But let me catch everyone else up first

I read a post the other day about the fear that unscrupulous so-and-sos could read your Twitter* posts and use information about your where-abouts to (god forbid) break into your home.

∗ collective stream-of-consciousness internet-ey thing

Anyway, if you’re over 55 and/or related to me, this thought will scare you silly. If not, it’s completely possible/likely that it’s a direct hit to the funny bone for you.

But moving away from you for a minute … I have something to say to my Twitter stalker burglar.

Hi there, Twitter stalker burglar

There is so much I’d like to be able to say to you. For one thing, your ingenuity: it is impressive.

You obviously work very hard at what you do. Which is admirable. And intense. I mean, most people would just stick to easy stuff like casing an actual neighborhood or stealing someone’s mail (I hear identity theft is very trendy right now). Not you, though.

What really gets me? All the steps you’d need to take to burgle someone via Twitter. Honestly, I get a stress-headache just thinking about it. Let’s make a list so it’s not so overwhelming.

You’d have to:

  1. Follow thousands of Twitter folk and devote a huge chunk of time to tracking all their updates just in the hopes that someone announces a jaunt out of town. That’s probably already half your day.
  2. Then you have to find out if that person actually lives in your city or state. If not, you could alert a burglar friend of yours who happens to be from those parts, if you have one. Silly me, you’re probably only following people where you’re from.
  3. Once you have your mark and you know when they’re leaving town, you need to nail down their address.
  4. Now the hard part. Once you’ve nailed down the address, you still have to ascertain that it’s their actual abode, and not the place they have their mail sent to because most people with businesses have both and don’t give out the former. That might take some complicated hacking, but you’ve got time on your hands so it’s no big deal.
  5. Then it’s time to find out if your intended “burglar-ee” (sorry for not being more familiar with the jargon in your field) has arranged for a housesitter or is letting their brother-in-law stay over. Or if they have dogs. Or an alarm system.

    Oh, well, if they didn’t say anything about it on Twitter, just assume you’re fine. It’s all part of the game.

  6. And of course you need a way into the house without any of the neighbors seeing you.

There are probably more steps than that, but I’m already boggling at your work ethic. So let’s just pretend you’ve already done all this and more — and now, after days of hard work, you’re in my house and ready to burgle the day away.

Please, make yourself at home. You’ve earned it.

Welcome. If you don’t know where to start, let me suggest that stack of old New Yorker issues. Isn’t Calvin Trillin the best?

In fact, if you like to read, boy are you in luck because we also have a ton of books. If they’re about history and design they probably belong to my gentleman friend, and if they’re about language and metaphor, or written by Seth Godin, they’re mine.

I hope you’re not looking for electronics because — and this is really too bad for you — we don’t have any. Yeah, we’re anti-television and things like that, and of course the laptops are with us because we both have online businesses.

Though now that I think of it, there is a little plastic radio in the closet. We got it from a KQED pledge drive. That’s right, San Francisco. It works at least half the time. You can totally have it.

You know, it occurs to me now that there might not actually be anything here that someone who isn’t us would value. And even then, we probably won’t notice. Though if you don’t mind, the blue mug was made by a friend of mine, so if you could leave that, I’d appreciate it.

Hungry? Please, help yourself. We’re all about bulk food, so I hope you like to cook. Let’s see, you could make quinoa. With an onion and the garlic. Mmmmmm. Bon Appetit.

Oh, and if you’re in a cooking mood, do make a lot so there will be leftovers for our house-sitters. You know, the ones we didn’t Twitter about because when you’re limiting yourself to 140 text characters, brevity is the name of the game. Anyway, I’m sure they’ll appreciate having something to eat.

But wait, don’t leave yet! You just got here.

There’s got to be way more for you to do here.

What are you looking for now? Cleaning supplies? I wish we had some to give to you, but we make our own from scratch. If you’re in a cleaning mood, though, you can make your own from borax and vinegar and stuff. It’s all under the sink and the recipes are on the side of the refrigerator. Ha ha ha, I’m just kidding, you really don’t have to clean. We’ll do that when we get back.

We do have a couple of DVDs. If you ever steal a computer from someone else you could watch them on that. They’re mostly yoga theory though. We also have Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. You’ll identify with that because it totally features people who steal stuff.

One more thing. If you want to take a shower, feel welcome to do so. I wish we could offer you shampoo and conditioner, but we make those ourselves too and finished the last batch before we left. Oooh! You know what, though? You should definitely take the soap.

Like in a hotel! That’s always fun. Plus it’s made locally and smells yummy. Seriously, we don’t mind getting more if it means we’ll be supporting local craft-ey people.

Let me see … is there anything else? Seems like that’s it. Do you need rainwater? I didn’t think you did but some of our neighbors collect theirs in barrels. We’re like that in Portland. If you want to steal yourself help yourself to some rainwater, know that this should be relatively easy.

Well, I’m sorry if you’re disappointed. Please don’t blame yourself. Or Twitter. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Better luck next time and all that.

A postscript for everyone who isn’t my Twitter stalker burglar

If you’re wondering where all the change-yer-habits techniques and random pearls of self-work-ey wisdom went today, please know that I’d planned to do this differently.

Here’s what my plan was: tie all this into a neat little package, and weave in various threads from the relating-to-your-fear theme. Like how, when you default into fear patterns — as we all do when stuff pushes our buttons, your fear becomes reality-defining.

Which means that the fear essentially acts as a filter, like a dirty pair of glasses through which you take in and analyze all the pieces of information that come your way.

I also thought it’d be neat to talk about ways to take care of yourself so that other people can’t intentionally or unintentionally press your buttons and manipulate your fears with their words. Or maybe the power of reminding yourself when you’re afraid that you’re allowed to be afraid. Or how it sometimes helps to insert a little humor into your fear in order to interact with it from a new perspective.

Good stuff. Thing is, though, I just don’t feel up to it today. So if you don’t mind rain-checking it, let’s do it some other time, okay? It’ll be fun. Maybe my Twitter stalker burglar will come too and we’ll all eat quinoa together and have a good laugh.

The Fluent Self