Cross Enough To Spit

Zoë Sharp

This is not the blog I was intending to write this week. In fact, it’s not the blog I’d already written.

But I’m so angry I could spit.

It’s not the kind of anger where steam comes out of your ears and the blood vessels in your eyes burst and the cords in your neck stand out, and you can stride about and break china while raging at the world.

It’s a small, pointless, useless kind of anger. The kind that burns you up inside so cold and fierce it makes your hands ache.

You see, I’m angry over something stupid. Something that is done and out there and I can do nothing about.

A simple mistake on somebody else’s part, that probably seems little more than a minor slip-up to them. The kind of everyday error that will be forgotten in the time it takes to drink half a cup of coffee, take a phone call, have a smoke break.

But I’m a crime writer. I deal in the what if. And, in this case, I deal in the what did as well.

Yesterday, I arrived home to find waiting for me a copy of one of the magazines I photograph for – and you’ll excuse me if I don’t tell you which one. At first, I was delighted. I’ve clocked up another front cover. All kudos. Lovely.

Then I had a leaf through and found an advert for a company involved in one of the photoshoots. The advertising department had previously phoned to ask if they could use one of the photos I’d taken in the advert. As always, I said yes, but asked if it would be possible to have a photo credit. ‘Photo by…’ or maybe ‘Photo courtesy of…’ and my name.

Nothing else. I don’t have a website for the photography. When I first started doing it, such things did not exist, and since then I’ve never needed one. Editors in the field know my work. If new ones want examples, they can take a walk through a newsagents and they’ll find plenty.

This advert had my name on it, in small print below the picture. So far, so good.

In much larger print across the bottom, it also had my work email address. Still no problem, although I didn’t ask for it. I only tend to do magazine shoots, or favours for friends, so I don’t really need for people who don’t know me to get in touch.

It also had my mobile number, which started me getting a bit twitchy, but the final straw was my home telephone number. And, just in case anyone didn’t fully appreciate that fact, it had a helpful (h) after it.

Now, there will be many of you who are sitting there at this moment, going, “So what?” And, to be honest, that’s what the person in the advertising department was clearly thinking when I called to point out their mistake. Particularly as the biggest cock-up – as far as they were concerned – was the fact that they’d managed to include all my details, but no contact information at all for the company whose services they were actually supposed to be advertising, who will rightly feel slightly miffed about the whole thing.

I’ve probably bored you all before with the story of the incident that kick-started my interest in self-defence as well as my career in crime writing. But for those of you who don’t know, many years ago, when I was working freelance for a motoring magazine, I went out to do an interview with a guy who was supposed to own an interesting collection of cars. When I arrived at his house, he seemed very surprised that my Other Half, Andy was with me.

And the collection of cars did not actually exist.

That was not long after a real estate agent called Suzy Lamplugh had gone to show a mystery client around an unoccupied house. She was never seen again.

And I began to wonder what would have happened if I’d turned up alone to do that interview, alone. What was this guy planning to do then?

Shortly afterwards, the death-threat letters began. Whenever my photograph appeared alongside my regular monthly column in the magazine, the letters arrived. Cut out of newspaper like a ransom note, calling me female filth, scum, telling me my days were numbered.

Telling me they knew where I lived.

The police never pinned down who was sending them, and eventually they petered out without my poisoned-pen pal ever making good on his – or her – threats.

But it made me careful, wary. I had a mobile phone long before it was the norm, so I couldn’t be tracked via my land-line number to the village where I was living at the time. I opened up a PO Box address in the nearest large town, so I could receive mail without it coming to my home address, and printed only that and the mobile on my business cards.

And, of course, I learned a LOT of self-defence.

I was reminded of this when I was at the CrimeFest convention in Bristol last weekend, because I did a short self-defence demonstration for one of the In The Spotlight slots on Saturday morning. Aussie author Helen Fitzgerald ably volunteered to be my crash-test dummy, and together we showed the standing-room only audience how to avoid being stabbed or strangled.

But the best form of self-defence, I told the crowd, was not to be there in the first place. Not to put yourself in a position where you needed it.

Not to have your home telephone number published in a magazine.

But how do you explain all this to someone for whom it’s no more than a little slip-up that will be forgotten by lunchtime, and not carried home with them at the end of the day?

So, am I overreacting? Have you ever had a minor incident that shook you up even though, technically, nothing happened? Or do you see people taking risks with their personal safety, oblivious?

What makes you angry in a small way?

This week’s Word of the Week is chapfallen (or chopfallen), which means ‘dropped jaw’ from chap or chop (jaw or jowls), hence depressed, crestfallen, dispirited. It dates back to the 16th century; today we associate jaw-dropping with surprise rather than sadness.

54 thoughts on “Cross Enough To Spit

  1. Karen in Ohio

    Oh, my, Zoe. I hope your stalker misses this one.

    Can you change your home phone number, and make it private? I’d be livid, as well.

  2. Jake Nantz

    Wow. Just wow. Um, Zoe? Hell no you aren’t overreacting. I’d be so livid I might actually bust a blood vessel or eight. And believe me, I have just an inkling how you feel, but can’t imagine with all of the death threats and what-not how bad it must really be burning you up. I’m a teacher, so I don’t want any of my former students, for any reason, to know where I live unless my wife and I personally invite them. Even the ones I like. And yet my personal info is also out there in cyberspace despite the efforts I’ve made to keep it private, due to someone else’s fuck-up and refusal to fix it.

    No, you aren’t overreacting at all, and this little twat who did it in the first place was either being very dense, or mean-spirited ("you want a credit? I’ll show you a credit"–sort of thing). In either case, I hope they aren’t allowed to further stain the gene pool, but I’m sure there are two or three little dense-ettes running around as we speak. I hope this doesn’t come back on you at any point, but yeah, you have every right to be angry.

  3. JD Rhoades

    No, you’re not overreacting. Lot of nutcases out there.

    Have you ever had a minor incident that shook you up even though, technically, nothing happened?

    Quite a few. Last weekend, someone reacted to a column that I wrote by posting in the comments section on the newspaper’s website that someone was going to "beat my ass like my parents should have."

    Then there are the threats I got for writing in what, at the time, I considered very polite opposition to the Iraq War. The most amusing of those was a "reminder" that ‘they hanged Benedict Arnold, you know." This managed to be not only vaguely threatening but historically inaccurate. (You can look it up).

    I quit being so polite after that.

    And, of course, since part of my day job involves standing up in court and arguing that some children should not be given back to abusive and occasionally psychotic parents, I’ve heard a few threats (passed to me secondhand, so far. Funny how these people aren’t so brave to my face).

    There’s a reason I generally travel armed.

  4. Mary

    Overreacting! I’m surprised you even had to ask. I’m sure your language with the department was more polite than mine would have been.
    There are too many nut cases out there and you’ve experienced more than your fair share. Please be careful.
    I’ve recently had two people go after me on their blogs but are not willing to do so face to face. Amazing how the internet gives people courage they don’t show in person.

  5. Mary Arrr

    It amazes me how many women don’t realize that when they give out their home phone number they are basically giving out their home address as well. (At least in the US, if you are in the directory.)

    Personally, I would call the police department local to the magazine and see if I could find someone willing to have a talk with the editor – along the lines of "this is very serious and we’re trying to find out some facts now in case things bad things happen later." Because this should be appended to the reports from the investigations of your stalker, with the editor’s contact info.

    The power hierarchy at the magazine may preclude this, but this level of dangerous stupidity really should be addressed.

  6. Zoë Sharp

    Thanks, Jake

    I can’t blame you for not wanting your students – or their parents, more to the point – knowing where you live.

    I just hate getting uselessly angry. I knew I had to call and point out their mistake, and I wanted them to be apologetic about it (and preferably sincere) but at the same time I knew there was absolutely nothing that could be done about it.

    I don’t even think it was mean-spirited, either. It was just dense.


  7. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Dusty

    "There’s a reason I generally travel armed."

    Sadly, we’re not allowed to do that over here any more. I can only carry what I can pick up at the time, or what I have inside my head ;-]

    Keyboard heroes annoy me even more than those who are, at least, prepared to be abusive to your face. But it’s a bit of a toss-up, I have to admit. I just as rather have neither.

    As for specific threats, I’ve had somebody ring me up and mention the words "baseball bat" and "your kneecaps" in the same sentence, but that was somehow much less scary (even though they probably meant it a lot more) because at least I knew where the threat was coming from.

  8. Dana King

    I’d be furious over something like that. It’s an invasion of privacy, and a total disregard for the sensitivities of the person whose information was released without their permission.

    What makes me angry in a small way? here a brief stretch of road I travel every morning on my way to work; i call it my bucolic drive, about half a mile of road where the surrounding trees create an almost complete canopy. I drive t right at the speed limit because, even though I’d love to dawdle through it, i don’t want to hold anyone else up. Every so often someone passes me across a double yellow line, and it pisses me off royally. I keep fantasizing about catching them at a stop light or the Metro station, but it’s like a dog chasing a car: if i caught them, what would I do on them?

    Hmmm, I like the dog analogy. maybe I could mark my territory.

  9. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Mary

    I’m sorry you’ve had people going for you in the blogosphere. We’re back to keyboard heroes again, aren’t we? I’ve had people make rude remarks about me on Twitter, but apparently they were drunk at the time.

    That defence wears a little thin when it’s made to somebody who can’t drink, and therefore doesn’t have that as a fallback excuse for intentional or unintentional rudeness!

  10. Gayle Carline

    What the hell were they thinking? For Pete’s sake, your photo credit byline, maybe an email or website address, and Shut The Hell Up. Maybe there’s someone higher up in the advertising department who might understand the liability of the magazine if someone decides to use that (h) number to track you down and tell you in person how much they love/hate you. Idiots.

  11. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Dana

    People driving like a prat is always annoying. We see it all the time on the stretch of road between our nearest town and the motorway – the last-minute Larry who always leaves it too late to overtake safely, and then has to muscle his way in when, surprise, surprise, oncoming traffic appears.

    Have you thought about carrying a paintball gun? ;-]

  12. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Gayle

    Yeah, I did think about it, but venting off without a clear reason in mind is always counter-productive, I’ve found. If you’re going to get mad with someone, you should know what you want to happen at the end of the call. If the only reason you’re doing it is to make yourself feel better … it probably won’t.

    Wish I still had that punchbag hanging up in the garage, though ;-]

  13. Robert Gregory Browne

    Overreacting? Hardly. I would have been mightily pissed, too. Hell, I would’ve been pissed about the mobile number being printed. Why on earth would anyone think to print anything beyond your name?

    I’ve never had anything happen to me personally, but when I was a kid in Honolulu, a friend of the family — who was a local news anchor — started getting anonymous death threats, and I remember how scared he was, and how it also terrified me. I often babysitted for him and his wife.

    Nothing ever came of it, but it was a scary few months there.

  14. Louise Ure

    Christ on a Crutch, Zoe. What an outrageously stupid error. I would have gone on a full frontal rant with that editor.

    When I first built my website, I included a photo of my car license plate, a vanity plate with an Arizona-centric message, because I thought it was appropriate to my Arizona-based writing. Former cop Robin Burcell wrote me the first day the site went live to say, "Are you nuts?" I took it down within an hour.

  15. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Zoe – I think you should e:mail your blog to that editor. I think she would understand the depth of her mistake within the context of your history. And then maybe she could place herself in your position.

    I never knew your history with the psycho letters. That’s the kind of thing that really freaks me out. I don’t want my family to become the target of some lunatic who might be offended by my words.

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when the media takes an author’s comments out of context in an effort to sensationalize a story. And then the author (or actor or political figure) has to do a tap dance in order to explain himself, which, of course, gives more opportunities to quote him or her out of context. The media always wins that game.

  16. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Rob

    Yeah, I wasn’t keen on the mobile number being given out, either, but my home number is withheld when I dial out, on the register that means you don’t get cold calls, and ex-Directory. If I’m asked to give a phone number, I usually give out the mobile, although we did advertise a car for sale years ago and put Andy’s mobile number on the advert. The suggestions he got about what various ‘ladies’ would like him to do to them in/on/around it, had to be seen to be believed.

    Still, he might have been more alarmed if they’d been coming from Big Lenny on B-Wing…

  17. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Louise

    Let me make it clear, here, it wasn’t the magazine editor’s fault. No way. This was entirely down to the delightful people in the advertising department. In fact, when we told our editor about it, it’s the first time I’ve ever heard her swear.

    And yeah, you do have to be very careful about personalised registration plates. I would never have one with a recognisably female name as part of it, as I’ve heard about potential muggers – or worse – lying in wait in parking structures, waiting for the woman to return to her car. They call your name, you stop, thinking it’s someone she knows, and before you know it, he’s got close enough to grab you. A deeply bad idea. Glad Robin pointed it out about your car reg – I would have been straight on the email to you, too!

  18. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Stephen

    Yeah, I hate the selective quoting, too. It’s one of the reasons I never used the ‘J-word’ (journalist) to describe my non-fiction writing. People have a feeling journalists are going to do that to them. The sad thing is, half the time they’re right!

    Just remembered another pet peeve that’s appropriate to this. If I call a large company – insurance, pension, or similar – and have to give out all my personal info in order to prove I am who I say I am. But then the person I’m speaking to refuses to give me more than their first name. That really ticks me off…

  19. Shizuka

    My initial reaction to your post was that the idiot who made the mistake should be shot.
    Not in the head, but somewhere fleshy like the thigh or butt.
    So I don’t think you’re overreacting at all.

    The error also doesn’t make sense: who puts phone numbers in a photography credit?

  20. Judy Wirzberger

    Road to hell and good intentions and all that kind of thing. And if I were in your position, that anger would be covering more than a teapot full of fear. Your car collector story is deeply frightening.


  21. Hannah Dennison

    Being British, I remember the Suzy Lampugh case very very clearly. My daughter was an estate agent (realtor for you guys here in the USA) and I used to worry about her going to empty houses alone. My husband often accuses me of being too trusting — your car story is terrifying!
    Unfortunately there are a lot of pervs out there …

  22. Dawn

    I don’t think you’re over reacting at ALL. Wow. In my day job, I do PR and communications for a company that expects me on call 24/7. But even then my board knows better than to give out my home number – bad enough my cell is public knowledge. Oy.

  23. Jeanne in MN


    You have every right to be upset. The internet clearly allows too much information to be collected about people. It doesn’t need help from magazines! There is a reason people chose to have an unlisted phone (that is American for Ex-Directory) and have the phone information blocked from caller ID.

    I love your attitude, by the way. "Don’t be angry just to be angry; be angry with a point or result you hope to accomplish." (Hope I paraphrased you correctly).

  24. Eika

    I’m twenty, so I haven’t faced many situations like this myself. I’ve got some self-defense training and am getting more, so I hope I’ll be prepared for it when it comes.

    But I was in one. Amazingly, I was thirteen. Threatening phone calls that my parents started off calling ‘pranks’ that quickly became less amusing. They gave out fake names of my classmates, we had police officers talking to them on the phone, but they were never tracked down. Still creeps me out; I was an over-bullied kid who stuck to her principals, so I can still name a dozen people I think it could be.

    And we can’t trace it. My parents still don’t have a cell phone, either of them, and my mom’s a music teacher. All her students had her number- including dozens who have siblings my age or friends with siblings my age- and she’s occasionally paid for private lessons by a student or adult.

  25. Tom

    No one with a scrap of sense would think you foolish about this, Zoë. It’s a beautiful world, but there are serpents as well as fairies at the bottom of the garden.

  26. Allison Davis

    Zoe, you have a perfect right to be angry. if you get really ticked off, and want a lawyer, let me know. Idiots. Just awful about the weird situations…that’s a lesson right there — interviews with the stalker, yikes.

    My personal information as far as work goes is completely out there, and I’m always fending off spam, weirdos, and recruiters. I guard my personal information like the crown jewels and hate it when I get spam or junk at home. I think the worst though was when my ex husband refused to pay any bills, and all the collectors started calling me early in the morning (usually on Sunday) and late at night. After spending two weeks giving them the anger that should have been addressed elsewhere, I patiently gave them a forwarding number and address. They have since stopped calling.

  27. Rae

    Zoe, you are so not over-reacting, and I agree with Stephen. You should email your blog post to those chowderheads. In my view they were almost criminally irresponsible.

    As to small anger – there’s a whole category of behavior that can be described as ill-mannered, unseemly, arrogant, thoughtless. You know what I’m talking about: the guy who just has to push in front of you at the security turnstile; the gal who makes the condescending remark as if she’s just kidding. Those types of things. They can make me simmer for hours, until I realize that I’m in the fortunate position of not having to look at *their* faces in the mirror every morning.

  28. toni mcgee causey

    Not only are you justified in being outraged, but I’m glad you were, and pointed out the mistake to the people who were oblivious. It’s their job to think about how what they put in a magazine affects the people viewing it, and if they’re so dense as to not realize that this is a mistake, then they can’t be doing all that great of a job for their clients. But more importantly, maybe you opened up more than a few eyes over there about the sort of danger doing something like this puts a woman in and they’ll be smarter. You may not have just prevented yourself from hassles, but you may have at least prevented them from repeating the idiocy and harming someone else. Smart, justified anger has a great use in correcting wrongs, and I’m glad you used yours to at least educate the idiots.

  29. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Shizuka

    I’ve now had another phone call from the advertising exec involved, and although she was still outwardly apologetic, I could hear in her voice that she’s mystified about the fuss.

    Some people just don’t get it, and it’s not my job to beat it into them.

    But shooting them in the arse – NOW you’re talking…

  30. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Judeeee (is that enough ‘eee’s?)

    I love the phrase ‘a teapot full of fear’, as the only nefarious use of a teapot I’ve come across lately is as a means of inhaling heroin!

    Things that frighten us do make us angry, that’s very true. I’m aware that I now get too aggressive too quickly if I feel cornered.

  31. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Hannah

    I can understand your fears about your daughter, but I have to say that since I’ve learned self-defence, I haven’t needed it. Maybe I’m giving off a ‘mess with me and I’ll rip your head off and spit down your neck’ kind of vibe?

    And there are different levels of trusting. It’s very sad that fear of being taken advantage of can make people not reach out when someone’s in trouble.

  32. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Dawn

    Cell numbers are a lot more impersonal somehow, aren’t they? If you have it switched on, you half expect calls, and getting calls on your cellphone at home is much less of an invasion that getting a call direct on your land-line.

  33. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Jeanne

    You paraphrased perfectly – probably put it much better than I did to start with! I do the same thing with emails and complaint letters. If I’m just writing to complain for the sake of it, I don’t bother, although I’ll occasionally write the letter/email anyway, just to get it off my chest, and then delete it unsent.

  34. Chris

    You have EVERY right to be upset that personal information was shared publicly. I taught in a state prison once and was trained to guard myself from conveying any personal information to the clientelle. Cons are called that because they can easily con you out of information before you are aware of it if you aren’t vigilant all of the time. You wouldn’t believe the things I heard co-workers share with these felons. No, you were right to make them aware of their neglilgence.

  35. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Eika

    How scary those phone calls must have been for you and your family! And you didn’t really have the option to change your number, which was very awkward.

    Reminds me of something that might have been scary but was actually quite funny. Years ago we were living in an apartment which we rented out briefly to a girl whose name also happened to be Zoë. When we moved back in, we used to get phone calls for her that ended in confusion, with me not quite sure which Zoë they were after. Then one girl kept ringing up asking to speak to James. I explained there was no James at that number, and she became quite abusive, obviously thinking I had stolen away her boyfriend. This lasted until Andy picked the phone up one day, and then she clearly realised her mistake and the calls stopped abruptly!

  36. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Allison

    You have my sympathies on the difficulties with the ex-husband. We once had a phone number that was one digit different from the local fruit and veg wholesaler, and people occasionally called us by accident very, very early in the morning to put their order in, which was a little annoying. And my husband had a business phone number that was similar to a local taxi firm, so if he was working late he’d get drunks ringing up to order a cab.

    And bless you for the offer of lawyering duties, but it won’t go that far! For some years I’ve been working on the theory that I am ‘too old to take shit’ and will give both barrels to anyone who rings up and tries to make trouble ;-]

  37. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Rae

    What a lovely attitude. Yes, life is full of minor irritations, but you’re quite right – we don’t look in the mirror in the morning and see their faces.

    We were behind a car in traffic yesterday when the window opened and an empty drinks can flew out into the gutter. THAT always makes me mutter under my breath.

  38. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Toni

    Thank you for that, but I fear the advertising exec in question still thinks this is a fuss over nothing. I could still hear the "So what?" attitude during the second phone call from her.


  39. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Chris

    I can well believe not only that you had to be so careful what personal info you gave to the inmates at the prison, but also that people were very careless with their own details.

    Sometimes it doesn’t surprise me that so many people are conned.

    It surprises me that more aren’t, though…;-]

  40. Nancy Laughlin

    Hi Zoe,

    Yes, congratulations on the cover!

    Some people never do get it. No matter what happens. I had a friend once who used to, and likely still does, go off an leave her house unlocked for hours on end. She would park her car with the doors unlocked and the windows down. I told her countless times that she was asking for trouble, but she’d laugh at me and accuse me of over reacting. Of course, her car did eventually get robbed. It didn’t change anything.

    Then she asked to use my computer once. I said fine. I came home from work one day to find my office drapes open, my window fully open, my computer in full view of said open window and my front door unlocked. She was nowhere to be found. Again, she just didn’t get me anger. She never will. We’re not friends anymore for so many reasons.


  41. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Nancy

    Thank you, also! How amazing that your former friend just didn’t understand why you’d be so upset by her thoughtlessness. Being careless with your own safety is one thing, being careless with someone else’s is just not right on so many levels.

  42. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Mary (Arr)

    I’m so sorry, I missed your comment earlier and couldn’t work out why there was an odd number of comments, so I just went back through them and realised my mistake.

    I’m not prepared to take things as far as you suggest. For one thing, it’s not the fault in ANY WAY of the magazine’s editorial department – it’s the advertising department who got their wires crossed. And it’s done now. I’ve made my feelings plain. Besides, we get on with the mag’s editor, enjoy the work, and taking things to this level would make for a very awkward future working relationship.

    And I hesitate to call my mystery letter writer a stalker as such. Stalking is a constant, grinding, nasty invasion of privacy. I listen to the stories of people who’ve endured YEARS of aggressive stalking and know that my own experience was very mild by comparison. I was one of the lucky ones.

  43. Catherine

    I can only to easily understand your rage at the blithe revealing of your personal details. I’ve had friends with abusive ex husbands where they’ve undertaken name changes, moving states first clue me in on how precious our personal details are. For them it was physical safety that was paramount.I find having a silent number valuable emotionally as it’s protected me from less than stable family members…

    I tend to use my mobile number for business calls and only a select few have my home number too. Thankfully not as a result of death threats…and it stinks that you’ve had to go through that. I’m surprised sometimes at how many times someone will ask me to share someone else’s phone details. I mention to them that i will contact the person involved and let them get back to them. All I can think is that there is still a certain section of the community that sashays through life with nary a worry about anything.

    Something that made me angry in a small way was a supervisor at the library I was working in publishing my home number to a list of friend of the library people. I knew most of these people, and knew that there was a heavy showing of the blithe sharers of personal details represented on that list. The supervisor was underwhelmed by my concern. My number was deleted from public access and we found yet one more point of difference in our world view.

  44. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Catherine

    Hey, it’s bad when you have to protect yourself from family members as well as strangers!

    I’m still surprised when people hand me business cards that include their home address and details on, but maybe that’s just me being overly cautious. I certainly wouldn’t like my phone number being passed around, even to Friends of a library.

    And maybe there IS this group of people who wander oblivious through life – like Nancy’s friend – without ever managing to see the rough side of it. Sometimes, I wish I was one of them!

  45. Barbie

    You have every right in the world to be angry. I wouldn’t have said nice words to the people who published that.

    And what a scary situation you’ve been through. Ugh.

  46. Catherine

    Zoe I wonder the same thing sometimes, whether it would be good to be blissful in innocence. Maybe it’s my own brand of warped positivity but I’m happy with the hand I’ve been dealt….I have a full life filled with mostly great people and the occasional odd bod. I try to balance it all with some real world caution and an appreciation of the absurd.

    I think the riskiest relative I had was my natural mother, primarily emotionally as she wasn’t the most stable woman . Somewhere in the mix of weird that developed was the understanding that I sought her out. Cautionary tale akin to Pandora’s box. I do have a warm trusting relationship with my natural siblings though. So some good did come out of my naive wish to thank her, reassure her that my adoptive parents were/are wonderful…and let her know I was a happy whole adult. Meeting her certainly shoved me into a different level of awareness of people’s highs and lows.

  47. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Catherine

    "I have a full life filled with mostly great people and the occasional odd bod. I try to balance it all with some real world caution and an appreciation of the absurd."

    What a terrific way of looking at things. I think I’ll add ‘a dark gallows humour’ to that as well ;-]

    I’m glad you’ve reached some kind of an understanding with your natural mother, and you seem unhealthily well-balanced about the whole experience of life. I applaud you!

  48. Emma Lee

    Hi Zoe

    You’ve every right to be angry. The advertising department are in breach of the Data Protection Act as they should have checked that you were happy for your phone number(s) to go in.

    I knew someone who was stalked by an ex who would phone during the night to check he was alone (ie that a woman didn’t answer the phone), hand deliver letters on a daily basis and deliberately walk her dog past his house in case she could manufacture a meeting with him. It was very hard for him not to react, but not reacting worked and she eventually gave up. When I was still a child living at my mother’s house, we would get anonymous phone calls. They were intended for my mother but as kids we were always picking up the phone and it didn’t seem fair we were being forced to deal with a problem that wasn’t of our making. They weren’t much fun for my mother either.

    The advertising department should be reprimanded and lessons learnt.

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