Wednesday, March 30, 2011


My contract at the castle on the hill is finished for the year, and while there will be a new one waiting for me in 2011, I'm perhaps not as excited as I would be in normal circumstances, thanks to this incident last month.

I was walking through the train station when a vaguely familiar-looking guy (late-20s, sparse beard, jittery, check pants, oily skin) appeared from nowhere.

VAGUELY FAMILIAR-LOOKING GUY [apologetic, stuttering]: Excuse me, look, I'm terribly sorry to bother you, but I recognise your face from somewhere and it's really bugging me that I can't remember... I'm so sorry to hassle you like this.

Slight warning bells go off. Dude, Adelaide's small, you see people you recognise all the time. If you're so worried about approaching me... don't. But whatever, it's always nice to be nice, so I stopped to talk.

We figured out that he'd come to the last concert by my uni students. There was a bit of chit chat; about the concert, about our respective jobs, a polite exchange of names, and a seriously nerdy attempt at flirtation (he promised me a deep discount if I ever dropped by his antiquarian bookshop).

It was all fine. Apart from seeming oddly enthusiastic, I figured he was ultimately harmless, especially as I hardly ever catch the train anymore. Not a problem.



PHONE: *ring ring*

ME: Good Morning, [NAME OF WORK], Hannah speaking.

VOICE OF VAGUELY FAMILIAR-LOOKING GUY: Er. Hi. It's ______ ringing from ______ Antiquarian books.

ME [to self]: Motherf...

ME [aloud, through gritted teeth]: Hi. Yes?

Part of his confused premise was that a customer had ordered a book about our building and he was ringing to get more information. Such a book, to my knowledge, does not exist. He rattled off a few staff names that he could have easily gotten from the website to make himself sound more legit, then asked what the organisation did, and may he speak to whoever coordinated the volunteers, because he was quite interested in volunteering?

Guess what my role as listed on the work website is.

So I finally let on that yes, that's me, I'm Hannah, and then came the inevitable.

VAGUELY FAMILIAR-LOOKING GUY: .... Oh. Right. Um... I didn't by any chance... Did I meet you in the train station yesterday? Was that you?

ME [trying to hide the sarcasm]: What. Are. The. Chances. Amazing, huh?

Unfortunately, my automatic phone manner is all polished, congenial professionalism, so I had to be nice for as long as it took to "add his details to our list" (yeah, right) and then pretend another call was coming through, leaving me a little peeved and more than slightly shaken.

I mean, this guy stopped me in public, remembered where I mentioned I worked (STUPID ME), looked up our website, found my name and position on the staff list, concocted a half-baked series of lies to talk to me, and then actually followed through! Unless it was a genuine coincidence, but every instinct of mine screams STALKER! STALKER! RUN FOR THE HILLS!

Maybe he picked up on the annoyance in my voice, or maybe he found my panicked Facebook status update about being stalked by a stalky stalker, but I haven't heard from him since, and I hope it stays that way.

I should probably stop being nice to dweebs.

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