Sunday, August 23, 2009

dates and fates

A few years back, I was looking for a date. So I ran a personal ad on Craigslist, stunning athletic male seeks leopard-skin pill box bomb shell, nothing freaky. I'm a plain kind of guy full of hope, and soon I got a response, then a meeting for coffee, with woman about my age of a half century.

She seemed nice, at first. Though, too, she expressed that her life at home was troubled, a husband had absconded with their life's loot, she had grown kids that didn't like her. The former boyfriend who committed suicide for no reason known to her, and they were dating at the time, made the nads shrink. There are some 'don'ts' in picking your mate. On the more normal plane, she had a job. She said she was a medical transcriptionist at a local psychiatric hospital. A well connected hospital.

We were chatting pleasantly on the phone when she told me that she had checked my psych history on her computer at work, and she was pleased to find that I have no history of mental illness in the United States for as far back as everything private went on-line. If I went nuts before then, like in the 1980s, I'm doing a great job of hiding it.

Using only my first and last name for her inquiry, she was able to find out if I had my head examined in New Zealand, and she could even find out if a general practitioner had prescribed me a psychiatric med, such a Xanax. She might have had half a romance novel in front of her if I had been involuntarily committed.

My date with an apparently unstable transcriptionist caused me concern. An amazing breach of privacy is possible by way of plain folks and an ominous network of computers. The right to privacy has been altered for the worse. On a bright spot, I'm probably playing with a full deck.

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