How I Scared the Crap out of a Stranger

I am a complete jerk, and this is my new favorite story.

This past weekend one of my good friends got married, and her wedding was in Rochester, New York. A few months ago, one of our mutual friends, Brendan, returned home to our area and as such could come to the wedding, so we decided that he would join us for the 8-ish hour drive, then share a room with us to save money. Since Brendan had been living and studying abroad, his return home precipitated several changes in how he communicated, the relevant change being that he was getting a new phone with a new number.

I had mostly been communicating and planning with him via Facebook messenger, but I had also texted with him on his old number. In the meantime, I upgraded to Apple Music (which I have since turned off, because it was the worst), and in a bid to clear out extra space on my phone to make room for more music, had deleted old text message conversations.

The night before we were to leave, we had some last minute schedule adjustments to pick up another mutual friend, Lisa, whose flight had been cancelled. I messaged Brendan to see if he could meet us earlier but he wasn’t answering, so I decided to text him. I checked my phone and didn’t have our old conversation (because I deleted them), then remembered that he was getting a new phone anyway, so I asked Lisa for his new number, which she supplied. I copied the number and pasted it into his contact page, then opened the messenger app and started a new conversation with him.

Me: Hey boo how ya doin?
Brendan: ? Who is this? Boo hoo : (

GOLD! I had struck solid gold. Brendan had not yet added my number into his new phone, and he had no idea who I was. This particular group of friends loves to screw with each other at every opportunity more than anything, and as the most passive member of the group, this was a golden opportunity that I could not pass up.

Me: it’s your stalker, Alrad 

My name spelled backwards. I gave him about five minutes to figure it out.

Brendan: Alrad? Sorry? Refresh my memory…
Me: Oh I know you from an age long gone
A past life one might say
We were tailors together
In a port town by the sea
Ours were the finest garments…

I went on like this for a while, like a madwoman, receiving flabbergasted but typically Brendan responses. I showed my mother and my sister (I was at my mom’s house at the time) and they thought it was amazing. I left their house to go pick him up since we decided he would stay over, and I figured he would mention some weird texts he was getting. But nothing. I showed my husband the next day and he couldn’t wait to see what happened. Brendan didn’t mention the texts at all the next day, but since we were with him for the drive up and sharing a hotel room, I didn’t want to text him again and tip him off. My preferred scenario was that he would realize he didn’t have my number, ask for it, then see my name pop up on the conversation and we would laugh and laugh. But that didn’t happen – Brendan’s pretty irresponsible when it comes to keeping in touch with people, so this wasn’t exactly surprising. I texted him again when he was out visiting a college friend:

Me: Are you safe on this night my son

But didn’t get an answer. The next day, we visited the beautiful Letchworth State Park. We were driving to the lower falls when my phone started ringing and my car’s caller ID said it was Brendan calling. Which was weird because he was in the car with us, but he’s notorious for not calling his mother so I figured it was her attempting to reach him. I asked him to pick up the phone and he did.

Brendan: Hello? Who is this? … What do you mean you’ve been getting texts from this number? … A stalker?!

WHEN I ADDED BRENDAN’S NEW NUMBER TO MY PHONE I DIDN’T DELETE THE OLD ONE, SOMEONE ELSE I DON’T KNOW NOW HAS THE NEW ONE, I HAD BEEN TEXTING A STRANGE WOMAN THE WHOLE TIME. That’s what happened. I told a complete stranger I was her stalker and was a total weirdo to her for like two days. I’m lucky she didn’t call the cops on me! I even ALREADY HAD BRENDAN’S NEW NUMBER AND HAD TEXTED HIM ON IT BEFORE, compounding the sheer stupidity of the situation I put myself in. I sent my strange target an apology explaining what happened, and received an ambiguous “No problem ;-)”. The cops haven’t showed up at my door yet so I guess she bought it.

Complete stranger, if you’re out there and you read this, I am sorry. I am so sorry I scared the shit out of you. I’m assuming I scared the shit out of you because if it was me, that’s how I would have felt. I am not stalking you, and I know you never had silks, damasks, or serge, or lived in a port town by the sea. Please know that you made Lisa laugh so hard that she couldn’t breathe and made the cutest little squeaking sounds in lieu of breathing when I showed her the conversations during the reception. Worth it?

Full transcript of our conversation:

Convo 1convo 2Convo 3convo 4


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