For most of my life, I seem to attract weirdos. Trust me, I don’t go looking for them; they just seem to find me. Let me get on a bus, plane, train, and the weirdest person there will sit right next to me.
I really don’t mind the weirdos; it’s the fact that most of them just won’t stop talking. I keep hoping that, if I am reading or writing or otherwise engaged, they may leave me alone. But they still find me. Once when I was on a plane, I got myself comfortable in the window seat, picked up my book and settled in for a good read. No one was in the middle seat or the aisle seat, so I looked forward to a quiet flight.
But just as we all were settling in, a lady who had nearly missed her flight came on board. There were plenty of empty seats, and she was told to just pick one. So naturally she plopped herself in the middle seat next to me. She wanted to tell me all about why she was late, and I was marginally polite but kept returning to my book, hoping she would get the message that I did not want to chat.
Finally, she stopped talking and fell asleep. That certainly didn’t bother me, but she rested her quite pointy elbow right on my hip. No amount of adjusting or gently pushing her elbow away helped; it just slipped right back onto my hip. I really didn’t want to wake her because I knew she would start talking again.
On another flight, a young mom handed me her baby so that she could go to the bathroom. Mind you, there were plenty of women nearby who looked as if they would have been happy to hold that baby; but no, I ended up with it. Did she ever think that I might have been a baby thief, wearing a parashute, just waiting to kick the door open and fly out with her child? Evidently not. So there I was, holding a baby who looked just as confused as I was.
My weirdo magnet started when I was in my twenties. I was at a party with some friends, and they assured me that there were some “great guys” there that I should meet. The first one I met sidled up to me and asked “do you like guns?” I stammered something about having to be somewhere (anywhere!) and that I had to leave—right now.
All of these folks can be described as just “weirdo-lite.” But sometimes I get some pretty aggressives weirdos. Just yesterday I stopped at Wendy’s for their harvest salad (which, by the way, was pretty good). I found a table in an area where no one else was sitting, so I started reading my book and enjoying my salad. Unfortunately, I picked a spot where there was a waste barrel near by. Sure enough, a man dumped his tray into it and then turned to me.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “cheesy fries, cheesy fries, cheesy fries!” He then leaned way too far into my personal space and babbled something to the effect that I should get right up out of my seat, leave my salad and go buy some cheesy fries. I mumbled something about being allergic to cheese, and was massively grateful that he left quickly. What the freaking hell?!
I told this latest event to the Crankee Yankee. His advice? Stop reading while eating. I told him that there are two reasons why I read in restaurants: 1) I love reading while eating, and 2) for the most part, people see someone reading and leave them alone. I wouldn’t go so far to say that I dislike people, I just don’t want them in my face when I am clearly enjoying myself by myself.
I guess I was born a weirdo magnet; they do seem to find me everywhere. I try to be marginally pleasant but not so much that someone would camp beside me for hours or, heaven help me, give me an unwanted rant about cheesy fries.