I’m not sure if it’s something in my genetics or the fact that I tend to look super uncomfortable in most social settings, but I have this tendency to attract the weirdies. Somehow I always find myself forced to hold conversations with strange/smelly/mustached people. These conversations mostly entail me awkward courtesy laughing and checking the time on my phone every 30 seconds. Somehow I draw the weirdies out of the woodwork and into my immediate locale.
For instance I’m standing at the battery kiosk at the local Walmart (I like to keep it classy, so I frequent Walmart a lot). I’ve been playing Mario Kart so I’m currently going through batteries like they are candy. I’m scouting out the best priced rechargeable batteries for my Wii remote. I’ve made a decision on the Energizer brand that comes with a wall outlet charger. I felt this was a good choice. Then it happens. A portly old man on a motor scooter drives by. We’ll call him Gerald, he sort of resembled a Gerald. Gerald stops his little scooter right next to that battery kiosk. Takes a look at me, the batteries I’m holding, then back at me. Gerald mumbles something like, “Mrfjgisnd $2 marggakmends ieolesm…maeoom.” I look at Gerald, smile kindly and give my courtesy giggle. Apparently Gerald didn’t like my battery choice or my response, he sort of glares at me, then scooters on his way. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to decipher Gerald-language to figure out what he was telling me. I still have no idea. Weirdie Magnet.
Rewind back to age 13. I decide it’s a great idea to go grocery shopping with my grandmother. (which, by the way, if you don’t want to spend 15 hours grocery shopping, this is bad idea) We go to Walmart, and probably 5 other stores, and then before you know it, it’s 3:00 p.m. and we have yet to eat lunch. So the logical choice is to stop at Braums to get a delicious hamburger. Next thing you know some locals come into the Braums as well. (By locals, I mean the place is real small and everyone knows everyone, except for the granddaughter who is visiting from the big city of Olathe, Kansas and foolishly went on a grocery shopping trip not knowing what the day held in store for her) These locals consist of a mother and her son. They’ve come in to get a bag o’ burgers to take back to what I can only imagine, is a pig farm. My kind grandmother offers to let them sit in our booth as they wait on their bag o’ burgers. I do my best to pretend the boy is not staring at me as I focus as hard as I can on looking out the window, eating my fries. Some awkward conversation was attempted by the boy. I did my best to avoid it. Then the bag o’ burgers was ready and I thought that I was free and I would never encounter these people again. Now fast forward 3 hours. The phone rings at my grandmother’s house, not an unusual event. The phone is for me, incredibly unusual event seeing as how I don’t live there. I uncomfortably take the phone and say, “Hello?”
“Hi Amanda, it’s Hank*, from Braums.”
“So you’re 15 right?”
“Ya….NO! No I’m only 13.”
“Ha, you don’t know how old you are? So do you want to go see a movie?” “…..No…..I can’t.”
“Oh…..When are you leaving?”
“…..tomorrow.” (this was a lie)
“Oh ok. Bye”
I hung up the phone faster than I’ve ever done anything in my life and cursed myself for going grocery shopping that morning. And as an aside, it turns out, Hank was not 15, he was 17, close to an illegal experience. So anyway, had I gone and seen Scooby Doo with Hank I might be living on a pig farm right now. Weirdie magnet.
*I’m positive that’s not his name, but I’ve tried to remove this memory from my mind so I don’t remember his real name.
And now let’s go back just a few days to Saturday evening. I attended a Nashville Predators / St. Louis Blues hockey game at Bridgestone Arena. The evening started off normally. I was getting a little loud and obnoxious during the game, which apparently is my new thing. Throwing my arms up in victory when the Predators scored, singing the catchy little tune “Bah na na na na HEY, YOU SUCK!”, you know, normal hockey things. (it also could have had something to do with the St. Louis fans right next to me, who were sad they were losing) It was a great game. We beat the Blues which is always a welcome thing. (I really don’t like St. Louis teams) Now this is when the most recent weirdie magnet kicked in. I was leaving the arena and in order to exit you have to go down an escalator. For smooth exiting the arena has placed two escalators side by side both going down. I’m minding my own business, escalating down when someone on the adjacent escalator shouts, “We’re going to beat you down! Ours is totally going faster!”
I look over, assuming this is not being shouted at me. Surprise, surprise. I am the target of this young man’s race challenge.
“Um…OK…Sure!”, is all I can really think to say.
“We’re gonna win!!”
I can only muster up a courtesy chuckle in response to this. Then we get to the end of the escalator. Obviously I won, so weird-escalator-race-challenger accuses me of cheating.
“CHEATERS NEVER PROSPER!”
“Ok. Well what can ya do?”, I say
Then I disappear into the crowd as quickly as I can to get away from escalator-race-challenger. Weirdie Magnet
But the weirdie magnet part of me wonders if I’m destined to be stuck with the weirdies forever. Why do all these weirdies talk to me? Was that escalator weirdie my only chance at love? Should I have waited for escalator-weirdie and formed a strange escalator race bond and then gotten married on the escalator? Should I go down there tonight to ride the escalators up and down until someone challenges me to a race, then marry them? Why do I ask so many questions? Maybe it’s not actually about me being a weirdie magnet…maybe I’m just a weirdie too….
You should definitely stop your fiendish escalator-race-cheating. It’s just plain unfair!
I have a lot of the strange conversations with kind of odd individuals, but they’re usually harmless strangers who just want to tell me everything about themselves. Everything. Apparently I look like a good listener.