Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 01:02
What’s the difference between a stalker and a secret admirer?
Attention from the right person is exciting, from the wrong person is annoying, and from an unknown person can be creepy.
In Baku, Azerbaijan I walked home from work at around 9 p.m. most nights. It was a good walk. I enjoyed the chance to unwind and listen to music after teaching all day. However, that changed when I began to feel like I was being followed.
I never saw anyone—at that time of night the streets were empty—but it creeped me out nonetheless.
I tried to convince myself I was paranoid, but I wasn’t. After a few weeks of looking over my shoulder, I finally got a glimpse of my shadowy admirer—tall, lanky, dark hair, dark eyes, and all of about 14 years old—he turned into an annoyance.
Discovery didn’t dissuade the kid. My life could have been the inspiration for the song Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell. I wondered if he ever went to school.
I didn’t know at the time, but it is common in Baku for a guy to follow a girl he likes. They called it flirting; I called it stalking.
One afternoon my underage admirer popped out of a shop entrance and blocked my way. After all that time he’d finally gotten the nerve to talk to me, and in rough English he said, “You’re beautiful. I want you.”
Really? That is what he had to say? After all that time?
Those were very possibly the only words he knew in English. He probably heard them from an older brother and wanted to try them out to impress his friends. I could just picture him practicing in front of the mirror. It was bad enough that my stalker was 14, but he wasn’t even a smooth 14–year–old.
The idea of a secret admirer may seem romantic, but only if it’s the right person. If that 14–year–old had been a successful twenty–something with mesmerizing eyes, this probably would have been an entirely different story. Although, either, way the line, “I want you,” was never going to work.