Yup, the opening line to this post was just said to us on the Metro platform in Silver Spring, Maryland on our way to the Smithsonian Folk Festival.  Back to this gem in just a minute.

It got me thinking about all the crazy/random/socially-inappropriate things strangers have said to me over the years, and I wanted to share my top three exchanges.

The earliest encounter was on my first day of work at a Borders Outlet (when they still had such a thing).  My boss came out to me…as a hermaphrodite.  During our first conversation of the day.  Like 10 minutes into our meeting.  How do you respond to that?  I admit that I’m not the most socially-conscious person I know (or, more accurately, I just don’t give a damn most of the time).  However, even my friends who are normally adept at navigating the labyrinthine rules of social etiquette have been hard-pressed to come up with a reasonable response.  I believe my own droll retort was something like “um, so how do I restock the shelves?”

The next crazy exchange came while we were living just outside Philadelphia and attending grad school.  My folks were in town to visit and we took them downtown for the tourist circuit.  While gawking through old town, one of the drivers of a horse-and-carriage ride noticed the shirt I was wearing and said “hey man, I’ll trade you my horse for your shirt!”  I believe he was actually serious.  For some context, I was wearing a black short-sleeve shirt that had a bright red and yellow oriental dragon design down the middle.  I apparently thought it was stylish at one point.  In any case, I didn’t make the trade, though had I thought about how much I could have sold one slightly-used tourist-friendly horse, I might have made a different choice.  Incidentally, that was the only time I actually wore that shirt (if memory serves).  It has since been relegated to the forgotten annals of my many fashion faux pas by my more discerning wife.

Which brings us back to the opening quote on the Metro and my number one crazy quote of all time.  The stranger was an older woman with no front teeth (imagine the crone from Snow White without the cowl–my wife’s analogy) who had just gotten off the train.  We happened to be walking toward her as we were trying to get on said train.  That’s when she cut loose with her now immortalized gem of bat-crap craziness.  Perhaps she has been offered kids before and she has grown weary of such strange tithes.  Or maybe the neurons in her brain fire in such a way as to create a fantasy where she’s the embodiment of Baal in ancient Carthage but no longer likes her job description.  Whatever the cause of her outburst, I think she will remain the undisputed heavyweight champ of craziness (that has personally interacted with us) for quite some time–though you never can tell…

Fortunately, our daughter wasn’t even fazed after her first encounter with someone who actually said something mean about her.  I hope that bodes well for future bullying and cattiness she will face later in life!

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