The Starbucks Stalker…and His Grande Drip

04 Feb

With Valentine’s Day so close, I wasn’t that surprised to find that I have a secret admirer who has been buying my daily grande coffee.  This is at the Starbucks on the campus where I teach.  It’s not that I think so highly of myself, not by a long or a double shot.  It’s just that over the years of dating, of relationships and marriage, I’ve become keenly aware that nut cases love me.  Maybe it’s my stubborn streak born from being raised by a tough Greek defense lawyer who never backed down, not even when a gun was pointed in his face.  Maybe it’s my girlish voice that might  mistakenly sound to the deeply disturbed like some form of vulnerability.

The girl working behind the counter seems disappointed at my non reaction when she tells me my drinks have been bought for the past two weeks by a tall man with graying hair.  She makes a funny face.  “How come you haven’t noticed?” she asks.  Granted, this is a valid question.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been occasionally buying a pound of coffee along with my order and just assumed I was getting the larger size for free.  “It’s a tall you get for free,” she shoots back, handing me my bag of freshly ground Pike Place.  Or maybe it’s because my mind is on teaching my classes.  Maybe even it’s because I’m already married.  At this news, she frowns.  “I don’t think he knows that.”

Will this rather pertinent news stop him, I wonder?  Where was he right then is what I wanted to know next.  Hiding behind a pillar?  Has he been following me from my classes, from the office I share with my husband?  Does he know the make and color of my car?  Whatever happened to the time when a man found a woman interesting and simply introduced himself?

My cautiousness goes back to my years of dating and even before.  In my late teens I was at a sporting event with a friend when a nice smelling man in leather loafers dropped a plastic beer cup beside me in a crowd, stomped on it and shouted, “Hey, Baby, you hear that?  That’s the sound of my heart breaking ’cause you won’t talk to me.”  To lose him, I hid out in the ladies restroom for, it seemed, nearly half an hour.  Finally, he gave up and stumbled off since I was being such a buzz kill.  I never did see his face.  Years later an enraged guy I’d broken up with a month earlier relentlessly called me all night long until I finally took the phone off the hook and slept at my best friend’s house for safe measure.  The next morning when I returned to my place, I spotted him dangerously close, ducking down in his hatchback from across the street.  Only after I locked myself inside my place and a squad car pulled up did the crazy ex drive away.  Why didn’t I understand, he would later explain to me through a barely coherent letter, that he simply missed me.

There is at least one other more recent example of invasive harassment I could bring up, but here’s hoping that man is taking the recommended dosage of anti-psychotic meds as prescribed by his physician.  So when does a seemingly flattering gesture become creepy?  Maybe when the person behind it refuses to actually show his face.


Leave a Reply


  1. Mia

    February 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    It seems like the stalking of women is getting worse and worse. Unfortunately it seems its common. Thanks for sharing your story with a somewhat lighthearted bent. I have one of my own.

  2. Renalda

    February 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Most men have to get a better game on that’s for sure.

  3. Diego

    February 5, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Hey, women aren’t the only ones who get stalkers posing as secret admirers. Mine
    showed up in front of the store I worked, she kept saying she wanted to give me
    something. I never did find out what was behind her back. Even guys get scared of
    that $&#!

    • Sunday Times Book Reader

      February 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      Ha! Couldn’t agree more! This one from Priamos is particularly entertaining and hits close to home.

      • Wine Lover

        February 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

        I can appreciate the dry humor, but I would be careful about someone who buys your coffee for weeks on end and never shows his face? You’re right when you called it creepy. Be careful.

        • Lupe G.

          February 9, 2011 at 7:05 am

          I had a woman who stalked me. I didn’t want to be friends with her but she kept calling my house showing up parked next to me to pick up our kids from school . We go to the same church. I don’t know what her problem is.

          • Paula

            February 9, 2011 at 8:52 am

            Maybe you should try, if you haven’t tried this already, bringing another friend with you to pick up your kid. This person could act as a buffer…or a potential witness. Hang in there.

          • Lupe G.

            February 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm

            I will! Thank you for the suggestion.

  4. Naoko

    February 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Watch your back.

    • Miles

      February 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      There is a fine line between attraction and obsession, to be sure. Again, Ms. Priamos manages to lighten up parts of a rather dark subject with her own dry style of humor.

  5. andy brown

    February 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    just wanted to let you know i’m following your blog. much like csusb men are following you to starbucks…

    • Paula

      February 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Good to know…thanks so much for your kind of support, Andrew. Tell Jen I said hi.

      • Samantha

        February 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm

        I just figured out the meaning behind your title! So funny.
        Sorry nutjobs love you but I love hearing your stories about them. keep them coming!

  6. Mystery Reader

    February 18, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Hilarious content, I agree. Not for the simple minded. I will also check out the journal where your work will be published.

  7. Hawthorne

    February 19, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I bet that man has a seven-year old untouched bottle of Viagra he’s been trying to use up. Gotta finish that bucket list, ‘ya dig?

    • Paula

      February 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Right, Hawthorne. I’m down with it. And for the record, I’m not interested in being on some senior citizen’s last chance to-do list.

  8. Rose

    February 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Just wanted to give you a shout out for one hell of an entertaining blog site! You’ve got a reader in me.

  9. Lainey

    February 25, 2011 at 12:28 am

    Oh my God, you do find some strange types at Starbucks especially at night or early in the am!

    • Marcus

      February 27, 2011 at 7:23 am

      I stupidly thought Starbucks was a safe zone from stalkers. Good to know you don’t have to be in a bar or a gym to relentlessly get hit on. I’ll make it quick the next time I’m ordering up my Latte, extra foam.

  10. Guy

    March 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Fantastic blog posts. Will continue to bookmark.