Monday, December 5, 2011

Weirdo Magnet

Warning: Some of the observations in this essay may appear politically incorrect, boorish, or just plain snobby. My advice is to “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. These are 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 pantaloons.

My husband, Sherwood (a man with a somewhat unusual name) once tried to help me find the cause of my weirdo magnetism.

“It’s because you make eye contact, listen to what the sand people 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 pantaloon 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. From under a moustache the color of old lemonade, he informed me that he enjoyed picking up the clothes that shoppers carelessly threw on the ground in the children’s department at our local WalMart.

“Oh no. I hope it wasn’t me,” I said, feeling my hands clench reflexively around the purple velour hoodie I was holding—sized twelve months.

He continued, “But my back hurts now, and I’m done picking up clothes.” 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.

He gestured vaguely toward the baby seat of his shopping cart.

“I’m getting a little something for myself for Christmas.”

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 the 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, hee, hee. Well, good luck with that.”

Growing irrationally more concerned that he was about to ask me my panty size I began to inch away and look for my grown daughter, a daughter who had managed to completely disappear into a rack of little girl’s pajama bottoms during the conversation. See above.

I know. I know. It was a harsh, biased, judgmental response to the perfectly nice overtures of a perfectly nice panty-loving, weirdo. 

I can’t help it. I’m a weirdo magnet.

Linda (Two-For-One) Zern


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