Stalker manifestoBy Wade Kwon
We keep tabs on friends and family. We stalk exes and crushes and obsessions.
Such a fine, fine line.
How has stalking fallen into such disrepute? Perhaps it deserves a more family-friendly name, such as â€œfocused people watching,â€ or â€œinterpersonal surveillance.â€
All it takes is a few crazies to turn a harmless pastime into a made-for-Lifetime movie.
Stalking isnâ€™t about violent encounters. Itâ€™s about developing relationships. One-sided, all-knowing, never-telling relationships.
In government and business, itâ€™s not stalking, itâ€™s a background check. Do you really want to work with someone who says they graduated high school but didnâ€™t? Or run Homeland Security if heâ€™s into kiddie porn?
Sometimes, we investigate people we might use: mechanics, doctors, lawyers, babysitters and nannies, maids, caterers, wedding planners and pet groomers. Sometimes.
It only makes sense to make the effort to get to know our social contacts.
Some stalkers like to use the Internet, but I say thatâ€™s plain lazy. Sure, you can find out someoneâ€™s past addresses and tax data, but you canâ€™t really get a sense of their soul, not until youâ€™ve peeked into their lives via a large second-floor window.
Besides, the Internet is so impersonal. Maybe you can stalk hundreds or thousands in the same amount of time, but youâ€™re not really making the connection.
One-on-one is the way to go.
Stalking isnâ€™t about hiding in the shadows, never to be seen. This isnâ€™t CIA surveillance in North Korea. You want to be seen from time to time. When I stalk the burger cashier, Iâ€™m not walking up in a ski mask. Iâ€™m right there.
Itâ€™s a way to say hi, hello there. Itâ€™s a way to say, â€œI care.â€
And itâ€™s a commitment. Are you going to ease up once you know their route to work? To the gym? To the cleaners? What if todayâ€™s the day they change their timing and come home five minutes later than usual?
I wonâ€™t kid you. This is a commitment of ritual, of observing human behavior. If you canâ€™t cut it, go home and work on your stamp collection.
This devotion extends long past the real relationship phase. What is your ex doing right now, hmm? Donâ€™t quit on her just because she quit on you. Check the garbage, time the jogging, fine-tune the webcam.
It is the anthropology of the now. You are scientist and suitor all at once. Done right, you become one with your stalkee, the barriers of distance and drywall vanishing before your very binoculars.
Donâ€™t screw up. Iâ€™ll know if you do.