Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The stalker came again and rang the bell at the house door for a long time. I sat silently at my desk in case someone let him in and he came to the apartment door.  Someone asked him what he wanted from a window; I heard him explaining; they didn't buzz him in.  He went back to ringing the doorbell. After a while he stopped. I assume he has gone away. I do need to leave Berlin.

It seems to me that life would be impossible if one went around anxiously wondering whether it was safe to let people know where one lived, but this is pretty tiring.

8 comments:

Patrick Stuart said...

I hope you are ok. That sounds frightening.

Helen DeWitt said...

Well, he has been around for years now. (He is not assiduous, he just turns up from time to time.) But it would still be better to get away.

leah said...

Yikes! I hope there are other more positive reasons to take a vacation too. You are always welcome in Boston!

Mithridates said...

I'm sorry to hear you have a lazy stalker. A girl like deserves a commitment. I hope you can find a more systematic and pertinacious harasser in the future.

Mithridates said...

(like *you*. Keep stepping on my own jokes.)

Helen DeWitt said...

Leah - I did take a vacation, I went to Budapest and Vienna back in June. But what I mean is, I want to live somewhere else. I think I've been here too long in any case, and I'm tired of running into this guy.

Mith - Maybe I should ask my Russian friend in Paris to talk to him. I sometimes wonder whether he simply doesn't understand enough of what I say, either in German or English, to realize he is de trop.

Anonymous said...

I have read this story now and I just dont know what to think. You never told the guy to fuck off and leave you alone, far form it, you let him help you with some wood and stuff and then you complain when he comes back. You let this go on for such a long time, a big problem here is that it sounds like you are inable to say no, you`re always polite and friendly. You cant even hit a guy in the head to save your own life. And, you, like many other stalking `victims` seem to forget one important thing; your problem always comes to you. You can simply set up a trap, wait and blow the guys head off. Done. End of story. But you dont do anything, you complain and that``s all. I mean, you talked to the police several times, they knew about the problem, had he been shot late one night, no one would have blamed you for it. So sorry, if you cant say the word no or hit people in the head, then I`m amazed that you``re still around. You must be very lucky becasue you have the survival skills of a wounded baby bird with only one eye.

Helen DeWitt said...

Anon,

I think you are talking about a different stalker. This post was about a stalker who knew the location of my apartment in Berlin.

The stalker in Berlin paid no attention to my requests to be left alone; since I was in an apartment building, it was possible to keep him out most of the time by refusing to buzz him in. If someone else let him into the building, he could bang on my door, but if I waited long enough he would go away. That was unfortunately not the situation in Vermont.

With regard to the Vermont stalker saga, the LRB specified a maximum length for the article of 4000 words, which had to cover a lot of ground. If I had written the piece early on, it would have been possible to discuss in more detail the sequence of events leading to the notice against trespass. I gather that the necessary omissions have given you a misleading impression. It would be nice if members of the general public did not leap to conclusions with insufficient information, but it is, to my mind, vital that a public prosecutor not do so.