Tag Archives: friendship

my stalker’s response

i posted about my stalker a few days ago.  william is a facebook friend (well, unfriended now) who became obsessed with me.  we are all so easily connected with facebook, email, cell phones, etc. that it’s hard to know the proper distance of friendships.  over the course of six months, william pressed so hard that i became frightened and overwhelmed.  i became completely unhinged when he suggested that he would quit his job in tallahassee and move to chicago to be near me.  this was not a romantic obsession, but rather an obsession of friendship.

i blogged about william because i had reached my breaking point.  i had not been posting on facebook because i didn’t want to deal with him.  i had not been blogging or even turning on my phone for the same reason.  and i had taken to being extra cautious about leaving and returning to my apartment.  i thought of going to the police but then i thought i would trust my friends.

in blogging, i was contacted by a number of friends who had been contacted by william.  i heard from friends who advised restraining orders, firearms training, mischief, and mayhem.  i received many offers of safehouses, bodyguards, and friends who wanted to speak to william.  then i heard from william himself.

he posted a comment to my blog.  i made a decision to not approve the comment because i want to protect william’s identity–although, to be fair, facebook friends who have been reading my posts can easily figure out who he is and some have already had interactions with him.  this is what he had to say:

You are not responsible. This is my fault, and mine alone. I had no idea it was nearly this bad. I wish someone had made it clear to me. You have my word it front of all these witnesses, that you will never hear from me again. And I’m sorry.

i will take him at his word.  any suggestions or comments?


my stalker

stalkers are charming.  they have to be, at least at first.  because they must scoop up contact information–email addresses, phone numbers, facebook friendship requests, blog subscriptions, street addresses–while the prey still thinks they’re harmless.

in 2011 i had a new years resolution to meet all 325 of my facebook friends no matter where they might be.  sometimes people would ask me if i was afraid of "crazies". . . that actually wasn't a problem until this year.

in 2011 i made a new years resolution to meet all 325 of my facebook friends no matter where they might be. sometimes people would ask me if i was afraid of “crazies”. . . that actually wasn’t a problem until this year.

the target of a stalker has to be, at some level, polite.  a polite person doesn’t unfriend a friend on facebook.  a polite person answers emails.  a polite person writes thank you notes, even when the flowers, candy, gifts are sprinkled with discomfort.

politeness on the part of one party and charm on the part of another.  makes for a continuing relationship even when both parties don’t want one.  while it’s easily understood that the target doesn’t want a relationship with the stalker, it’s slightly less apparent that the stalker doesn’t want the obsession.

i’m not sure when i became aware that i had a problem with a stalker.  my friend bill started off as a facebook friend after he saw me on a television show.  he commented on my posts.  he poked me.  he sent messages.  all perfectly harmless and always charming.

he lives in tallahassee, the same city as my father.  william sent me a message asking if i would mind if he sent a facebook friendship request to my father.  that seemed somewhat reasonable.  then he asked if he could friend my two sons.  that seemed less reasonable.  and then he asked if he could send friendship requests to my friends carolyn, kimberly, and andrea.

i went to tallahassee in the summer to see my father.  i posted about how i would be happy to meet facebook friends in the area.  william asked to meet me.  totally cool.   we went to lunch with my dad.  i brought flowers, which is what i often do when i meet facebook friends.  he brought me a cake, a t-shirt he had tie-dyed and a copy of a book my grandfather had written.  william was charming in a sweet, ungainly, awkward sort of way.

when i came home from tallahassee, i started to notice that he was ramping up contact.  he might comment on a status update, send a facebook message with a question, then a text with a demand that i respond to his facebook message, then an email to my hotmail account to follow up on the texts.  all within the space of an hour. and there’s a cycle of charming, flattering, sweet, needy, demanding, angry, hostile and back to charming.  william was being unfriended by my circle of friends and family who couldn’t stand the obsessive, needy, shrill contact.  one of my friends went to the police in her town in order to be reassured that he wouldn’t contact her any more.  he claimed to have made plans to quit his job in tallahassee and move to be near my home in kenilworth.

i would sort of understand this situation if there had been any romantic interest within either of us.  but that's not the case.

i would sort of understand this situation if there had been any romantic interest within either of us. but that’s not the case.  at least, not with me.  and he’s never suggested that he is interested romantically in me.

i shut down.  i stopped checking my facebook account, stopped logging onto email, dreaded the pop up of the text message notification icon on my phone. i stopped responding which made him angry.  finally, i unfriended and blocked him on facebook  and wordpress.  i monitor my hotmail account and my phone for messages because i am concerned that he might decide that he really will come up north from tallahassee.  i worry when i leave my apartment and when i return.  if there’s a knock on the door, i get scared.

i have absolutely no idea why he is obsessed with me.

i have only myself to blame because i ignored every piece of evidence that suggested he was and is nuts.  i am scared.  really scared.  with every tool in the internet toolbox, he knows exactly where i am and how to get to me.  and i have no idea how to make him stop.  do you?


so you say you want a resolution. . .

i am so in awe of my friends.  in 2011 i made and delivered — more or less — on a resolution to meet and spend face to face time with my 325 facebook friends.  it was harder than i anticipated and way more rewarding than i expected.  in 2012 i made and sort of delivered on meeting new facebook friends.

my facebook friend lesley riley is someone i wasn't blessed to have as my friend in 2011.  she came to the bat girl cave from her home in california in order to say "hey, you're not just a facebook friend!"  i admire her a lot and think she's adorable!

my facebook friend lesley riley is someone i wasn’t blessed to have as my friend in 2011. she came to the bat girl cave from her home in california in order to say “hey, you’re not just a facebook friend!” i admire her a lot and think she’s adorable!

so it’s getting to be that time again.  i think all of us start the year with optimistic plans to lose weight, quit drinking, give up smoking, be more organized.  what’s your new years resolution?

 

 


“like” not being owned

how would i feel about being owned by mark zuckerberg?  maybe . . . creepy?  or maybe like . . . none too happy?  this week, facebook users have had to consider this question

i don’t presume to know mark personally, but it strikes me that he wouldn’t be the sort of dude who could own a woman–or a man for that matter. just a little too geeky. p.s this is NOT a picture of me.

when i made a new year’s resolution in 2011 to meet all 325 of my facebook friends, i was frequently asked if i understood that facebook owns the copyright on all posts, pics, comments of all of its members.  i always thought the original terms of use applied, namely that each member owns the copyright to the content of their profile but that facebook has a license to share that profile information with user’s friends.

but over the weekend, as some facebook users noted facebook’s announcement that it was amending and altering some of its privacy conditions.

this post has been showing up on a lot of timelines, a declaration that the user claims copyright to the profile’s content and that facebook can’t “own” the profile. this seems mainly to concern my american and european friends. copyright has become incredibly burdened by the freewheeling internet.

 

however, mark and facebook haven’t actually amended and altered its policy to change copyright claims.  it would be silly to do so because copyright isn’t something that someone can appropriate like that.  instead, facebook has declared it wants to change voting rights for its users.  facebook has been forced to publicly announce it was never its intention to make any appropriation of copyright.

but the point remains that facebook and mark have been announcing policy changes so frequently that users can’t keep up.  so i gotta ask–

in the meantime, i need to get the visual image of being mark’s sex slave out of my head!


thank you for reading

albert einstein claimed he said it a hundred times a day.  i try to aim for just ten, but then i am not trying to create a unified field theory of the universe.  it is two wonderful words that are so powerful just saying the changes your day, your attitude, your life.  and today is made for those words.  well, i guess every day is.

the words are thank you.

thanksgiving is a november american holiday that commemorates the safety and security of early settlers in massachusetts. it has come to be a holiday of saying thank you for all our blessings but sometimes it is considered a holiday of eating too much turkey, of being with contentious relatives, and the opening bell on christmas shopping.

 

i’m not particularly good at prayer.  i never know what to say to God and i’ve never particularly thought that God was talking to me.  rosaries make me fall asleep.  when a priest intones a prayer at church, i start to fidget.  and when anybody wants to hold hands and pray with me, my hands get sweaty.

but i have stumbled upon a way that i can pray just like albert einstein did.  i say thank you.  i’m not quite sure who i’m thanking but i figure they know who they are.  so every morning i write down ten things i am grateful for.  today my list is

my sons joseph and eastman, my ex-husband stephen, bright red lipstick, diet coke, the pink highlights in my hair, the neighbor making me tacos last night, my facebook friend reggie serving in afghanistan, my garmin gps because i get lost everytime i visit facebook friends, the furnace working, my mini coup, a somewhat inappropriate text that made me blush but was utterly flattering, the gal who works the counter at caribou because i am not good at seven a.m. and the raspberry latte she recommends, the fog opening up to sunshine, my new socks, paper white lilies

weirdly, i’m grateful to facebook and to wordpress for the opportunity to meet new people, make friends, see those friends, and then express what i feel and think about those friends.

today i have dinner with my ex-husband and my sons.  it is written into our divorce agreement that we share thanksgiving, christmas, mother’s day and father’s day.  i am already exchanging texts and messages of thanksgiving with friends (i will work on this all day and never get to every friend)  and of course, this being the modern age, i will post a facebook thanksgiving message.

this is t!he one day of the year i wish i had a twitter account because i would just say “thank you” which is quite a bit shorter than the 140 characters the medium allows

 

and you?  i just want to say thank you for reading.  okay, i might have gone over my ten things.

we’re entering a strange season of excess: thanksgiving an excess of eating, christmas an excess of gift giving and new years an excess of champagne. not that i’m complaining about any of that because they’re all good!

 

 


gravity settings on facebook accounts to change, sun to rise in the west

mark zuckerberg is possibly satan.  at least, some folks feel that way when they find out the terms and conditions on facebook have changed or that timeline is mandatory or that privacy settings have suddenly shifted so that your mother now sees all the pictures of you passed out on your friend’s couch with a case of empties on the coffee table in front of you.

it’s possible that mark is satan because he has defied the essential laws of nature.  including the most basic economic law of supply and demand.

the dismal science of economics’ first principle is that if there is more demand (people want) for any asset (beer, gold, oil) the price of that asset will go up. if there is an increase in the supply (more more more) of any asset, the price will fall. but get out a six pack and look at this chart and you can figure out the implications without having to shell out tuition money to the university of chicago business school.

on may 18, facebook went public in one of the most anticipated initial public offering ever.  this meant that you didn’t have to be a facebook employee or a real not just facebook friend of mark zuckerberg in order to make money on the one billion member online nation.  the stock price on that first day was $38 and when mark zuckerberg wed priscilla chan that same week, it seemed as if everything he touched would turn to gold.

but that spring of his content was made inglorious by the summer’s discontent.  facebook’s stock price plummeted to an astonishing record breaking low of $17.55 per share.  facebook was washed up.  couldn’t compete with other social networks in the mobile device market.  had an eye popping 9% rate of profiles useless to advertisers.  some early investors in facebook, including cofounder paul thiele, sold what stocks they could–suggesting to the marketplace a sort of no confidence vote in facebook.

this past wednesday was predicted to be a bloodletting:  852 million shares in facebook, nearly as many shares as the pre-existing 921 million shares, would be released for sale.  past and present employees and early private investors were not allowed to sell these shares under legal trade restrictions that expired at midnight.  the morning bell at the new york stock exchange was to be the death toll as the shares were added to the already bloated supply of facebook shares.

more facebook shares.  lower price.  law of nature.

instead, wednesday’s trading on the new york stock exchange in facebook shares was as bizarre as if mark zuckerberg had declared that gravity would not be enforced, that one should look westward for the sunrise and that thing where your older brother told you santa doesn’t exist?

better watch out, better not cry!

by the end of trading, the facebook shares were settling into a nice 12% INCREASE to a price of $22.22.  this makes no sense whatsoever.  unless . . . well, sure, the rational explanation is that there is a class of investors who decided they would wait, that they would hold back and forbear until the trade restrictions expired.  smart investors.

and those folks who purchased on may 18 thinking they were in on the ground floor?  suckas!

or perhaps there’s something larger at work.  maybe mark has created something so magical and wonderful that it is beyond everything we have ever seen.  maybe he’s not satan.  and maybe his next trick . . .

or maybe he’s just an ordinary guy who came up with an idea in his harvard dorm room and turned it into a billion nation empire in less than a decade. i could have done it too, but i was using my dorm room for partying, sleeping and playing james taylor on my eight track.


the only alternative is to break up

so you met your one and only (let’s leave polygamists and scoundrels out of this for the moment) and you want to make it official.  it used to be that you’d have to shell out for a diamond  and a justice of the peace, but on facebook, all you have to do is change your status from “single” to “in a relationship”.

when you’re in a relationship on facebook, the two of you get your very own “us” page.  it pulls the status updates, tagged photos of you and all your friends and pools your friends list.  with the new timeline feature (love it or hate it) you  are officially brangelina, tomkat, or bennifer.

two out of those three entities became “it’s complicated” and then the letters of the alphabet were realigned.

bennifer (ben affleck and jennifer lopez) created the 2003 blockbuster hit gigli. whaaaa. . . ? you didn’t see it? the tender love story between a mobster and a lesbian. includes the immortal dialogue about cunnilingus. jennifer: it’s turkey time. ben: what? jennifer: gobble gobble. really, bennifer was robbed of an academy award!

 

so maybe you’ve been listed as in a relationship or even (gasp!) married.  facebook has already created that couples’ page.  log into your own account, then visit facebook/us.  voila!  it’s all there, your entire relationship.

but maybe you don’t want to have a couples page, you want to believe that you can have a bit of your own space to play farmville and mafia wars.  right now there’s only one thing to do–break up.  change your status to “single”. . . there’s going to be a broken heart posted on all your friends’ pages and you’ll get all kinds of texts and messages from friends wondering if you’re all right,  if you’re going to return wedding presents because that lismore crystal was damn expensive, and whether you’re chill with your best friend asking your ex out on a date because there’s always been such good chemistry between them!