Because we're all Stalkers, aren't we?
I know for sure that I am, and super great at it at it too. I know it's not a unique talent or a particularly classy one, but I'm proud of it none the less, even if it does confirm me as a Psycho.
Once I have your surname it's game on.
I would usually begin at Facebook, the worlds largest data base of narcissist. If your privacy is a little loose from here I can figure out who your best friend is, where you get coffee, who you work for, what you did on Saturday night. scarier still what you're planning to do on saturday night.
Next if I sift through your profile pictures and albums long enough I can almost certainly nail your ex. I mean find out who they were, not...
Moving on, some people are very proud of their photography skills, or at least their ability to choose a great filter. At Instagram I'll determine how good you think you look in your holiday snaps, and I'll be able to match up which photos you put on your Tinder.
After that it's only a matter of time before I find you linked one of your photos to your twitter and there comes the endless tumble of drivel and rubbish that are your interests and inner most opinions. Provided you could squeeze them into 140 characters or less.
LinkedIn is a little tricky and pointless. For one it shamelessly posts who's viewed your profile, and actually no one really knows or cares why they have a profile in the first place. But I can at least check that you were telling the truth when you boasted to work for a law firm, or told me you were a humble charity worker, last Friday night.
So there you have it. I have you. Now I can fool you into thinking that I really care or really listened or that I really am your soul mate. Because, how could someone 'Like' so many of the same bands and have seen so many of the same movies, and not be?
But I'm always surprised when someone cracks my code. When someone finds me.
For a while I was well and truly single. There was nothing, no movement, no excitement no horizon of promise. The up shot of this was I spent a lot of my sundays alone. Friends recuperating from our saturday nights out with their other halves: Using foreplay and netflix in equal measure to distract themselves from their hangovers.
I instead chose a coffee shop about a 10 minute walk from my house, with large sofas and larger cappuccinos. There, was live jazz and an atmosphere that suggested it was ok if I hung out nursing but a single coffee and a tap water.
This suited my broke single ass just fine.
And then I began going for more than coffee and jazz.
The coffee shop guy was hot.
Once I figured this out I made sure my Sundays always left room for milk.
I began actually picking out outfits and wearing lipstick on the weekends. I tried my best to think up funny witticisms to say over the coffee shop counter. Once I even carried a book which I was sure was a talking point, judging by it's cover.
But when I realised I didn't have the courage to tell him any more than my coffee order I resorted to old tactics.
Hiding bend a screen like everyone else. I stalked. I even did it from one of the large sofas in his shop.
At the back of the coffee house there is a trendy haphazard blackboard with some very helpful information. Not least of all a 'Meet Your Barista' section.
That's where I found his surname...
But I never actually used the information to my own advantage, even though I meandered through his photos, familiarising myself with his statuses and was delightfully reassured to learn he was single. But I couldn't bring myself to add, follow or message. Let alone put what I'd learned into good practice in the real world.
So the only thing I ever said to the coffee shop guy was 'Large Skinny Cappucino, please.'
So how was that enough for him to find my cyber self?
Last week, after months since visiting the coffee shop, the coffee shop guy found and followed me on Twitter?
Was this just a little creepy or a flirtation with fate?
Yes I had stalked, but it never occurred to me that someone else would have me, surname null and void, and then have the balls to follow me straight up.
I deliberated but finally hit the follow back button.
I stare at my 300 or so followers (I'm a rockstar I know!) 7:30pm on a Sunday night. But by 8pm he'd still not sent me a message. What could he be doing? The coffee shop closed at 6:30pm!
Do I dare? But what do I say? 'Are you stalking me?' too subtle?
No. Instead I choose wit.
Me - "Hey, don't you work in Starbucks?"
Nothing for around an hour. I giggle to myself, I always think I'm much funnier than other people do.
Two hours later.
Coffee Shop Guy- "Close, but that's offensive"
Unfortunately the conversation unlike the coffee lost it's steam. There wasn't a whole lot to say to someone in 140 characters that I couldn't bring myself to say in real life over a counter.
I've still not found out how he found me, and I'm not sure I want to know. But I'm almost certain that sadly it's down to social media throwing up suggestions rather than fate. Another example of the internet fathoming artificial relationships with it's supposed super intelligence. Had he really tried to find me or did Twitter just know that I had a crush?
Cyberstalking can be a serious topic, and I appreciate that a crush is not. This internet addiction can take over people's lives in real way and the truth is that people hide their real selves from the online world. And we thought it was dangerous out there.
You can stalk, but you can never really know the whole person, or what to say to them. So really what is the point?
Is it all just habit? Are we all just so addicted to knowing what everyone else had for their dinner, who their ex was and what their new hair cut looks like that we're walking down the street glued to our phones, tripping over cracks and missing what's really going on around us? Should it be common place to know what my colleagues did on the weekend, so that come monday morning the office is silent, because I'm already browsing for their status? We're just so damn nosey that rather than switching on the news or watching a good film, or heaven forbid reading a book, we're sitting on the sofa watching people watch TV.
Can't we break the stalking habit, learn to be brave, and ask for a little more than coffee?