. 15th, 2005 08:11 pm (UTC)
In our entering class, I'm the only American girl, and the only girl on the Japan side; since there's a kind of language barrier (I think that the Chinese grad students are a bit embarassed to talk in English), I'll probably only get to know the guys, although "hang out" is probably too strong a word to use. Apparently, you should be here at Illinois!

~Leona
(Anonymous)
Sep. 14th, 2005 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying Columbus. Grad school is awesome, as long as you get enough sleep.

The first thing I thought of when you did your last post (about Satan following you) was that somehow, you had a Wash Uer in your department. Thank god. I'm glad that you're getting the chance to get rid of your stalkers before they start being a problem. They may make somewhat good conversation topics, but I doubt they're worth the hassle...

~Leona
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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