Monday, 12 August 2013

Tales of the Weird!

Some days I look at myself in the mirror and say, "Jill, what is it that makes you a weirdo magnet?" And then I almost want to smack myself in the forehead while repeating "Bad Jill! Bad! Stop attracting weirdos!" Now, lest you think I'm the judgmental type, it takes a lot for me to label someone a weirdo. A weirdo in my book is someone who really crosses a line or makes you want to cross the street. It's not just someone who happens to dress differently or is eccentric.

Just a few weeks ago, I came home, found Mr. Potenti in his man cave and said as much to him. Jack rolled his eyes and stubbed his index finger into his chest. "Trust me, you're not that weird! Get this, so there I was, standing on the corner..."

So there I was, standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change, when a young man next to me mentions that it's a long light. "Yeah, it always is, but I don't have to be anywhere in a hurry." I replied, giving my big tumbler a rattle. It had already seen four refills, so oppressive was the heat that day.

We chatted about the recent rainy and thunderous weather, just like any normal folks would do. But normal is the weirdo's specialty. They are masters of disguise and seldom come with a t-shirt that says DO NOT ENGAGE in big letters. As we crossed, keeping pace with each other, there was nothing about the young man that would have made me scoot a little faster. Yet.

"I have to catch the 86, I work at the Cineramaplex." he said as he kept checking behind him.

"Oh yeah! We go there a lot. " I said brightly. "We want to see Pacific Rim, so maybe I'll see you there tonight!"

"I can't wait to see Grown Ups 2!" he suddenly exclaimed.

"Well, heh, it has a stellar cast." I said, although some would have laughed instead. He did fit the demographic after all, and we all have a right to have our guilty pleasures, even if they rate 7% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"Did you see Jimmy Fallon last night?" Perhaps he had thought in Jill Potenti a kindred spirit.

"No, I don't watch TV."

"Man, you'll never guess who was on! Jesse and the Rippers!"

"The Rippers?" There was a big huh what? behind those two words.

"On Full House? They had John Stamos and the band."

"Oh yeah, heh, it's been years! I used to watch it every Friday. It was on for, like, ten years?"


"Oh! Really. I thought it was something like that." Maybe he was a little confused about my age. That happens a lot.

Then he pronounced a similar love for Saved by the Bell. "They should have made a Full House movie." he said wishfully. "Even a reunion one."

I know I said something like "That's the trouble with those shows, everyone ages." I tried to grasp at some thread of conversation about something I hadn't seen in twenty years. This kid was pretty devoted to his reruns! I couldn't imagine, or even stomach the idea of Bob Saget or any of the girls reprising their roles.

There's a gap I can't reconfabulate, but our time together was almost over as we approached the bus terminal. "I don't listen to new music anymore. It's all Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber." he confessed.

Perhaps I wanted to humour this guy a bit. "I hate to say it, but that happens. Music stopped for me in 1998." Not entirely true, however.

"Lady Gaga is a slut. Or as I call her, Slut Gaga. She comes on the radio and I'm like 'Arrrgggh!' "

Well, that was out of nowhere! Being a natural diplomat like most Libras, I replied, "Heh, well, she does sound like Madonna. And, ooh, that one song sounds like Cher. She's a smart lady, she takes old songs and makes them familiar enough to be popular again."

"She's still a slut." he said with great conviction and veered off for the bus shelter. I walked along a little bit and breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn't trapped on a bus with him. Five minutes with this guy seemed like forever. I was afraid at that point what he might tell me next. I guess he didn't care much for me praising Lady Gaga's business savvy, or hinting that she might be, you know, not a slut.

Now, if I was the more confrontational type, I might have been more direct. The first rule of weirdo engagement is Never disagree with the weirdo. You don't have to overtly agree - an "Oh yeah" or non-committal noise will suffice. The weirdo doesn't care about your opinion. He just wants someone to hear it. The second rule is Agreeing with someone is the fastest way to get them to leave you alone. And as weird as he was, I couldn’t help but think of the fantasy worlds he watched and might live in, where mothers and adult women don't really exist. There's something awfully sad about that made me think he was lonely. But the truly bizarre thing is that he thought another woman wanted him to hear him call another woman a slut. Weirdos. They're out there! Beware!

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