Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 15: Strange Encounters With Strangers

It's the Ides of March, and my NaBloPoMo malaise is showing. Readers, I need you to come to my rescue with more ideas.

Today I thought I'd cook two chickens in one pot. Isn't that a saying?

A few days ago, I was at the gym, in mid-lift, as a matter of fact, when a crinkle-eyed, very tanned older gentleman started talking to me from his machine. Now, this in itself was pretty strange. No one talks to me at the gym, as I glare forbiddingly at all and sundry while blasting '80s songs in my earphones. I'm pretty sure my face is saying "Do not talk to me. No, I mean it. That means you." So it's rare that someone doesn't pick up on that.

This guy, who must have been 70-something, launched into a cheery narrative about how women should be treated. He said he hoped I didn't put up with any guff from the menfolk, because I deserve better than that. I was about to reassure him that I most certainly do NOT put up with any guff, when he leaped from his perch, crossed the aisle and extended his hand. Now THAT was really strange. People don't like to touch other people at the gym--it's not just me.

"Hi, I'm Fred. Pleasure to meet you."

"Nice to meet you, too. Sam."



"WHAT? Like a guy?"

"Yup. Or Samantha."

"Oooohhhh. Well, they both suit you real good."

"Thank you."

"You know how God made Eve out of one of Adam's ribs?"

"I've heard tell of it."

"Well, I always say that's how you know he's gotta treat you good. You're prime rib! Gotta treat you like prime rib!"

By eating us? I wondered. Slathered in horseradish sauce? "Good point."

He told me some more stuff, like how his friend says he doesn't need to get in shape "because round is a shape," and I resisted following that up with "Now headlining in the Catskills!" and "Be sure to try the veal!"

But here's the really strange part. I saw him two days later in the exact same spot, and just as I was about to avert my eyes and scram, I noticed him averting his eyes and scramming even FASTER. And he even pulled his shoulders up near his ears and made a "YIKES!" face.

What's up with that?

A while back, Robyn and I had a super-strange encounter at the Golden Spoon (which Jarrah used to call the "Golden Egg") while we enjoyed our frosty fro-yo creations at an outdoor table. The kids were one table over, whacking each other with gummy worms, which we were assiduously ignoring. I was deep into telling a story, which I'm sure you find pretty shocking.

Suddenly, there was a gust of wind and a woman burst through the door of the mail shop next door to GS, shouting into a cell phone. She wasn't yelling, exactly, but she certainly had some sort of resonant point to make. She strode to our little table (a two-top) and scraped a metal chair right up to it, sat down, and continued ranting. If our volume topped out at about a three, ratchet hers up to 11. Simultaneously, Robyn and I gave her the "Stranger! You should know you have invaded my space, Stranger!" look that is widely known in the civilized world. She didn't spare us a glance, just kept right on negotiating, so loud that my story was quite suppressed.

Now I am not a shy, nor a soft-spoken, woman. In fact, I teach a dance class in which I shout commands to a room full of people over tribal music, and not once have I gotten "Can you speak up?" So the fact that Robyn was now forced to lip-read across a separation of two or three feet was unsettling. As the minutes ticked by, and our stares in Loud Gal's direction grew increasingly bold and insistent, we started to wonder if we'd missed the memo on some widely understood and accepted shift in phone etiquette, since we couldn't think of any other reason why we were being subjected to this tirade.

She ended up outlasting us, because after five minutes or more of this verbal abuse, we had lost our appetites. She never looked up or acknowledged us at all, even though to an impartial passerby, it would have to appear that the three of us were enjoying an outing together, so close were we situated. I had a theory that she must own the print shop, and hence believed that the table closest to its door belonged to her. Perhaps she had been broadly hinting that we were not to sully her outdoor facilities with our frozen treats. Robyn said if she did own the print shop, she was making a pretty loud argument that we should never patronize her business, and I had to agree there.

But even if she did "own" the table, wasn't it still completely bizarre that she chose to subject us to her phone call? Am I missing something?


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

The man at the gym just then remembered he forgot to call his wife and went to fetch his cell phone; his wife was waiting at her usual outdoor table at a fro-yo shop, sure to be annoyed and give him the what for.

Sam said...

Cheri, that is TOO funny! :)

Jennifer said...

That is funny, Cheri! I can't believe how some people are....ugh!

The Wades said...

Bizarre indeed! I'm highly disappointed you didn't wait her out so I could have some closure here. Man. Torture.