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Keim Time: am I a stalker?

Drew Steinbrink
The bushes are the perfect place to people-watch without being detected.

For legal purposes, I feel like I should get this out of the way: no. I am not a stalker. That title was made to be attention-grabbing and funny.

But why do I pose that rhetorical question to myself? Do I exhibit actual stalker-like tendencies? Or am I just reading far too much into my everyday interactions with people. That is what I hope to find out.

To begin, I will discuss my behavior toward people that I do not know. People-watching is a common activity that dates back to 19th century France and is still practiced by many today, including myself. There is something I find so fascinating about eavesdropping on the conversations of total strangers, getting glimpses into their lives that they would not share with some of their closest friends. I get to hear about daily routines, drama and the most mundane topics imaginable.

As a writer, I am thrilled to overhear the complex life stories of these people who are all but unknown to me. Without realizing it, they are sharing their own personal memoirs with an audience that gets to hear only a small portion of the tale.

I don’t consider it an invasion of privacy because it’s information they’re sharing in a public place. Now that I think about all of my conversations that may have been overheard by people-watchers, I get somewhat excited considering what they take away from their glimpse into my life. What impression do they get from me based on limited information? I can’t help but wonder.

Strangers are not the only subjects of my habits. To an extent, my closest friends are the ones who receive the worst of it. I try to memorize daily routines, class schedules, random personal details and anything else I can learn in order to enrich my relationships with people. If I know my route between classes could potentially coincide with that of a friend, I will most likely take the most optimal path to ensure that I will see them. I used to think of that as a creepy tendency, but now I see it as a sign of dedication.

People who know me best are aware of my history of troubled relationships. I’ve been afraid of coming on too strong, of being seen in a negative light by my peers. Now that I am much more confident and have legitimately healthy friendships, I can show how much I care.

There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of routines in order to maximize time spent with friends. There is nothing wrong with noticing idiosyncrasies of total strangers. There is nothing wrong with recognizing someone who doesn’t recognize you, even though you have certainly spoken with them in the past. It doesn’t make you a stalker. It just means you notice things.

As for me, I’ve been told I walk the fine line between creepy and endearing. And I’m fine with that.

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About the Contributor
Brian Keim, Opinion Editor
Brian Keim is the Opinion Editor for The Carroll News, hailing from Medina, Ohio. He is a sophomore at John Carroll University, majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minoring in communications with a concentration in digital media.
Often referred to as a “person” who “exists,” Brian is also involved in the JCU Improv Troupe and Blue Streaks on the Run. In his free time he allegedly considers film-watching and book-reading to be two activities that are enjoyable as well as life-changing, if you know where to look.
To request biased film opinions, haphazard Academy Award predictions, or otherwise contact Brian Keim, he can be reached at [email protected]

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