From the Blog

How To Marry Your Internet Stalker

This is the draft I used to have my story in my brain for Mike Vogel’s screening of Did You Kiss Anyone on Tuesday. The draft below was way more material than I could have used, and predictably, I forgot a lot of it. I regret I missed some of the points I wanted to make, but overall, I had a lot of fun sharing this story. Our friend Bill Reagan also shared a great story and he has a much cooler accent than I do. 

Thanks to Mike for having me participate in his screening, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to announce our pregnancy news in the most dramatic way possible.

How To Marry Your Internet Stalker

I’ve told this story before. And this version of the story is undoubtably biased, because it’s MY version of the story. My husband is sort of shy, and doesn’t seem to need nearly the amount of attention that I do, so you’re not going to hear his side of the story. His version of this story, by the way, would be one sentence long and it would be I am not an internet stalker. My side of the story is more interesting. According to me.

In the beginning of 2008, I moved to Portland. I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have an apartment, I didn’t know anyone. I had no friends. This is the equivalent of my grizzled old war vet story. I will be telling this story to my grand kids into my old age, where I will make them listen to me flap my gums about how reckless and adventurous I once was. I’m never going to shut up with this story.

When I moved to Portland, I started a blog called Mile73. It was a way for me to keep my family and friends appraised of my status. My dad wanted to know which bridge I was living under so he could send me blankets and whiskey. I was staying at the Motel 6 on Powell. I went to the Fresh Pot attached to Powell’s Books on Hawthorne and I sat there for hours, looking for jobs and apartments. I drank a lot of coffee.

One of my first dilemmas that I blogged about, was whether I should take a small studio apartment in Northwest, or if I should take a big suburban apartment out in Beaverton. I was just moving to Portland from southern California, so being five or ten miles out of town felt like nothing. As I discussed this on my blog, I got my first comment from someone who was not a friend or family member. And he essentially said: “Welcome to Portland. Don’t move to Beaverton.”

When you comment on a blog, you usually have to leave your name, email, and if you want, a link to your own blog or website. So I followed the link that this commenter left, I think his name was Dave, and his website was Dave Knows Portland. I looked at the site and it was all about Portland. And I thought, how handy! This sort of site is perfect for someone new in town like me.

Being new to blogging, I emailed Dave and thanked him for his comment. I said I’d check out his site more once I got an apartment and I got some wireless. We ended up having a discussion back and forth over email. He invited me out for a beer.

Which was something I wouldn’t normally do. I wouldn’t normally go out with a stranger who walked in off the street to comment on my blog. But as I said, I didn’t have any friends in Portland, and I knew I needed to talk to people. It was outside my comfort zone. But really, I’m going to move to a new city without a job, without a place to live, and without knowing anyone, then worry about my “comfort zone”? That shit is over-rated.

We looked ahead at our schedules, and the only feasible day for us to meet was on Valentine’s Day. Aren’t we so adorable? We met at Bailey’s Tap Room. He was easy to talk to, meaning, having a conversation with him was not like pulling teeth, which was a pleasant surprise. He laughed at my jokes. He asked questions. He was articulate. He did seem to know a lot about Portland.

And I had to ask him how, exactly, did he find my site? Because he was a stranger. I knew by writing on the “internet,” I was putting myself out there. But I didn’t think that strangers would find my writing all that interesting. Let alone get me invitations for beer.

He sort of smiled and was perhaps a bit evasive. He said he had “search agents” for certain topics for research on his own site. He had Google Alerts for stuff going on in Portland, like events, and festivals and stuff. And one of his searches was moving to Portland. That’s how he found me.

And I thought, really? Who has “google alerts”? And did he really have a search going for “moving to Portland?” I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I could only imagine he was searching for “moving to Portland, single female, no friends, has car.”

As we wrapped up, he wouldn’t let me pay for my beers. And I thought, Huh. I think this turned into a date. I got the distinct feeling that he liked me. I didn’t know how I felt about that.

I have to tell you, I was just excited to be in a new city, to have my own place, and to have a matching set of goddamned silverware. Oh, it soothed my soul, to look in my silverware drawer. I had forks, spoons, knives, little forks, big spoons, all neatly nested, all shiny and happy. It was all mine.

Also, I had a medicine cabinet. I went out and bought ointment. What kind of ointment? It doesn’t matter. It’s an adult thing to have in your medicine cabinet. And I was so happy to have it there, all mine, in my medicine cabinet.

As I said, I was blogging. And when you run a website, there are all kinds of tools to track statistics and and observe your traffic. And I was seeing hundreds of hits on my site. I saw someone spend hours clicking around on my posts. Hours and hours. And I hadn’t been blogging for long. I didn’t even have hundreds of pages to look at. This never happened before. I still wasn’t getting any traffic besides friends and family. So I knew all these hits had to be coming from somewhere. All I could figure was someone was really checking out my site. It was on the verge of being creepy.

I knew Dave liked me. We hung out, and I had a nice time with him. He took me to my first Timbers match, and OH MY GOD. My first Timbers match made me really, truly fall in love with Portland. It was instantaneous. I didn’t give a shit about soccer. Honestly, not a shit. But we walked into PGE park, and Dave is an old timer in 107. We stood in Row N. And the people. The nerdy, insane soccer people. I had so much fun.

BUT. I was also just happy to be getting settled in my new town. I was getting to know my new job. I was super psyched to hang out at home with my silverware and my ointment. I treasured my autonomy. I felt like I was Making My Way. I sort of told Dave that I wasn’t into starting anything right then. I wasn’t thinking I’d jump into a relationship within three weeks of arriving. And also, I didn’t say so, but that whole skulking around on my site thing was ringing my alarm bells a little.

And he was cool with that. He was totally cool. He said I’d be a nice person to add to his circle of friends. No pressure. I was relieved to hear him say that, though I didn’t believe him. Not that I’ve dated a lot, but I know how it works. If you like someone, it’s hard to “just be friends.” I didn’t want to hang out and feel guilty that I rejected him. So I wasn’t expecting that we’d really see much of each other anymore.

But we did hang out. And it wasn’t uncomfortable. He was gracious and I really, really didn’t feel any pressure from him. I sort of realized this guy really was an adult. He wasn’t playing games.

And I don’t know if you know this, but Dave Knows Portland is kinda smoooooth. Weeks went by, and I had a nice time hanging out with him and his friends. We did fun stuff together. He really was my Portland tour guide. I never would have gotten to know the city as well, or as quickly without him. But, no pressure. He was a complete gentleman. And somehow or another, he got me wondering what it might be like to grab him, out in public, maybe in the supermarket, and make out with him.

How did he do it? How in the hell did he do that? All of a sudden, after all that hanging out, after a few road trips, the site seeing in Portland, I suddenly became really attracted to this guy. How did he do it? Dave Knows is smoooooth.

So as a blogger, I write down pretty much everything that goes on in my life. And most people remember their anniversary, or they remember they day they met. Because I’m a blogger, I remember our sexiversary. Because it was on a specific day, and I wrote about that day, the day that ended up being our sexiversary. Surprisingly, I didn’t write about actually having sex, but I know what day it was. If I ever forget, I can go back and look it up. Blogs are handy like that. I’m not going to tell you what day it was.

So that’s how it started. I was sort of resistant the whole time. But he really was the most thoughtful stalker you could hope to have. We eventually moved in together and we nested and bought a bunch of stuff. Then we moved again and got rid of all our stuff. We downsized all our crap. And of course, I never let him in with his own set of silverware. If he kept his mismatched silverware, we would have broken up immediately. And I wouldn’t be up here telling this story. But instead, he got rid of his silverware and we got married. It’s romantic.

We paid off all our debt. And when our debt was gone, we started saving. And we saved a lot of money. We quit our comfy, well-paying jobs and moved to Astoria. Why the hell not?

And that’s where we are now. He doesn’t stalk me on the internet anymore, because he can look over the top of his computer monitor and see me sitting right there. He still reads every one of my posts, and really, I write them for him. I love writing my stories, and I love interacting with readers, and I love when people appreciate my writing. But there is nothing more rewarding to me than to hear him read my posts and giggle at the funny parts. I’ve never had such a great advocate in my life.

And he’s smart, and he’s nerdy, and he’s articulate, and he’s got a nice butt. He laughs at my jokes. He thinks I’m pretty. He’s pretty awesome.

So now, Mike specifically asked me not to give my story some kind of “Hollywood ending,” where everything is neatly wrapped in a bow, and everyone lives happily ever after. Because we all know that shit doesn’t happen in real life. And this is a night dedicated to romantic cynicism, so I don’t want you all to puke rainbows and hope that a piano falls out of the sky on my way out of here because we are so damned adorable.

As I mentioned, the story of how Dave and I met is sort of like my grizzled old war vet story. I tell this story a lot. And really, you can’t hold onto your stories. You can’t keep saying the same shit over and over again, otherwise, you’ll never get invited back to dinner parties. You have to go out and create new stories. So I want to share our plans for our next story with you.

We currently live in Astoria and we love it. We LOVE Astoria. We also love Portland. And we miss Portland a lot.

So we are moving back to Portland. Dave is looking for jobs and we are looking for apartments. We are moving back to Portland because I’m pregnant and I’m going to have a baby.

Wait, sorry. I forgot. Did I say baby? I meant babies. We’re having twins.

Twins.

So, yeah. It’s hard to have a couple babies when you don’t have a job or an apartment and stuff. So if anyone out there has either or both of those things, and would maybe like to give them to us, that would be awesome. You all can just line up outside after the show.

And if I may end with a word of advice. If you ever move to a new place, like a new city, and you want to get to know people, start writing a blog. There could be a Bruce Knows Baltimore, or a Cindy Knows Cincinnati. Or Cole Knows Tuscaloosa. Write a blog, and the stalkers come out of the woodwork. I’m telling you.

And then, if you are lucky, you can end up jobless, apartmentless, and double knocked up like me.

Comments

  1. So wonderful. Congratulations!

  2. A big Thanks to David for ‘stalking’ you Heather. It has been so wonderul to see him so happy and to have such an awesome sister-in-law!

  3. ***LOVE***

  4. Sorry, I can’t help it, great, great story…. YOU GUYS ARE ADORABLE. I like to type in all caps when I’m being extra annoying. And congrats on being knocked up.

  5. You guys rock! Loved reading this story, and will enjoy following you back to Portland (in spirit only, of course, not being a stalker myself). I have a blog too, but also a husband of almost 27 years. Have met a lot of people who found our blog and then came to San Pedro. I don’t think I have any stalkers, but anything is possible. :-)

  6. Ha! Heather, you are too funny. What a great story – I totally understand your impulse to tell it to the masses like a broken record. It’s awesome! And congratulations on the babies! I just found your blog and, though I haven’t had a chance to read from start to finish (which I will – I am a huge dork), I suppose, then, that I am your new ‘stalker.’ Or maybe I am just a stalker of Portland.

    I’ve been Googling and BlogLoving in search of Portland blogs (I found you through Dave Knows, ha!) since my love and I will be relocating there this year. Trying to get a lay of the land, and of course it is nice to read what some Portlanders have to say on the daily to get me super-motivated and excited for the move.

    Good luck with the job and apartment hunt!

  7. Look back at blog post Feb. 16, 2008, you wrote…. I haven’t met my husband yet. Who knew?! Great story.

  8. Tracy Thomas says:

    Hey Heather (and Dave) – if Dave is interested at all in Jive Software, have him get in touch with me – it’s a truly awesome company to work for.

  9. Thank you all, my lovelies. Can I tell you how much better it feels to finally be able to “share” everything again? Keeping my yap shut totally sucked!

  10. That’s an excellent story!

    I don’t have an apartment or a job to offer, but I’ve been meaning to clean up the double-stroller to sell it on Craigslist. Interested? I’d sell it to you for $50 which is half of what I wanted from CL (also known as 1/6 what my mom paid for it, or 1/12 of what other brands charge). It’s a great stroller and technically the kids have not outgrown it as they are both still under 50 pounds, but we use the bike instead now so it should go to a home where it would get used. It works from birth with no additional adapters needed, too.

    Man, my comments are always too long. Sorry. I just got excited about having something you could use.

  11. God damn us Stroms are smoooooth.

  12. Your writing cracks me up. Love the last line :)

  13. Best. Ending. Line. Ever.

    Congrats to the 5 of you (including kitty).

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