Jenny-Lou 1 (And A Poem By Wenthe)

For the second and third parts of this story, read:

Jenny-Lou 2 and
Jenny-Lou 3.

Luva wanted to hear about the friend-turned-stalker problem I had when I first moved to Cityville. I feel kind of like doing that, but I am also feeling the urge to start writing about the gender issues I had as a kid. One is definitely funnier... No, wait, they’re both funny. Both of them were filled with conflict. The stalking story would make more sense if the stalker and I had been of opposite sexes, and the gender conflict situation would have been simpler if I just been of the opposite sex already. It’s difficult to decide which one I’ll tackle today, so I will consult the Magic 8 Ball... The Magic 8 Ball has decided in favour of the friend-turned-stalker story with a solid “YES DEFINITELY”, so Luva gets her curiosity sated, and everyone else gets to hear about my same-sex, non-sexual stalker, Jenny-Lou.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I first moved to Cityville from Cosmopolis, all of my friends here I had met through the Fiery One. I liked and still like the people I met through him, but I was here for months before I made a friend of my own outside of work. I moved to Cityville in early June, and it was not until sometime in September or October that I ran into someone that I seemed to click with.

I was out at a pub. I think the Fiery One had been there earlier and had gone home while I decided to stay on and write for a while. I find writing in public much easier than writing at home, because somehow having distractions provided for me stops me from providing my own. I was sitting near a table of people, a couple of whom I had met before, so I waved hello. One woman sitting nearest to me at the end of the table asked me who I was, and we started talking.

Her name was Jenny-Lou, she spoke intelligently, she seemed gentle, and our conversation flowed easily. All the markers were there: she was smart, nice, and a good conversationalist. We exchanged telephone numbers and agreed to meet for coffee the following week. I was so excited that I told the Fiery One all about it when I arrived home later. I had a coffee date with someone I had met on my own! (I know, I sound like I was kind of sad and pathetic, but I sort of was back then).

We met for coffee, and we talked for two hours. It turned out that she was a pretty devout Christian, which kind of threw me off a bit, because I’ve had some bad experiences with the devout types before, but she assured me of her open-mindedness. We waxed philosophical, talked about books we had read and the television industry, and agreed to meet on a third occasion. Things were looking good. She seemed to know a lot of people, and I actually liked her. I’m not always a huge fan of people, so this was pretty big.

Shortly, though, things stopped looking so rosy. My purpose was to find a friend to go for coffee with now and again, maybe hang out and watch movies, and she was obviously looking for a best friend. And I mean the very bestest, loyal, forever, pinky swearing, blood pact kind of friend.

I was managing the gift shop in a prominent hotel at the time, which meant that she could drop by my work every day and find me (I hate public positions for this sort of thing). Eventually I had to confront her about it, because it was completely inappropriate for me to spend half an hour of every afternoon having my work interrupted and this woman literally trailing me around the shop. I told her that she couldn’t hang out at my workplace or I would get in trouble. Jenny-Lou didn’t stop coming by, but she limited it to about once a week for five or ten minutes. I wasn’t crazy about it, but five or ten minutes once a week was handleable.

She also started dropping by my apartment building with really flimsy reasons for being there. On several occasions, she rang my buzzer, and when I spoke to her through the intercom to see what she wanted, she would claim that she needed to use my bathroom. She lived one block away from me, so peeing at home would have been her natural choice. I generally don’t like being dropped in on out of the blue, so I told her that I preferred she call me and arrange to hang out rather than just suddenly buzzing my apartment from downstairs. I mentioned this fact twice to her. It did no good. She nodded and said she understood how I felt, and then markedly increased her drop-bys.

Part of the reason that telling her did no good was because I hate the telephone. I hate the sound of a telephone ringing, I hate talking on them, I find them intrusive. If someone leaves a message when they call and I’m home to get it, I often do call people back, though. Okay, well, I sometimes do. I told her this. She took to calling and then not leaving a messages. When she couldn’t contact me by telephone, she would show up somewhere looking for me, like my front door.

The more scarce I made myself, the more persistent she became. She started coming to the hotel when she knew my shift would be over. I took to rushing down into the basement to my storage room to do inventory and whatnot, and my full-time employee would tell Jenny-Lou that I had gone already. Jenny-Lou would then walk over to my apartment where I, of course, would not be. If I happened to answer the telephone when I did get home from work, it would be her, wondering where I had been when she had looked for me. If I wasn’t at work, and I wasn’t at home over the last hour, then where could I have been? Now she was not only following me persistently, but she was also wanting to know where I was whenever she was not with me.

That she was tracking me had become blatantly obvious. It didn’t seem to matter where I went, she would find me there, sit down, and try to dominate my attention without any consideration for the other people I was out with. After a few minutes, I would tell her that I was going to join back into conversation with my friends, and I would even turn to face away from her. She wouldn’t get up and leave but would sit or stand near me continually trying to get my attention even after I had told her that I was busy with other people. Acquaintances that I was getting to know stopped wanting to go out with me, because Jenny-Lou would end up with us. I found my situation embarrassing and alienating.

It was still hard for me at that point to identify what was happening as stalking, because she was another woman whose interest was not sexual or romantic. All I knew was that I was growing increasingly isolated and lonely as Jenny-Lou’s behaviour continued. I vowed to do something about it following mine and the Fiery One’s ten-day vacation to visit his relatives in Bermuda. Until then, I was going to concentrate on pink sand and tree frogs and 100% humidity.

Stay tuned for more about Jenny-Lou and the escalation of her stalking behaviour in tomorrow’s entry...

Picture of the Author with Vice President” by William Wenthe

Watch the angry chicken. (It’s an ad, but it's funny nonetheless).

Brendan Monroe makes really cool art. I am especially fond of his sculptures. (found via Cecilia)

Google is going to digitize five of the world’s most famous libraries.

Jenny Lou 2 (And Some Carson)

My Date With A Delivery Guy, Dyeing My Hair, And Strand