Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Have a Statue of You In My Closet

Pin It The manuscript I'm currently trying to beat into submission (so that I can start the long process of having it simultaneously rejected by hundreds of literary agents) starts off with the heroine dragging a friend along to help her spy on the boy she's in love with. They hide in the bushes and watch in comically stalkerish dismay as the guy picks up his thin and pretty date for the evening.

Did you know there could be comically stalkerish dismay? Because there can. The reason I know this is that back in my (oh so wild and crazy) single days, my friend Becky* and I performed The Stalking not once, not twice, but THREE times.

Becky and I were really good friends. People said we were kind of nuts, which at the time we took to mean, "Aw, they are delightfully quirky and eccentric and cute." But really, looking back on it, I think mainly they just thought we were nuts.

Becky had an enormous crush on this cute guy we knew who I'll call, oh, I don't know, Mike.

Mike was tall and friendly and hilarious. If we'd lived anywhere near an ocean, he would've been a surfer. As it was, he was a wakeboarder and a snowboarder and he was seriously cute. If Becky hadn't had a crush on him, I'm sure I would have picked up the slack.

Becky and Mike went on a few dates, but eventually Mike's interest kind of waned. We all still hung out together, but he stopped asking her out. He would flirt with her, call her late at night and generally mess with her head, but he didn't want to actually go out with her.

You see the problem, right? Sadly, Mike was just not that into her. This was before that was actually a recognized condition though, so Becky and I spent many, many, many, many nights discussing where "this thing with Mike" was going. I empathized my heart out over the situation, partly because I was in the middle of my own never ending, totally doomed crush on a boy who just wasn't that into me, either. (Jerk.)

One night Mike invited a girl he was seeing, Katie, over to his house. He was going to cook dinner for her or something like that. Becky was seriously bummed so we went out for ice cream. Because eating more food? TOTALLY THE ANSWER TO OUR PROBLEMS.

Anyway, we were driving around that night and decided it would be a good idea to drive by his house. Just once. Just to see what was going on. I was pretty sure Mike wouldn't remember my car. I mean, he'd only seen it twenty or thirty times and it was a very inconspicuous, thirty year old, bright orange tank of a Volvo. We were practically in stealth mode.

We parked down the street from Mike's house. We slouched down in our seats, giggling, and watched the front door for a while but nothing really happened and after a while we got bored.

Becky was seized by the desire to just KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Something was undoubtedly going on. Our lives would obviously not be complete until we knew what it was. So we did the only thing that made any sense at all.

We snuck around into the back yard of the house behind his and peeked over the cinderblock wall.

(For the record, Mike's neighborhood was brand new. A lot of the houses were still being built, or were finished but empty. The house behind Mike's was not occupied. So we were trespassing, but only technically. Are you seeing how that makes it all better and marginally less disturbing?)

Unfortunately, the blinds were partly drawn and we couldn't really see much. I could kind of sort of see the top of Katie's head, but that didn't really give us much information, and did not help to contribute to the intelligence we were trying to gather re: why Katie and Mike were sure to break up any minute now, so that he could come to his senses and propose to Becky.

We debated jumping into the yard to check things out, but that seemed a little TOO stalkerish. (It was good that we had boundaries, don't you think?)

At this point we were laughing and egging each other on and just kind of having fun and being crazy(er). We went back out front and walked across the street and down a few houses, then laid down in the grass so that he wouldn't see us if he came outside. (Since the grass was approximately two inches long, I'm sure we were very nearly invisible. We were BRILLIANT.) We laid there and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed for at least an hour until the door to Mike's house opened and we ran shrieking down the street toward my car.

Yeah. I'm sure he didn't notice THAT.

We thought we were so clever, but really, two chubby blond girls running down the street toward an ancient orange Volvo? In retrospect I'm guessing it probably wasn't that hard for him to figure out who we were.

But he never said anything, as far as I know. And it turned a really crappy night into a really fun one. Mission accomplished.

Man. You have no idea how badly I want to link to Becky's blog right now, but I think if I did that, and outed her, she would kill me dead with a knife.

But I don't think she should be embarrassed. After all, I'm sure you've all stalked someone before. Right? RIGHT?


Just me then?


*I realized a little late that my friend might not actually be o.k. with my posting this story for the universe to see, so I've changed their names to protect their privacy.


  1. love this post- takes me back to high school and stalking of my own. i think all girls do it. don't they? okay, maybe just most girls? some? a few? ok, you and me and the you-tube guy.

  2. No, I never stalked anybody.................

    We just liked to drive by the houses of guys we liked, usually on Friday and Saturday nights. We just wanted to make sure that their cars were there, because if they were, then we knew that they weren't going out with anyone else.

    It made us feel better.

    And that's totally not stalking.

  3. I think all girls stalk. Well, used to stalk. Even here in little 'ole Tassie, we stalk. My BFF and I used to call it 'infomation gathering'. We had a target, we had a mission, and we almost always ended up in some bush, in a strangers yard... spying on one of our friends ex-boyfriends older brothers or something equally as complicated..

  4. I was the queen of the drive by. I was so awesome (and by awesome I mean pathetic because Oh My Gosh we were pathetic.)

  5. It's only stalking if they catch you.

  6. It's a good thing we weren't friends in high school because the pathetic-ness bar would have been raised to a whole new level. One time my brother was playing in a basketball tournament against this team from Minnesota who's guard was "so hot". I actually stole the guys address off his registration form and wrote him a letter and sent him pictures I'd taken of him playing.

    not my high point

  7. I've been silently lurking (or stalking?) on your blog for a few months. I don't even remember how I found it now, but I just had to say, you are one absolutely hysterical woman. Thanks for the trip down memory lane to high-school days, and a really good laugh this morning! Julia

  8. I never stalked, but probably because most of my crushes lived out of town! I could totally see the scene--it was hilarious. You write so well, it should make a great scene for your novel.

  9. i can't even tell you how many tanks of used were used (wasted) by driving by boys houses. i was too scared to ever actually get out of the car, but man was i queen of the drive by. what's the deal with that anyway? who knows, but thanks for the post helping me to remember that i was one pathetic teenager!

  10. Oh, this was a great post. I never went quite that far, but in college I was known to figure out certain guys' schedules and then "accidentally" be where I could "run into them." Fun times. :)

  11. Well, of course we all did that...boys were so sneaky that's the only way we could gather any information about them. Right?

    Hilarious post. Thanks for making me laugh today.

  12. that kid & his song was stolen from my husband circa 1996, its how I knew I must marry him. he was my stalker, it was flattering, mostly b/c other guys didn't even know I exsisted, its all extremes with me. funny stuff.

  13. Oh, I hear you on the stalking. I SOOOOOOO hear you. In fact, I even got called out on a 20-year-old stalking episode recently by a former crush: http://elizasmom.com/?p=1261

    As a postscript to that post, after he asked me where I lived, former crush stopped facebook-emailing me. I think he just wanted to establish that he was safely on the other side of the country...

  14. Oh, I stalked, I so stalked.

  15. Stalking is never-ending. The Web has just made it easier! Anyone reading this must admit to Googling old flames. When I first started blogging it was a little creepy when I found out who was reading it. Now it presents the challenge of "how much can I get away with".

    I still do a little stalking whenever I have access to a unrecognizable car. I'm smarter now, I think.

  16. Oh, I wouldn't call it stalking- I think we called it UTTER DEVOTION.

  17. Anonymous9:07 AM

    Oh my gosh this is my high school experience exactly! Except we stalked much more than a handful of times. Some of the boys we followed around were totally aware of us and everytime we saw them at school they would blatantly laugh at us! It was a cool laugh though, I swear... like they were laughing because they were flattered by all the attention. And we had the whole car situation down to a science. We'd use my friend's dad's car and actually called it the "stealth car" that way no one would know it was us when we'd cruise the neighborhoods at night!

  18. I considered myself the queen of stalking in high school. (And maybe a little bit of college!) Obviously, though, I didn't have your stealthy skills!

  19. I'm just waiting for that comment that says "Hi, this is Dave Harper - I googled my name and can't BELIEVE you stalked me!" :)

  20. Just you... oops did I say that? Not really, but I am so buying your book when it comes out, but only if you promise to sign it.

  21. Oh my gosh!!! Your post just took me straight back to high school!!! I didn't truly realize that we ALL conducted such covert secret operations!

    On the flip side, I currently have my own personal stalker who definitely displays 'comically stalkerish dismay' several times a week. At least it would be completely comical if it weren't so pathetic....ANYWHO...thanks for making me laugh out loud (again)!!!! =)

  22. I've tried googling, myspacing and facebooking old crushes. None of them are online. What in the what what?! The universe is truly unjust.

  23. Cry the You tube video was totally inticing... unfortunatley I couldn't watch it. All I could see was a dark haired male with a guitar??? meh

  24. i have no clue what y'all are talking about.
    i lied.
    i was SO a stalker back in the day.
    now i just consider myself a professional private eye who's really just a housewife/stay at home mom.
    god bless weekly drivebys and the days before caller ID!

  25. Apparently I missed out on a rite of middle and high school.

    I can, however, be charged with cyberstalking :\ Just checking for criminal records and the like, ya know? ;)

  26. Sue, I am pretty much a professional stalker. But unlike you who did it when you were young and crazy, I have gotten really good at it the older I get. I'm 42, in the past year I have managed to get my picture taken with Bronco Mendenhall (head BYU football coach), 7 BYU football players, Lavell Edwards (legendary football coach), and John Bytheway (at women's conference).
    I also got to shake Jeffery R Holland's hand two years ago at women's conference and snapped a picture of him at the same time. I have also managed to get pictures of all the RS general presidency, and Young Women general presidency at women's conference. I heart Susan Tanner. So my stalking is not limitted to BYU football. But I did make a whole BYU stalking scrapbook with all my famous pictures. Yes my nick name is Super Stalker or Popparazzi Pat.
    Thanks for you blog it makes me smile, while sitting in the hospital for the past 23 days with my 14 year old son. And I have lived in Vegas for the past 10 years and have longed to write the good bye letter that you got to write. LUCKEEEE! Is all I have to say to you.

  27. So, no joke, I have been typing up my journals from my high school and college days lately. And in the course of, oh, lets say 5 journal entries, there was mention of 4 seperate stalking experiences. Yep 4. And they all included:

    1) Walkie-Talkies
    2) the switching out of cars
    3) some sort of phone call or random door knock
    4) eating at Denny's afterwards
    5) getting home way after 1 am

    Good times. Good times.

  28. Anonymous12:07 PM

    The crazy things you do when your young and single, huh? Good luck with your manuscript, and congratulations on finishing a book! That's incredible!

  29. Eh... I was always the "supportive if slightly creeped out friend" who went along on the stalk-rides.

    Mah wun tru luve lived out of town, so...

  30. Anonymous2:18 PM

    I found a link to your blog from a mutual friend. I'm sure you'll have no idea who I am, and I'm not going to tell you either, but back in 1995 I used to do the drive by thing to YOU sometimes. The internet is great because now I get to anonymously and harmlessly relive the huge crush I had on you way back then. Love your blog, by the way. Hope you are still singing.

    - an old friend

  31. Hee hee.

    I never did this.

    But I totally would have.

    You know, if I'd had any friends to do it with.

  32. I LOVE finding out people Luuuuuuuved me back in the day. It's so fun :) Now you get to totally be driven nutz by who the stalker of YOU was :)

  33. Oh wow, this blog + all the comments make me feel so much better about myself in high school. I recently read my journals from high school and I'm pretty sure I was the most annoying stalkerish teenage girl ever.

  34. If only I had a nickel for every time I've stalked...first on my tricycle, then my bike, then in my mom's car, then my own....

    I don't think I outgrew this until my mid-twenties. That's a lot of nickels. Seems like I had one crush about every other year that required this.

    Wait, that's not a lot of nickels. I think I could only buy a really small Slurpee with that.

    I should have lived more....

  35. Anonymous2:54 PM

    You could have borrowed your dad's car so the guy wouldn't recognize you....well, since it was a bright yellow station wagon with fake wood side panels, maybe not. A parenting tip for the future: Make sure your kids drive MEMORABLE cars. It might help them stay out of trouble.

  36. Anonymous #1: Reveal yourself!

    Anonymous #2: I'm not sure if he went to the Y , but I don't think so. Aaaack, he's going to find out about this, I can just feel it. Hey, Dave - this post? TOTALLY FICTIONAL, I SWEAR. ACK!

  37. Stalking is for wimps. I prefer my rejection humiliating and emotionally scarring. Although, my friends and I WERE huge fans of the three-way phone call with the secret third party on mute. Nothing like hearing your crush insist over and over again that they actually DON'T want to date you. He was just being coy- you can't show all your cards, you know? Good times.

  38. Geez and I was only kidding about me stalking you, just to freak you a bit. Never knew you had REAL stalkers! Wow.

  39. Been there. Done all of that!

    Except the odd guy playing guitar and singing...never done that.

  40. I CANNOT wait for your novel.

    I have too many stalker stories to include in a blog comment of appropriate length that will make me look cool and not like I am stalking you.

    But I had a boy stalk me who got in a huge wreck and totaled his parents' station wagon in front of my house. Cops came and everything.

  41. you had me close to peeing my pants. i have never stalked anyone. sounds like FUN. i feel like i missed out on some seriously awesome espionage opportunities. DANG IT

  42. oh hold up, i did drive bys. crud, that's not stalking is it? LOL

  43. Anonymous1:11 AM

    are you kidding me? I am laughing my head off right now...especially since you added the youtube video!!! Nice...

    I'll admit...I did a zillion drive by's but was to lazy to get out of the car.

  44. Anonymous1:57 AM

    I never really stalked. I always believed boys had superhuman powers and they could see through walls and stuff. I was just to paranoid that they would find out.

    But I did have a guy I knew who liked me (he once said he wanted to marry someone just like me) that looked through the window and saw me making out with his roommate. We weren't doing anything we shouldn't have, except making out... which I guess is not kissing across the alter. It sort of made me sick inside when he finally told me. It creeped me out and sometimes I wonder if the roommate I was kissing did it on purpose. He was such a jerk. I feel sorry for whoever he married, but it's just something he would try.

    Why wasn't I kissing the nice guy, you ask? Ack! I don't know, he was to nice?

  45. Best part about that video is the rabbit doll dressed like Sun Bonnet Sue. Awesome.

  46. I grew up in a forested area where all the lots were 10+ acres, where a couple of boys once accidentally drove up my driveway because they were apparently stalking me (not that I was cool or anything like that). So my Dad decided to seal my humiliation and theirs by sitting them down for a lecture on the perils of pulling down country driveways. He was a little bit funny, in retrospect, trying to act like Deliverance in a tie.

  47. Wow. I thought the Police's "Every breath you take" was the stalker song but this has them beat hands down.

    And no, I don't think I ever did the stalking thing....I don't think. I think I was much more into the pain and angst of unrequited love, the sighing from afar.

    I did, however, do the crying, "I love you can't you please love me too?" bit. More than once even.

    Argh, it's so humiliating.

  48. Ah, the three way phone call with the other girl on mute. A classic.

    I never did any real stalking of my own, I was more of the drive-along-friend type. But there was this guy who I had a HUGE crush on in junior high who lived on the same street as my piano teacher. I had to walk by his house every week, and don't think my heart didn't pound like mad every time I passed his house. I tried to be UBER cool, though, especially if he was outside and stuff, but I'm sure he thought I was stalking him. I always thought it was unfair of him to think I was stalking him, because hello? I was a smokin' thirteen year old. Seriously. I coulda had any man I wanted. (ahem) I mean, guys DIG girls with stringy hair and braces, right?

    I will admit to some cyber stalking, though. I scoured an HOA message board for messages posted by an old boyfriend once, and I've stumbled across another old boyfriend's blog, and can't help feeling righteous that his wife is chubbier than me.

    I'm a shallow, shallow woman.