Armed with a first name, what my friend thinks he said his last name was — it definitely started with a D — and a team sport that he played back in college (though we do not know which college, nor year; my friend is a terrible reporter) I crack my knuckles above my laptop keyboard, roll my head, push my sleeves up and begin to get to work on my friend’s behalf. This is modern-day winging.
Okay. We met him at the party that we went to last Saturday, which means he’s friends with those guys but I don’t think he went to school with them because otherwise we would have met him sooner.
I wonder if he works with any of them. And I wish I knew who he was actually friends with of this group because I’d just look him up by way of their Facebook friends but I don’t feel like going through 100 Johns.
I open up Instagram. Go to the account of the guy who had the party. Maybe our mystery man tagged him.
Lotta photos taken and tagged that night, apparently. *Scroll, scroll.* I didn’t know Liz was there! I comment, “Can’t believe I didn’t see you!” Realize I just commented that on some stranger’s Instagram, not Liz’s. Win some, lose some. Who is this girl though? Lots of mutual friends.
What a cute puppy.
It has its own Instagram? I better investigate it for the next hour hour, just to be sure that I couldn’t give it a better life.
Who’s that in the background of this puppy photo? He’s cute. What’s his deal? Hahah, that’s such a funny caption. Is it weird to use that later? I’ll wait a week. It’s from a movie anyway so it’s not like he’d know.
Fully involved in his life now, such a cute family. They all look the same. I might love him. He doesn’t live here but we could make this work. I mean look at his sweater collection. This would expand my wardrobe by at least 10 percent, even if it was just on weekends. I guess we’d figure it out. Who’s she?
K. She’s cute.
Oh interesting, she’s friends with Taylor and Jake. I wonder how she knows them. Taylor’s annoying. I like that dress. I wonder if she tagged who makes it. It almost feels like common courtesy these days, right? Not tagged. Selfish. Sick of her.
Speaking of…how Jake’s doing? I might as well just check since it’s been awhile and I’m on this thing.
His account’s still public. What a dumbass. What a blessing!
I’m forty-four weeks deep. This is high risk, expert-level back-stalking. One shaky slip of the hand, one sneeze and I’m done. I will shamelessly like almost anyone’s year-old-photo because at this point we all in this thing called life together. This is what unifies us. But not with me and him.
He’s been out of the country a lot. Greece, really? Interesting. He never mentioned Greece to me.
And he’s taken up fishing, I see.
I now know that he had a girlfriend for a minute (who commented on every single photo during that time) and appears, once again, to be single. Her profile’s blocked. I’m bored, which is relieving. Is there anything more sweet in the whole wide world than realizing you don’t care anymore? Note to self: clear history later. Back to the task at hand, almost forgot God’s work that I was doing.
I text my friend: “He gave you his number, right? Give me.”
She texts it back and tells me not to call him. Obviously I’m not going to call him, that would be psychotic. Although the thought of just going full Nev Schulman on him like, “Hi, I’m from the award-winning, critically acclaimed show you may or may not have heard of where we expose your online love life to anyone who still watches MTV” is very tempting, just to get a last name so I can find this guy for my friend. I still hold that one of the biggest injustices of the first Serial is that Catfish’s Max Joseph and Nev were not asked to help.
Speaking of, I take a page from their book, do what they do and google the number. Bingo: we have a last name. I feel dirty. I think I know his sister. I turn my attention toward Facebook and —
SHIT. My phone’s calling him. I try to hang up instantly but forget in this brief moment of panic. There we go, that was close. How do I delete my voicemail message in case he calls me back? She’s going to kill me.
Google “how to delete voicemail message.”
Think I figured it out. I text my roommate in the next room to call me. It’s ringing. He hangs up too quickly and yells out that I didn’t answer.
“I KNOW,” I yell back. “Try again, I need you to listen to my voicemail.”
He does, it’s deleted, we’re clear. I’m sweating. I feel like Chloe on 24 guiding Kiefer Sutherland. This is too stressful. I need a new line of work. But first, this guy, because I need to see what his deal is for my friend.
I settle in, open up a tab of his LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter — to inspect later — then as I click backward through his photos (back to front, just like the right way to read a magazine) while searching for potential incriminating evidence that this guy might be a serial killer, I say a prayer that I do not accidentally friend him.
Because that would just be weird.
Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.