I’m not talking about typical, so commonplace we hardly notice it, harassment that comes as a result of being a woman in America (or on Earth, I guess–maybe on other planets they don’t have this problem). I’m talking about a guy in Morocco who has been repeatedly emailing and calling me at work for months, trying to get me to send him free books.
Basically, what happened was that he wanted free books so he pretended to be a book reviewer, and I said I’d send him a few even though he seemed off because I wanted him to leave me alone. But then he ignored every request I made to stop calling me daily to check on the books. It was a little amusing, though annoying. Then I found out he emailed my assistant as well and it stopped being funny. I explained that because he had deliberately gone against our policy and, more importantly, the rules I had established (which I had told him about 600 times), he wouldn’t be getting any books. When he called to yell at me, I explained yet again that I would not be sending free books. Our last interaction was a few weeks ago.
Yesterday, he called again.
I answered the phone because I wanted to tell him for once and for all to leave me alone. My colleagues looked at me in disbelief when they heard me speaking to him because, well, they couldn’t believe he’d actually called again. And while I laughed when I got off the phone, it wasn’t very humorous. I’m now worried there is something really wrong with this man, and he will somehow come to America, locate our office, make his way into the building, and find me so he can strangle me for not sending him free books for no reason.
It’s possible I’m being dramatic here. Maybe not. The same day, a coworker received an email from a professor with more swear words than my mother probably knows exist, and more disgusting imagery than I knew existed.
People are crazy. I already knew that. But being harassed by one of them has shown me that some people have enough crazy in them to scare me from across the globe. It makes me glad to have the sort of crazy that, as far as I’m aware, has only had the reach to scare people within the 5 boroughs.