Sunday, July 27, 2014

Strange Encounters with Strangers

So I’m 24,  sitting in a bus to North Carolina, minding my own business when this dude who is sitting in front of me starts talking to me.  He seems rather normal, but talking to complete strangers is not normal.  We start talking about some thing or another and then he ends up sitting next to me.  He told me there were secrets that the president knew about aliens and stuff he could not talk about.  He said he had worked for the white house.

I believed him because I was young.  We also started talking to me about the fact that I was a virgin.  Don’t ask me how it came up, I don’t remember.  All I know is I told some random dude on a bus that I was a virgin in my early twenties. 

Strangers like to talk to me, like once I was sitting in Espresso Royale in Ann Arbor, Michigan and this man told me he talked to Mary.  Mary, Mary.  ‘Wow,’ I said.  Maybe I look like I care, that’s the problem.  Sometimes I actually am interested, another problem.  ‘She was probably about your size,’ he said to me.  Excuse me?  Mary was my size.  I was a decent size, but why was he telling me that?  What did it mean?  I got up and left when he said that because I all of a sudden realize how weird he was. 

One summer I worked at Victoria’s Secret in college.  This Indian man came in looking for a bra for his wife, he of course came directly to me. I tried to avoid him but he wasn’t having it.  So asked what size she was, ‘About your size,’ is what he said.  Ewwww, creepy. 

So why am I telling you creepy guy stories?  Because creepy men are everywhere, and for some reason they know who will humor them.  Women like me.  I used to have a problem with older men hitting on me, don’t you worry: I didn’t have a problem with men my age hitting on me.  It was always older creepy dudes.  My therapist said it happens because maybe I’m mature.  I don’t think I’m that ‘old’ inside, am I?

One time I was sitting on a bench and this man starting talking to me.  Somehow my father came up in conversation and I mentioned that he was blind but worked at EDS.   The man said to me, “If I blind man can get a job, I suppose a Black man can get a job.”  I will never forget that, he was probably my father’s age.  

I listen to these people because there is wisdom in the streets.  Wisdom is everywhere. 

When I was in the hospital I broke bread with homeless people.  My mom doesn’t think I should advertise that.  I once saw a guy I had lunch with at the hospital literally looking for food in a garbage can in New York City after I got out of the hospital.  I said ‘hi’ to him and he didn’t even seem embarrassed or anything.  He asked how I was feeling.  He asked how I was!  He was nice.  He was real.  He ate garbage.

I once even dated a guy from the psych ward once.  He had a lot of tattoos.  I liked it though.  He was a drug dealer.  I didn’t know that though.  I didn’t know that until he took me in my car to a random house in Detroit to sell painkillers.  He then told me he was once in jail for selling drugs.  Before I knew about that, I lent him $1,200.  Do you think I’m a little stupid.  Just a little bit?

Maybe.  I used to trust people a lot.  I still trust people, but I’m a lot more careful now.  I still talk to strangers every now and then, but I don’t get too involved.  I look a little wearier of their stories.  I’m not as interested.  I used to want to carry around a tape recorder and record a man on the street interview.  In fact all of a sudden that sounds like a brilliant idea.  I love the people on the street.  Or at a café or bookstore or bar.  I don’t have to stand in the middle of the street to get quick interviews from strangers.  Strangers are funny and real and smart. 

I used to be friends with a café manager at this café in Birmingham, Michigan. He was so intelligent, he loved history and politics.  He lived in Hamtramck with his girlfriend and his parents.  There are a lot of Bengali’s there, and he would tell me interesting stories.  We would chat for hours.  He took a bus to work, I don’t think he had a car.  I saw him daily on and off for years.  That café has closed down and I don’t know what his last name is.  I have no idea how to find him.  He was a friend, I even invited him to a party I was having.  He didn’t show up probably because he didn’t know any of my friends, but he was real and solid.  He was always cleaning tables so thoroughly as we talked.  He was a good man. 

I met a young dude at that same café.  He wanted to be an actor and he was hot.  In fact I brought him to my birthday party and everyone thought we were dating.  Everyone thought he was gorgeous.  He was a charmer too, he charmed my friends with his humor.  We never went out because he only wanted casual sex and I don’t do that, so it didn’t work.  But a couple of friends asked me why I don’t do that.  I’m not sure at this point…I’m not sure…

When I lived in Chicago I met an Argentinian man who was super intelligent and spoke Japanese at a local café.  We dated for a little while…he told me later that someone at the café bet him he could get me in bed.  I didn’t even get mad when I heard that…I don’t know why.

Strangers can be interesting, they can also be dangerous. 

Tell me your stranger stories.  Put them in the comments or private message me. 


Image courtesy of phanlop88/

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