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Parallax - Advice            April 10, 2000

   She's close to being borderline obsessed...

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There's a cute boy who walks by my house every so often. I usually see him from my kitchen window, around breakfast time. After a couple of times I became very curious about him. He seems very wholesome and clean cut; he always dresses nicely but casually, he is always smiling. I began realizing that I was lingering over my coffee to see if I would see him walk by. Some days he appears, others he doesn't; weekdays or weekends, there seems to be no pattern. I think he's about 25 or maybe a bit younger. A little young for me but I can't help myself. Recently I waited for him for two hours to take a picture of him from the window. I wasted 35 unused pictures and had it developed immediately. I almost had a blow-up made. I've tried drawing him, but I'm terrible. I find myself imagining what his name is, and that's not all. Yesterday things got out of hand. I decided to wait outside for him to walk by and talk to him. He never came by. I'm afraid I'm going to do this again tomorrow. I can't help myself. I've never been like this before. Should I be getting worried?

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Her view:

Dear Obsessed,

No, of course not. You have a crush. It's perfectly natural...assuming you're not married! You should enjoy your crush, they're quite fun. I encourage you to say hello and introduce yourself. What could be the harm? (OK, just don't let him see where you live.) There may be something there or you may decide he's an idiot. Either way, you will amuse yourself finding out. You'll regret never having approached your infatuation if you let him disappear. And the young part? Who cares?

So, have at it. Go meet him. He may be the guy of your dreams; at a minimum he's an interesting conversation with your friends later on. These opportunities don't come around too often. Get up your nerve and start any simple chat. I bet he'd be delighted to speak with you.

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His view:

Dear Obsessed,

Of course, by now it may be too late. You may already have made this reply moot by shoving yourself in his path and ending the exquisite drama. Perhaps by now you have discovered that he is really not as wholesome from up-close, or that he chews tobacco, wears Old Spice, and just recently ended his three-year probation.

There's nothing like a good mystery to spur the sedentary lifestyle. And even if mysteries must end, why not prolong them while you can? I'm sure my colleague will recommend that you promptly rid yourself of your obsessive compulsion and hasten to meet him. But I have a better idea. In fact, I have two.

Plan A is to stay in the dark. Keep drawing and guessing names and building your fantasy of him until he's so perfect, so just the way you want him to be, that you'll never have the guts to find out he really isn't. And you know  he isn't.

Plan B is to wean yourself off until you can approach him without the awkward self-consciousness of your fixation advertised all over your clumsy movements and flaky conversation. In your case, weaning might require your voluntary removal to a vacation spot for a few days. Ask a friend for help.

With either plan I venture you'll be less disappointed than if you rush out to meet him.

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