Recently, I have, quite unwittingly, made a friend. While shopping at the mall, one of the salesmen decided that I was the coolest thing ever and that we should be bosom buddies from then on out. He eagerly asked me the full panoply of Indonesian getting-to-know-you questions: my full name, my religion, where I was going, and where I live. Without thinking too much, I responded to most of them truthfully.
Big mistake. One thing that can be said about the guy, he's resourceful. Oh, actually two things: resourceful and persistent. Since I told him the name of my neighborhood--not my street, not my house--he figured out where the house was and came over to visit, uninvited, several times. The first few times, I (luckily) wasn't home. The third time, he was waiting outside the door as I came home. He asked to be invited in; I made up some excuse about how I was going to bed. He asked when he could come over next; I made up some excuse about how busy I am. (Not true. Clearly not true.) He asked for my cell phone number; I made up some excuse about how it's only for emergencies. He saw through that one, and demanded again. I realized that if I didn't give him my cell phone number, he would continue to dog the house, embarrassing me in front of the maids. I gave him a fake number; he called it right away to check if it was real.
So now he knows my address and my real phone number. On the up side, he doesn't show up at the house anymore. On the down side, he makes good use of the number. I hate to think how much money he's wasted texting or calling me. I could probably count it, actually: in the course of a week since I gave my number, he has sent me roughly 7 text messages a day. (That's an average. Today the count so far is 21, and four of those were received in the time it took me to write this entry.) In the course of one night, between 10 PM and 6 AM, he called or texted me 16 times. (When does he think I sleep?)
Normally, I'm open to new friends, even ones I meet randomly in the mall. I am here, after all, partially to get to know Indonesian culture and language, which means getting to know Indonesians. This guy would ordinarily be prime language-practice time: I know he's willing to use Indonesian with me, even though he knows some English, and he's even willing to speak slowly. However, something about him just creeps me out. I don't get a good feeling from him, and I mistrust his intentions, no matter how many times his text messages say he just wants to "dialog" about "science."
I'm not sure what to do. I've told him several times that I don't want to be friends, and that I don't think this is appropriate. Semarang is a little more liberal than some places, but it's still not quite right, in this Muslim country, for a single man and woman to meet and go out alone. I think he knows that, and I think he thinks I don't. I'm trying to just ignore him, but the text messages are getting increasingly more desparate, as he tries everything he can think of, from "I miss your smile" to "your perspective is so broad and interesting" to, his latest attempt, "Jesus says love everyone; if Jesus was so open and loving, surely you as a Mormon should be open and loving."
Ouch. The guilt tactic. Maybe I should come back with, "Mohammed said when a man and woman are alone together, the third person in the room with them is Satan; if Mohammed was so strict and reticent about male/female interactions, surely you as a Muslim should be equally strict." I doubt it would work, but I have no idea what else will make this man give up. Blocking his number is an option, of course, but I'm afraid he'll start hanging around the house again. Restraining orders are not an option and neither, apparently, is simply telling him to stop texting me. Aside from going back in time and telling him off the very first time he ever tried to talk to me, I think I'm stuck. Ideas, anyone?