Once upon a time, there was no Facebook.
And so you see, young readers, we had to stalk people the old-fashioned way. Finding out someone's birthday wasn't as easy as clicking on their profile. Wondering what they did last night? There were no status updates to check. Are they still with their girlfriend? If only it were as easy as checking their relationship status and finding out if that little heart icon was whole or broken. You had to get creative.
And so we did.
The other day on Facebook, a name popped up under the "People You May Know" heading and I laughed. Yes, silly Facebook. I do know him. Well, kinda.
We'll call him "Doug." He was a little older than us, and super cute. My friends and I were merely freshmen and were a little crazy about upperclassman "Doug." We went to great lengths to follow him to each class and carefully marked on our spreadsheet when and where each class was. (Yes, spreadsheet.) We knew where his locker was and when he stopped by it each day. We knew which routes to take to our classes so that we might pass him in the hallway. Brushing his arm would make us giddy and forget about our pubescent zits for weeks.
He had no idea who we were.
We had one class together. It was a rather large class... and there may have been musical instruments involved, but I won't say for sure. One time after class, as he walked by me, he plopped a penny in my hand and casually said, "A penny for your thoughts!" I mean, WHOA. I had no quick or witty or thoughtful response prepared, which didn't really matter since he kept on walking and never looked back. But I'm pretty sure I saved that penny for a very long time after that.
One weekend, a friend and I decided that knowing his class schedule just wasn't enough. We needed more. This is when reasonable stalking in the confines of a high school hallway slipped away, and we started to lose our grasp of reality, thus beginning our new life of stalking and creeping. I might be exaggerating just a tad, but we sure felt dangerous.
I remember it clearly. My friend and I were sitting at her kitchen table when we got the brilliant idea to call "Doug." We'd just ask him a few questions to get to know him better. But clearly, we would NOT identify ourselves. Nope. The conversation went something like this:
Us: Hello, this is Sally Smith from the Rocky Mountain News. Is there a male in the house between the ages of 16 and 18?
Doug's Mom: Sure, hang on...
Us: DOUG! I mean, um, hi! This is Sally Smith from the Rocky Mountain News, and we're doing a story on local teenagers. You've been randomly selected for our story. Could we ask you a few questions?
"Sally" went on to quiz "Doug" about what kind of car he drove, what his license plate number was, his birthday, his favorite movie, and other questions that satisfied our thirst for all things "Doug." And then we lied and gave him some line about the story being published the following week. I'm sure it was totally believable, what with all the giggling between questions and all.
My point is, Facebook has made stalking so much easier than it used to be. Gone are the days of posing as newspaper reporters just to find out what ice cream flavor your crush thinks is best, or to find out what class he has right after lunch because darn it if Mr. Berry always let us out too late to find out! Nope. Today, you're just clicks away from gaining stalker status.
I hope kids don't take that for granted.