As I’ve mentioned here and here, there’s convincing evidence that I’m a sociopath. But a few days ago, an unsettling thought bobbed to the scummy surface of the cesspit that is my mind: Maybe I’m also a creepy stalker.
I mean, really, what’s the difference between a close friend and a stalker?
Close friends know your likes and dislikes, have a pretty good idea of your schedules and habits, call you frequently, and show up regularly to spend time with you.
So do creepy stalkers.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder. Social skills aren’t really my best thing. I fake them well enough for short periods, but then I scuttle back to my hidey-hole and hunker down behind my computer to converse with (at best) people I know only through a few typed words on my screen and (at worst) imaginary characters in my books.
I do this for days and weeks on end. I go out to the pub once a week for a beer and some conversation with real human beings, but that’s about it. If I wasn’t married, I’d probably go for days without human interaction, so it’s not like I’m really socially aware.
How many times can I call somebody before I’m officially being creepy? If they don’t call back, does it mean they’re just busy or forgetful? Or does it mean they’re screening their calls and thinking, “Oh, God, it’s Diane again. She’s so creepy. I’m going to pretend I’m dead.”
Problem is, most people are too polite to tell me to buzz off. I tend to take people at face value and I’m disinclined to obsess over the emotional temperature of everyone I meet, so I don’t really know whether they’re genuinely glad to see me or if they give a whole-body shudder and take six showers after I leave.
I think it’s probably a good sign if they return my calls, unless they’re calling to decline my last ten invitations and tell me they’re going to be busy until the year 2045. But that only happened with the last three people I called, so it’s not really statistically significant, right?
Maybe the restraining order is a clue, though. More analysis is required.
Last week I was at an all-you-can-eat restaurant where each table had a little cylinder that was green on one end and red on the other. As long as you wanted more, you left the green end up, and they kept bringing food. Red-end-up stopped the whole thing.
That’s what I need: a signalling system. Green means “it’s all good”, yellow means “you’re starting to creep me out”, and red means “stay away from me, you nutball freak”.
That system probably wouldn’t catch on, though. It seems most people actually prefer a little ambiguity in their relationships.
I guess the upside of all this is that sociopaths generally disregard the feelings of others. Maybe this isn’t such a burning question for me after all.
So… wanna go for a beer tonight?
How about tomorrow?
Friday’s good for me, too…