Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Magnetism

Magnetism, draw, pull. Yeah, I've got it. Not the kind you want. No siree, I'm a freak magnet. Especially freaks masquerading as kindly old ladies and retired gentlemen. In SF it was the chihuahua-owning dirt-covered woman who collected jewelery she found at the park. When Mr. Dog and I were out walking the dogs, she'd tag along, regaling me with tales of her dogs and cats and landlord drama. Mr. Dog would just quicken his pace and leave me trailing with my filthy companion trying desperately to break out of my too polite training. It was exhausting. She was nice enough, but she frequently didn't make sense, she had a blood feud with our neighbor and they'd shout obscenities at each other.

Luckily I was in good with our neighbor as well, another neighborhood character, from whom I rented a garage space he just offered me completely out of the blue one day. "Want to rent a parking spot?" In San Francisco, in the Mission district, hell yes! And we were in business. For a while he'd tell me tales of his years as a taxi driver, his skills as a martial arts master and how he'd killed a man with a single blow to the chest that stopped his heart. He loved our dogs and was convinced that Mao was part German Shepard, no matter what I said to the contrary. Mostly he was lonely, and he'd corner me to chat at the slightest opportunity.

In San Francisco, crossing paths with people who have but a passing relationship with socially acceptable behavior is pretty routine. They were a normal part of my life and seeing them was as much a part of my daily grind as going to the dog part two times a day, every day.

To be honest, I'd mostly forgotten these acquaintances. I've been so busy in my job and home life there isn't much time for the aimless meandering that seems to make me a target for my unusual friends. Until this weekend, that is. The sun as shining and we decided to take the whole family out for a walk.

As I was wrestling with my two large dog and Mr. Dog was walking ahead with the boys, a sweet little lady says "What a nice family you have!"
"Thank you," I say, swelling with motherly pride.
"Keep them out of public schools! That's the advice I give you."
Well, I'm a firm believer in public education and I told her of my belief that if every involved parent pulled their child from public schools they would be a lot worse off.
She then launched into a tale of how the "Black and Mexicans" are running the schools down. And could I believe our Governer wants to give them all free lunch and send them all to college if they have even a C average. Again, I expressed my support of these programs.
She was stunned. How could I believe such a thing. She launched into a story of being diagnosed at an early age with a low IQ and how she turned her life over to God and asked for something or other. Frankly I don't know what because at this point I'd quit listening and was desperately trying to catch my husband's eye to plead silently for help. Unfortunately, he is quite skilled at quickening his pace and leaving me trailing with the crazy lady chewing my ear off.

Finally, Mr Dog took action, "We're going this way" he said as we made a sudden turn.
Disoriented for a moment, but recovering quickly, my new best buddy says "So am I!" and continues to follow us. I resigned myself to her company and quit responding. After a block or so, she tired of my silence and turned away. Mr. Dog slowed his pace and let me catch up. Yeah, my magnetism had attracted another neighborhood looney disguised as a sweet old lady.

Ah, Seattle is starting to feel like home.

2 comments:

WA said...

What was my Aunt Jackie doing in Seattle?

LisAnt said...

Maybe it was an April Fool's Day joke? We had a guy like this who would regularly assault our easy Sunday morning breakfasts at Hallie's Diner. I'm sure he was just lonely, so we tried our best to be polite. I hope to GOD this is not me in 40 years... Crazy as a loon.

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