Close encounters of the weird kind
It’s a pretty safe bet to say I’m a little different. When I was a little kid and would say or do something incredibly weird, my mom would always tell people I was creative. She’d say it in a hushed whisper, like it was an affliction we didn’t want the rest of the world to know about. I’m sure she thought I’d grow out of it, but I didn’t, and I haven’t been locked up for it (yet). I guess it’s not such a bad thing.
Consequently, it takes a lot for me to consider someone weird. I’m extremely tolerant of different. I enjoy it and try hard not to judge it. Hell, I make a living writing about it — I’d have to go back to nursing if it ceased to exist. But there’s a distinct line between different and just plain weird.
We were in a Love’s somewhere in Oklahoma, doing the regular things you do at Love’s, fueling, buying smokes, going to the bathroom. George and I always split up to accomplish all tasks in the shortest amount of time; he’s hyper-sensitive about how long we’re parked in the fuel lane. It’s like a pit stop at a NASCAR race for us. He moves quick to avoid spending too much time fueling. (Wouldn’t it be nice if in fact everyone felt this way? So dang sick of waiting for diptards to get out of the fuel lane — but that’s another story.)
I zipped into the bathroom, and I had my choice of stalls. I always choose the end closest to the far wall. That way, if there’s a tornado while I’m on the toilet I’ll have a greater chance of survival. Don’t ask. Anyway, I was hurrying, and had just about gotten my pants up when someone else walked into the bathroom.
“Oh my God! I love your shoes!”
I didn’t pay attention, I assumed she was talking to someone on the phone or walking in behind her. I certainly didn’t respond, as I have a strict code about talking to strangers in bathroom stalls. I was also wearing Birkenstocks, and as comfortable as they are, they sure ain’t pretty. As a matter of fact, the ones I own strongly resemble orthopedic shoes.
“Wow! Some people are really rude. I just said I love your shoes.”
I peeked under the door to see if there was anyone else in the bathroom. Nope. Only two sets of feet. I couldn’t get a look to see if she was talking on the phone without sticking my head out far enough to be seen.
“Gah, really? You’re not going to talk to me? Oh well.”
She was talking to me. She was talking to me and she was starting to get pissed that I wasn’t talking back. For some reason this scared me and I wasn’t going to come out of the stall until this weirdo who talked to the shoes of strangers left the premises.
She farted around (not literally, unless it was something I couldn’t hear over her talking to my shoes) at the sink forever while I remained trapped in the stall. I started getting text alerts from George asking if he needed to park, which in George code means hurry the eff up! I had resolved to leave the stall and feign deafness to this person by making imaginary sign language signals and pointing to my ears on the way out. I was just about to unlock the door when she flounced out of the bathroom. Apparently she had finished terrorizing me and my shoes. I quickly washed my hands and ran to the truck.
“What the hell? You OK?”
“Drive! Drive fast!”
“What the hell did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything! There’s a girl in there who wants my shoes! Get out of here!”
“Babe, I hate to tell you this, but those are some of the ugliest shoes ever. I doubt anyone wants them. I don’t even know why you bought them.”
“Your mother gave them to me, dork. And I know they’re ugly, that’s why I know she’s a weirdo. Now drive!”
I told him about the stranger in the bathroom, and I don’t think he believed me. I had flashbacks of my Mom whispering, “She’s just creative, it’s OK.” Whatever. If the shoe-talker is reading this, or if you yourself have talked to the shoes of strangers in a bathroom stall, quit it. It’s just plain weird.