You are probably familiar with the feeling. An empty street, as the evening falls, the noise of cars humming in the background, an occasional gust of wind, perhaps the moan of a stray cat, the streetlamp flickers… The fear, irrational as it seems to you, starts to creep into your mind and you wish for this unpleasant walk be over with as soon as possible. Then you begin to hear the thumps of a single pair of feet growing. Louder, louder, louder… You increase your pace, but so does your follower. You look for a turn from the street, but there isn’t any you’d like to take. I’m just being silly, you say to yourself, but tell that to your panic stricken brain. You can hear the blood gushing around your ears. Should you run?
But what about when this scenario is flipped? Have you ever found yourself in the position of an unintentional stalker?
You are on your way from school, work, or wherever you are coming from. You notice that a certain person has been ahead of you for quite a while. On top of that, there is only the two of you and the town is dreadfully quiet at that particular instant. The person in front of you must be aware of you walking behind him. You imagine what it might feel like for him. You get nervous. Should you walk a little more quietly or something?
You wait till your paths part, but the accidental victim of your following shares a significant portion of your usual route. It as an intriguing coincidence that you should share such a long part of the journey, but is the other one thinking so, too? You try to appear as casual as you only can. Although you are no creep, you feel like one. What would you normally do? You would, perhaps, check the time on your phone. You decide to do that. You unzip the pocket of your jacket; your keys jingle as you feel about for your phone… The person ahead of you is probably freaking out by this time. Is he pulling out a knife, a needle? The person walks faster.
You slow down to help him with the flight, but no matter what you do, you are still too close to each other. You wonder if the person is as uncomfortable as you are. Why should you feel guilty anyway, when your intentions are as pure as the light of the streetlamps shining on your way? Why, you have no intentions whatsoever concerning the individual. Is there a way for you to prove it to him? Can you ignore him anymore?
Then you lose sight of the person at last and you sigh in relief. Fortunately, your pursuit has been unsuccessful.