A Magnet for Crazy People

I wasn’t going to mention this, but the fact is, lately I’ve
become a magnet for crazy people.
I wasn’t going to mention this, but the fact is, lately I’ve become a magnet for crazy people.

Frankly, I’m not sure how this happened. Like most of us, I come in contact with all kinds of people throughout my day. And, being from a long line of enthusiastic talkers, I love passing the time in idle conversation with any hapless victim who wanders my way.

In fact, some of my most memorable conversations have been with total strangers standing behind me in the grocery store. One time a woman with two children told me the secret to getting red Kool-Aid stains out of the carpet. Another time, a woman tipped me off on how to get gum out of my daughter’s hair with cooking oil. Now, just tell me, where else can you get information like that? But lately the quality of people I’ve been meeting in my daily life has taken a dramatic turn toward the lunatic fringe.

By that, I don’t mean eccentric people who spend their day pushing shopping carts and talking to invisible friends or who claim they are really, say, Napoleon or the Queen Mum. Noooooo. Let’s face it, you have plenty of warning signs with them. I’m talking about eccentric in DISGUISE.

For instance, the other day, when I went to the post office, I ended up standing in an exceptionally long line, behind a well-dressed woman with a leopard print purse.

“Where do you find that purse?” I asked. “It’s fabulous.”

Within seconds, we were off talking about everything from the current state of fashion to where to get the best deal on leather shoes.

And just when I began thinking how nice it was to connect with an articulate person who had similar tastes and how, if we had met socially, we would have probably been fast friends and all that, she leaned over and whispered, “Did you know that the stairway in the building is channeling all of the good chi out the front door and straight into the mailbox across the street?”

These are just the kinds of discussions I’ve been having lately.

I must admit, after I got over the initial shock of what she had said, a part of me wanted to ask exactly what “chi” was and how such a small mailbox could hold all of it without exploding all over the sidewalk. But something told me I was better off not knowing.

In fact, lately, not a day goes by anymore that I’m not enlightened about something I’d be much better off not knowing. Like the fact that my neighbor, Gloria, thinks that her new golden retriever puppy is really a reincarnation of the pet hamster she had as a child. Or that the reason the nice, grandmotherly woman down the street puts aluminum foil along her window ledges is so the FBI can’t intercept the signals from her cable box.

I know there must be a good reason that people like this are confiding in me, but, frankly, I have no idea what that might be.

And I’m not the only one. Last week my veterinarian friend Carol told me about her client, an educated, sophisticated owner of a gray tabby, who is convinced her cat quit eating raw meat because it decided to become a vegetarian.

But, let’s face it, I could always learn how to keep quietly to myself when I go out in public. However, a part of me believes that talking to people who are a little well, different, keeps life interesting for the rest of us normal people. Besides, as my friend Barbara says, everyone has their own quirks.

Which reminds me, it’s getting late and I’d better go. My son needs to be picked up from soccer practice and before I can leave I’ve got to finish covering my solar plexus with Saran Wrap so the negative people I meet can’t suck all of the good energy out of my body.

I know. I know. But don’t you just hate it when that happens?

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