Sane Stalking: A universal?

Last week, a friend in an introductory psychology class recently told me a weird statistic: forty percent of people admit to going through the medicine cabinet when in another person’s bathroom. Forty percent of people admit to this. I’m going to ahead and guess that about ten percent of people lie on surveys, and therefore half the population is kind of weird and stalker-y.

Now that I think about it, I know I’ve definitely done that before.

Also last week, my professor for Intro to Creative Nonfiction assigned my class a stalking assignment; yes, he mandated that we go out into the world and invade people’s privacy and then write about it. He reminded us we could be as creepy or casual as we wanted; we could take an approach as simple and unobtrusive as a Facebook analysis, or we could legitimately follow someone around for a bit. The point was to take all this and write about it, come up with something about this person, create a profile out of it.

What was surprising about this assignment? How easy it was. Not just for me, but for my class in general. Have we just become a generation of stalkers? How many times have you:

1) Facebook stalked someone. This is self-explanatory, and if you say you have never done it, then you are in that ten percent of the people who lie on surveys. You don’t have a Facebook? That’s probably because you’re worried about how much time you would spend stalking.
2) Listened in on random conversations in the Blue Room. It’s hard not to sometimes because people can be weirdly loud in this space, and if you ever try to study in here, it’s the best form of procrastination. Plus, on Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday mornings, random people have the most amazing stories.
3) Shopped a class because you know that person is in it. See this post.
4) Dorm Room judged. This is the college version of creeping through someone’s medicine cabinet: you mentally go through all the stuff in a person’s room and decide you know everything about them. This is why I still haven’t bought posters—too much pressure!
5) Legitimately followed someone around. This is actually not normal or sane stalking, so if you’re doing this, you should definitely stop.

Stalk much? Definitely. Let’s justify it as “naturalistic observation” and call it a day.

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