Friday, March 28, 2014

I Must Be a Magnet for Weird


I consider myself a polite person, maybe friendly even.  I smile at people if they make eye contact with me.  I don't go out of my way to socialize with random people that I don't know but there must be something about me that just screams "I want to know what's on your mind."  I can’t tell you how many times I've been in a public place, minding my own business when I suddenly find myself in the middle of a largely one-sided conversation with a complete stranger.  Sometimes it's just benign small talk.  "About time we start seeing some sun, eh?"  "Have you tried that brand before?"  But once in a while, it suddenly takes an awkward and uncomfortable turn.

Most recently, I was grocery shopping, pricing different brands of nonfat plain Greek yogurt when a woman in late 80's business attire and entirely too much makeup for a Thursday afternoon asks me if I like plain Greek yogurt.  Not wanting to be rude, I answered honestly and told her that I buy it for my dog because it helps her digestion.  That drove her into a frenzied diatribe about the dog she had as a girl and how it was a crazy little shit but dammit if she doesn't miss that thing and what kind of dog did I have and how old is she and, and, and.  I was trying ever so nonchalantly to make my way to the end of the aisle hoping to just slip away unnoticed.  Of course it didn't happen that way because she followed me.  She caught up to me three more times throughout the store before I finally made my hasty retreat to the checkout.  Thankfully she didn't find me there and I was able to load my bags into my car and drive off without worrying that she'd follow me home.

This was not an isolated incident, this shit happens to me all the time.  And why does it seem like I'm always being mistaken for an employee of whatever store I'm shopping in?  I have made it a point not to wear red and black when I shop at Target.  Is it a scent I give off, something that tells strangers that I've worked in retail in the past and I even though I don't anymore, I'll likely answer their question anyway, just to be polite?  Of course it never happens when I'm out with someone, no, only when I'm alone.  I firmly believe that my friends and family think I make up most of the stories I tell them about my adventures with the unbalanced population of my neighborhood because more often then not, the people who decide to engage me in conversation, by all appearances, have recently been prematurely released from a psychiatric facility.  It isn't always limited to other customers, either.  I have had equally confusing and uncomfortable dialogue with the people who work at the places I visit.

Again, I found myself in the grocery store, this occasion I was scanning the incredibly large variety of energy drinks which happened to be in an open wall cooler right next to the employee entrance to the deli area.  As I glanced to my right, I notice a middle aged woman in a store uniform and apron staring at me....I mean, really taking it all in.  While in my head I was shouting in a Pee Wee Herman voice "Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer...", I was also wondering if I had a booger on my face or if my recent pixie haircut had been a mistake after all.  I tried to look away, but I felt her stare deepen, so I looked back.  "Tina?", she said as she smiled widely with her mouth but not her eyes.  I shot a quick glance behind me, nope, no one behind me.  "Nope", I replied.  "Really?", she asked.  An awkward and eternal four seconds later, I answer, "Really."  She then proceeded to tell me how I look just like her best friend's daughter, but my hair is a little shorter, and it's just so weird because she's going to Tina's birthday party later today and she was all, like.....and it was at that point that I mentally checked out and once again tried to ease away without appearing to run in fear.  I remember hearing something about how I if my hair wasn't so short....something, something....thought it HAS to be Tina, but I just saw her....something, something....well, I really gotta get back to work.  Relief washes over me and I can continue shopping for food.

Perhaps I should just resort to walking around the world with my head down and eyes to myself, never looking anyone in the eyes and certainly not responding if someone speaks to me.  But then would I appear as strange as the strangers that approach me?  I'm not sure if I'm more uncomfortable being constantly approached by bizarre random people or feeling like that's what people are thinking about me, walking around never looking anyone in the eye...wait, did that lady just have a whispered argument with herself about the price of lunchmeat?  Maybe I should just be happy that people seem to find me approachable.  That's a good character trait, right?  As long as I don't wind up bound by duct tape and shoved in someone's trunk, being driven to my new life as wife number eight to "The Prophet of Cudahy".


3 comments:

  1. LOL. People are always saying how I look like someone they know. Sometime maybe I should just say, yes, I am that girl you went to school with. Do you remember that wonderful night we had? lol

    Don't just walk with your head down! Chin up, girl!

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  2. This used to happen to me a lot when I had very short hair or was bald. For some reason people would approach me all the time and ask me questions, or say weird shit, or tell me things about themselves. I wonder why! I've noticed that having a less conventional appearance attracts attention generally, but really brings out odd or inappropriate behaviour -- now that I look more "normal", nobody randomly chats me up.

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  3. Jane, I like that reply...make it more awkward for them than it is for you! And mountains, I guess I'm really tempting fate now that I dyed my hair fire engine red.

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Be nice, now.