Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stalker Pt. 4

As I explained in Stalker Part 3, I had a rather unfortunate run-in with Lisa the stalker while I was working to deliver a pizza order. Despite a rather easy escape, I was still quite unnerved for the rest of that evening. As the week went by, I began to let my guard down, which was...a big mistake.

Exactly a week later, I was "stationed" at Little Caesar's Pizza again. It was a busier night that usual, which was nice as I needed the cash. There had been no sign of Lisa, aside from the obligatory tonnes of unanswered calls to my cell phone, so I wasn't preoccupied with avoiding being found.

During one delivery at around 5:00PM, I pulled up to the same red light as I was at when Lisa found me the first time (see Stalker Pt. 3). Chatting on my phone, it took a moment for me to notice the red Cavalier that pulled up aside my car.


"No," I thought, "Nonononono. It can't be."


In my mind, I was screaming "FUUUUUUCK!" I didn't have to look over at the car. I knew who was in it just by hearing.


More honking and screaming. As it was a busier night outside that the previous Wednesday (as the weather was more pleasant), pedestrians were out and about and began to stop and stare. A hot dog cart (known as "The Weenie Queenie") was on the NW corner of the intersection and people buying their food turned to see what all the fuss was about. I made eye contact with a few people and provided a "WTF" expression so that onlookers understood I was not involved with the noise polluting psychotic in the vehicle next to me.  The light was kinder to me this time than last, and after a short yet scary wait, the light lit in my favour. Pretty, pretty green light. I pushed down on the gas enough to cause a bit of a screech and sped away. However, her new Z24 was more than a match for my Dodge Shadow (Or Plymouth Sundance...I have owned both, and they are almost identical, but don't recall which I had at this time). The only thing working in my favour was that I could shift a manual transmission like a race car driver and she did not seem to be able to do so. However, I knew she was going to be able to at least keep up, and I didn't want to stop to do a delivery with her hot on my heels. I knew what I had to do. I had to lose her.

If the car chase that followed was in a movie, viewers would think it was really quite lame and uneventful. But in the moment, it was an adrenaline-filled, high-octane chase through Old Airdrie (aptly named as it was the oldest part of the city). I pulled into the right lane, cutting Lisa off, and hung a right turn onto First Street. My tires squealed on the pavement as I made the turn and it probably caused a lot of heads to turn. I didn't care, as long as none of those heads were on the bodies of police officers. Driving up First, I swung right onto Albert Street. Albert to Centre Avenue. Centre to Virginia St. Virginia to 2nd. 2nd. to Allen. ALLEN TO 1ST!!!!! But she just kept pursuing! I continued to drive in circles and take odd routes in hope that she would become stuck at a stop sign and I could escape, but it was as though the streets were abandoned.

On a return to Allen Street, I pulled into an alleyway. In Old Airdrie, the alleyways are somewhat complex in how they all connect and there are even some stop signs in the network. It was dark, being nearly winter, and I hoped the lack of street lights would work in my favour. I drove at excessive speeds down the alleys, kicking rocks and debris into the air, and noticed that I was beginning to put distance between my car and Lisa's. Perhaps she was worried about gravel denting or scratching her new car? I took a left and screamed down the alley. She was falling further and further behind! Another left and I had broken her line-of-sight with a reasonable window of time to spare. However, at the end of the alley was Allen St. again. I feared she would just catch up once I returned to paved roads.

Quick decision!

I pulled my car into a driveway that had another vehicle in it to my left. I turned off my car and all the lights. Oh, yes...it was a BIG gamble. If she found me, I was trapped in a parking stall! I looked out my back window as the alley became illuminated by headlights. My teeth clenched as a vehicle quickly approached. It was Lisa! Her vehicle popped into view! This was it...The moment of truth! Her car drove past mine. Did she see me? I waited in the darkness until the alley went dark again. Waited and waited for what seemed like forever, but was likely more like one minute. Nothing. I turned on my car and backed out (lights still off which I admit was dangerous if someone else was coming along the alley, but no one was around). I drove down the alley very slowly, my parking lights now on in case someone came around a corner, but headlights still off. I drove around the alley and back onto Allen St. Lisa was nowhere to be seen. My phone screamed at me non-stop as she called over and over again. But no matter. She didn't catch me. I continued on my way to deliver the pizza and then I returned to Little Caesar's. I again parked in behind the mall so my car was not visible.

Questions. So many questions.
She found me again. On the same day. AT the same traffic light. At around the same time, give or take a half hour.
Was she waiting for me somewhere near? Parked next to The Old Hotel (most likely), or the Shell station, or the VHQ movie store? Just sitting and waiting to see my car?
If not parked and waiting, was she driving around the city just hoping to spot me?
How long was she waiting?
Was this the only day she waited or had she been camping out Airdrie for days?
Why me, Jebus? WHY ME?

I didn't know the answers (and still don't to this day), but I did know that Lisa was now a very real threat. I took the rest of the night off, as I was concerned that Lisa was still driving around. I thought and thought of ways to get out of this predicament, but I was at a loss. Lisa didn't take no for an answer. In fact, she was so looped that she didn't even seem to remember me telling her to get lost. She seemed to think we were a couple, with that whole "fight" explanation (see Stalker Part 2), the now infamous voicemail (also in Stalker Part 2), and by calling me "babe" at the traffic light. She was mentally ill at the very least, and I didn't know what to do.

It was official. I was living in fear. Perhaps it was pathetic to be afraid of her but I was. She was just so unstable and unpredictable that it was certainly not unreasonable to fear being stabbed or shot or drugged or...well, the list goes on and on.
Work and school became pretty tense for me. I didn't just watch for delivery trucks and red Cavaliers when I drove. I looked into every vehicle window to make sure it wasn't Lisa hiding behind the wheel. I checked my six wherever I walked in case she was a few steps behind. The phone rang all the time and I knew I had to change my phone number as it wasn't going to ever stop. In her mind, I think I was her boyfriend...perhaps her soul mate or husband. I don't think she was going to give up unless she found another guy to follow. I regretfully admit that I briefly considered finding some poor sap to push Lisa toward, but decided that no one deserved the crap with which I was dealing.

November closed out without seeing Lisa. December came and went, and the phone call frequency in December lowered to 30 or so a day. When I first wrote that line, I typed "to only 30 or so," as if 30 was not a big deal compared to over 100 calls a day in November. But let's face it..."only" is a major stretch for 30 calls a day. Was Lisa starting to give up, or just too busy to keep calling all the time?

In early January, I was sitting at home, staring at my phone while catching up with Shannon online. The call history on my phone was all her numbers. For four months I had seen this bullshit and I was tired of it. I was going to change my phone number, but I still had the problem of Lisa potentially popping up in Airdrie again.

But then, thanks indirectly to Shannon, I thought of something. You see, Shannon was talking about school and she was attending the University of Lethbridge at the time. Lethbridge is about two hours away, for those readers who don't live in Alberta. My logic was simple...if Lisa thought I was in Lethbridge, she would (hopefully) go there to try and find me instead of coming to Airdrie. It was worth a shot, if nothing else. After I finished chatting with Shannon, I thought about a perfect way to deliver the news to my stalker. I was nervous about having to talk to her again, but it was necessary.

A few hours passed. It was time. I waited for the phone to ring and Lisa's name to appear on the call display.  I greeted her with a cold "hello." Lisa seemed exceedingly cheerful at first, but then began berating me for an answer as to why I wasn't answering my phone. I told her my old phone didn't work properly and I had just got a new one. She then asked why I ignored her when she saw me in Airdrie, to which I explained I didn't notice it was her. She seemed to buy the story, though I'm not sure how she could accept that story since she chased me around Airdrie a little over a month before. All irrelevant though. What really mattered was that Lisa was still in somewhat good spirits, which I assumed would help me succeed in my lie.

Wasting no time, I explained to Lisa that I was now attending the University of Lethbridge. I had the website up on my computer at the time so I could choose a major that was offered at the school. I chose English major as it was quite common and easy to fake if she challenged me on it.

There. I set the stage. I was living in Lethbridge now as far as Lisa was concerned. I told her I was going to change my number (truth) and I would call her with the new number so we could stay connected (lie). Would this plan go off without a hitch? I'd been so unlucky so far with this chick that I wasn't very confident, but I had some hope.

Lisa's reaction was nothing short of a miracle. A surprise I would not have ever conceived. Lisa said that she didn’t think she could handle “another” long distance relationship unless I could do all the driving (as Lisa said she was too busy to make the trip enough for it to be worthwhile). Yeah, busy stalking people. Anyway, I thought quickly and told Lisa that I didn’t have a car anymore. Phew. She hummed and hawed for a minute or so and then said again that she'd think about it and call me back.

She never did call me back. She never called again! Approximately 30 calls a day plummeted to exactly 0 calls a day. I was pleased as a pe^$& in a pu#*@!!! My so-so plan snowballed into something unexpected that worked so much better. Seriously, who the hell would have ever dreamed that distance was a deal-breaker for a stalker like her? She was a tiptoe away from being served a restraining order and boiling a rabbit. Yet, she couldn't handle a two hour drive to follow me around.

Sidebar: I feel REALLY sorry for the poor bastard who dated her long distance before.

Lisa the stalker is now gone but never forgotten. Despite the fact that I did get her off my back, I have NEVER considered it a permanent fix. If ever she decided that a long distance relationship would actually be okay, or if she ever decided to come to Airdrie to find me anyway, or if she decided to start calling me again, I would be right back where I started.
Nearly a decade later, my reluctance to accept that Lisa is no longer an issue shows from time to time. Whenever I'm back in Airdrie, I tend to carefully inspect my surroundings when I'm near that Main Street and Centre Avenue traffic light. I'm extremely wary of blocked numbers or numbers I do not know. I probably look behind me more than an average person. And I'm usually reluctant to give out my phone number to strangers.
But all in all, it's an experience that helped shape who I am, so I have to embrace it. Even though I certainly did not enjoy any aspect of being stalked, it is a fun story to share. When I started writing this series of entries, I was hesitant as I don't usually like talking about being stalked. But now that it's done, I'm glad I shared. It's a bit of a scary read, but it's also quite entertaining.

The end.

To any of your pricks that think it might be funny to call me pretending to be Lisa the stalker, please don't. She lost her mind because she was a ginger and didn't have a soul. You'd just be an asshole. And to those of you who are being harassed by someone with "stalker tendencies," please feel free to share this story with your potential stalker. There's nothing like seeing your behaviour objectively to smarten you up.

Just don't give them your phone number. 

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