Follower

On a recent morning drive to work, taking one of my eight different routes to the same destination, I noticed a driver patiently following a slower vehicle in another lane. They suddenly switched lanes and began following me. Apparently my superior automotive handling and appropriate rate of speed warranted a follower. Funny that a simple lane change by a stranger almost felt like a complement (thank you Social Media for placing an inordinate value on the number of likes and followers we receive). Then I thought for a brief moment that maybe, just maybe, we all have a latent desire to be followed.

For the remainder of the drive an old black and white TV drama I’d watched re-played in my mind. It followed a very pretty, very lonely young woman who’d gone to the city to spend her day visiting the various shops. At some point she’d noticed a handsome young man who seemed to be at each of the same shops as she was. She caught his eye and felt a twinge of attraction—or empathy from him even. Shop by shop, maintaining a short distance behind her, he continued to follow. Was this a coincidence perhaps? Was it her imagination or was he intentionally following her? To test her suspicions she next stopped at a corner Café for a coffee. He did as well yet sat in a back booth by himself. Her heart skipped a beat. He was handsome and she was married to an older executive who had no time for her whatsoever.

The drama concluded with the deflating revelation that her negligent yet jealous husband had hired an investigator to follow her just to keep tabs. It was a sad ending really, with no redeeming message other to spotlight the very human desire we all have to be noticed.

The story put a punctuation mark on the plain fact that many a human soul just wants to be acknowledged really, to receive a nod, a small token of appreciation. There’s so much more to be said here but I’m out of time . . .