Warning: Some of the observations in this essay may appear politically incorrect, boorish, or just plain snobby. My advice to the reader is that you should just “roll with it” and take comfort in the knowledge that your judgmental attitude toward my judgmental attitude is superior in every way.
I am a weirdo magnet.
And when I say “weirdo” I mean I attract people who are loonies, goonies, and possibly “sand people” (you know, like those sand people in Star Wars that jabbered and loitered and lurked and bonked people on the head, and that’s why that’s funny.) Weirdoes. These are the folks who stray from the norms of normalcy in ways that are hard to predict under normal circumstances and often involve the wearing of tinfoil pantalets.
My husband once tried to help me find the cause of my loon magnetism.
“It’s because you make eye contact, listen to what the loons have to say, and treat them like regular people.”
“Oh, you mean I’m kind.”
“Exactly! Knock it off.”
I try. I really do. But the tinfoil pantalets people take me by surprise, often at Walmart.
Like Saturday, when the world’s oldest living hippy spotted me, sized me up, and cut me out of the herd. It’s possible that his grizzled ponytail was pulled a bit tight, causing cramping in his brain waves. From under a mustache the color of old lemonade, he informed me that he enjoyed coming to the store to pick up the clothes that other shoppers carelessly threw on the floor in the children’s department.
“Oh no. I hope it wasn’t me,” I said, feeling my hands clench convulsively around the purple velour hoodie I was holding—sized twelve months. I looked around for moral support from my shopping buddy, my oldest daughter, who (apparently) had wished herself invisible.
He continued, “But my back hurts now, and I’m done picking up clothes off the floor.”
His shopping cart effectively cut me off from the shoe department, the dairy section, and electronics—also freedom.
“Would you like to know something?”
Looking the grizzled hippy man straight in the eye, I said, “Of course.” I can’t help it. I’m the curious sort.
“I’m getting a little something for myself for Christmas.” He gestured in the general direction of the child seat of his shopping cart, indicating that I should look.
I can’t help it. I’m a visual person. I did look.
Risking a quick glance, I saw that he had two packages of women’s underwear in his cart. White. Polyester. Not thongs. Hopefully. I looked away as quickly as my eyeballs could swivel in my eye sockets.
With a flourish and a wink, he said, “I’ve got two honeys, but they’re different sizes; I’d better not get their panties mixed up. Hee, hee, hee.”
I closed my eyes and tried to picture his “honeys,” plural. I couldn’t.
“Wow, no, I wouldn’t mix up their sizes. That might be big trouble, and you wouldn’t want that, especially at Christmas time. Hee . . . ha . . . yowza. Well, good luck with keeping your panty purchases straight.”
He stared at me, not blinking.
Growing irrationally more concerned that he was about to ask me my panty size I began to inch away and look for my rotten daughter, a daughter who had managed to completely disappear into a rack of little girl’s pajama bottoms during the conversation. I bolted toward intimate apparel.
I know. I know. It was a harsh, biased, judgmental response to the perfectly nice overtures of a perfectly nice panty-loving loon.
I can’t help it if the weirdoes love me.