This weekend's reliably gag-inducing "Modern Love" column in the New York Times was written by Amy Klein as a sort of ode to her cyber-stalker. No, really. As Danielle Citron notes on Concurring Opinions: "Klein seemingly equates her cyber stalker with a love interest." Seemingly? She writes about it in "Modern Love," and regrets that he didn't notice her departure from her job. In fact, I think it's fair to say that she did equate it with a love interest, and I think that's really sad.Because, you see, I had a stalker, I never wanted his attentions; in fact, they were only "missed" insofar as their absence left me with a disconcerting feeling that he was just cooking something up by which to mess with me even more. When I got flowers last week, my first thought wasn't pleasure at the gift but worry that he'd found me again — and, worse, that he'd managed to keep tabs enough on my life to know the life-event that someone was sending me flowers to commemorate. That's the mind-set you get into, not, as Amy is, being annoyed that he thinks you wear skirts or your writing was bad or that someone is cuter. Part of me hopes he thinks my writing sucks, that he recognized himself in the first thing I ever wrote about him and is hoping against hope that I'll stop before somebody else does, that he's moved on (although hopefully not onto stalking someone else, I guess, maybe) or gotten into therapy. I hope that I don't have to dread packages on my birthday and letters without return addresses and hang-up phone calls or the buzz of the doorbell when I'm not expecting anybody. Unlike Amy Klein, I could help but feel flattered by his florid and overwrought letters, his gifts and his packages and I never cared if he bad-mouthed me (or to whom) just so long as he stopped trying to me a part of my life. And, unlike Amy, I don't miss my stalker or his attentions. If I never heard another word from him, if I never got another card or letter or e-mail message, if I never spoke to him again and I found out that he stopped giving a shit about me, the only think I would feel was a profound relief. Because the flowers I got last week? I found them really beautiful... as soon as I read the card and knew that they weren't from him. I would like to be able to appreciate pleasant things without the trepidation that they're from someone trying to control me. My Very Own Cyberstalker [NY Times] Cyber Stalking: Anything But A Modern Love Story [Concurring Opinions]
Because the flowers I got last week? I found them really beautiful...as soon as I read the card and knew that they weren't from him. I would like to be able to appreciate pleasant things without the trepidation that they're from someone trying to control me.
Unfortunately, I know that feeling too well. Especially the last sentence — that's exactly how I feel about my own cyber-stalking nightmare. Thanks for articulating it so succinctly, Megan.