Ugly annoying dude sitting outside my shop, staring at me all day. I avoided for as long as possible but then went for a smoke, forgot he was there. He yelled at me. HI! I gave him a really unpleasant, I don’t like you smile. Just a crease of the mouth. He waved me over. I thought for a second, maybe he’s the new barman… he looks like him. I’m bad with faces, so I approached warily, not wanting to be rude. He grins up at me.
“My girlfriend left me.”
“Good for her.”
“Can I have your number? My girlfriend left me.”
“Why would I want to give you my number?”
“So I can call you some time.”
“That’s exactly why I won’t give you my number”
“I’m single now, I left my girlfriend.”
“Smart girl, I’m not interested.”
I retreat to my shop window as he continues to STARE and the barman and passersby look at me like I’m a hell bitch.
What a dick, how dare he wave me over to him to ask for my number? I only came when I was called because I thought he was the new barman next door and they do look similar, (ugsville) and I want to smack this dood in the face for being such a presumptive git.
Also, today I have some seriously hateable customers.
An old woman who just wants to talk to someone.
She’s bird-frail but quivering at the excitement of conversation with a young person. Or just conversation. I hate her deeply before she opens her mouth, and even more with every passing syllable.
She wants to buy a present for a friend, but can’t just leave it at that. She has to give me details. She tells me the friend is a young girl with MS. Ah. I wonder what kind of dress to suggest for an MS sufferer? I have no idea. She tells me the girl is prone to trip up on long skirts. I suggest “a short skirt”. The little old prune of a woman nods vigourously. What a wonderful idea!
She remembers something she saw, or might have seen, a week or a month ago. She tries to describe the thing. Not sure if it was a top or a dress… it was a plain colour, or maybe it had a floral pattern. It was double, she keeps telling me. Like two tops layered on top of each other? NO! Like… think of a normal top (I try but I’m sure we have different concepts of a normal top) and then it’s DOUBLE. I rack my brains but come up empty headed. I have no idea. I pull out all the floral tops we have. I show her all the tops. No! Like, double! I show her a top that is two layers. NO NO NO! I try to escape to other less demanding customers but she pops up between clothes rails gesticulating in an incomprehensible flurry of arthritis and spidery veins. I don’t understand. I’m sorry. I back away muttering “maybe we sold it, maybe I don’t remember but I don’t have it any more…” while she gurgles “DOUBLE! A FLORAL PATTERN! GREEN LIKE A FLAG!” and creeps towards me like the old woman of the corn, steely eyes defying my escape.
I can’t handle old people.
It’s not just the smell-
but I feel like my perspective and that of an old person are about as compatible as mine and a Mormon’s, or mine and a hippie student protester’s. Does not compute, let me outta here. But I’m at work so I muster up the creepiest mouth-only, eyes of hate and terror smile I can and try to avoid as much as possible.
Old people, and the insane.
I can’t do it.
I think partly I’m afraid of them because of the potential for me becoming a member of their club. One day, it’s entirely possible I’ll age, or snap and start yelling at passersby “Cunts! Motherfucking cunts!” This would probably have already happened if I hadn’t taken that rage and instability to the internet, to blog it all out where at least people don’t LOOK at me and judge. Thank you, WordPress.
I’m only a little unhinged, though. My crazy seeps out through the cracks but it’s mostly contained, and largely can be attributed to alcohol. Thank you, alcohol!
But the truly crazy… they terrify me. Sure, they terrify most people. I’m not special here, I know it.
But I remember this one time my mother took me to a mental hospital’s open day. Yes, yes she did.
She used to sell things on a stall, like crafts and jewellery and whatnot, and some days or some weekends we’d “do” a market, or a festival and she’d supplement her single mother’s allowance with a few hours peddling handmade whadjumacallems to children with their faces painted and slightly intoxicated adults caught up in the festival atmosphere.
The local mental hospital (about a half hour drive from where we lived) held a bizzare and terrifying open day on its grounds every year. There was a fairground with some shitty swings. (that I fucking LOVED) There was a manic “hay ride” which was a pickup truck with a trailer that might have had some hay strewn on its floor, and a bunch of 15 kids (including me, I loved that hay ride) would pay money to stand in the trailer and be driven at around 5 miles an hour around the grounds of the nuthouse. The highlight of the ride was when the one-toothed day tripper driver would swoop at 6 miles an hour under a low-branched chestnut tree and the children would reach up fervently and try to grab a leaf, endangering all our lives. I loved that hay ride, but it was an expensive habit.
I’d return to my mother every 20 minutes, flushed and crazy eyed, and beg for more money.
“Honey, not the hay ride again… why don’t you go on the swings?”
“NO I WANNA GO ON THE HAY RIDE!”
“Ok just once more and then you have to STOP.”
Then there were tables with raffles and things. You could win faded pink baskets full of shredded paper and shell-shaped smelly soaps, a used Boggle game with a scratched and washed-out box, a brand new packet of coloured pencils, and many other exciting prizes.
There was a “petting zoo” which was a young goat in a small pen that could be petted, for a fee of course.
And there were lots and lots of used books and smelly used clothing and second hand crap tables. And the patients of the hospital roamed free all day, free and mingling with the sane folk.
My 10 year old self was pretty similar to my adult self, and so I attracted all sorts of unneccessary crazy. Admittedly, it was a fucking nuthouse open day, but I took a friend with me (she was a little less impressed with the hay ride) and when we inevitably had a fight and split up, I was creeped on by three crazy freaky old dudes and she made two normal children friends. Things never change.
I remember I was standing at the prize table counting out my money to see if I could afford another ten tickets for the raffle, my eye on the prize of that used boggle game. (I think I may have won it because there’s still an old boggle in my mum’s house) Some obvious lunatic middle aged man edges in towards me and starts spouting scary nonsense and asking to be my friend, and did I want to go on the hay ride, and I mean obviously I did, but not with him. I tried to be polite, but it’s hard when someone has no concept of the boundaries and rules about child-adult interaction. I have to be respectful, and he has to not try be friends with me. Those are the rules. They were the rules, when I was little. But I haven’t gotten much better at freeing myself from conversations that are fucking weird and unwanted. I mean, if someone says something sexual I can whip up a fury and indignance, sure. But if it’s just uncomfortable platonic crazy… what do you do?
I walk around and see so many people- so many people in this city. I’m lonely as hell. Some of the people look nice, some of them are attractive. Some look friendly. But every person I see is untouchable. Each person has a little bubble around them, protecting them from interaction. You go to a shop and talk to the person working there, because it’s in context. You can’t just walk up to someone you don’t know and start talking. And crazy people don’t know there’s a bubble, or they don’t care. They’ll shout or talk to you. There’s the woman who yells at her reflection in all the shop windows on my street. There’s the man who I may have mentioned already, who shouts as he walks past and I’ve tried to listen to see if it makes any sense and it appears to be about football. He’s just yelling to himself and random people he passes, about mistakes some trainer or manager made. He recently singled me out and screamed “You’re beautiful, but you can’t kick a ball… You’re all bastards! Bastards!” I was really flattered, but afraid. He shouts right in your face.
And then there’s this scrawny youngist woman, all haggard and disturbing, who sings and sometimes yells in random peoples faces about how she hates them and the government too, I think.
That’s fucking horrifying, to me anyway. Intrusion, hassle… it feels wrong. Like there should be a right to be left the fuck alone that the constitution should protect, or something.
The knowledge that that little membrane of privacy is there to separate us even when we’re mashed together on public transport or sitting in the cinema or queueing for the bank, keeps us from just talking to each other all the time. I hate those people who start talking in a queue or something at the slightest provocation. “You think this is long you should have seen yesterday, I was waiting 40 minutes.” Yeah fuck off I don’t care, why do you want to share that with me? What, do you want us to go to the bar and discuss this over drinks later? No, I don’t either. Fuck off. Unless something actually happens, and information needs to be shared, like the road is blocked and the bus lets you off early, and maybe you need to find out what other buses there are, or something. Legitimate opportunity to glean information from the other people nearby.
But old women randomly start talking to no one in particular about how there’s never a bus or how bad the weather has been lately and they’ll seek your eye contact to try grasp your attention and drag you into an awful exchange of pleasantries and complaints. In supermarkets they hold products in their skeletor hands and squeak about how the price has gone up, and I’m supposed to keep this tedium going by saying something sympathetic. I smile and nod mostly, but I just want them to leave me alone. It’s like they’re rubbing my face that I desperately want some new acquaintances within a decade of my age but I can’t go around striking up convos with anyone I want and I wouldn’t anyway (see asking for directions) but old people have a licence to do so. For that I am jealous and resentful.
Or even worse, maybe they can SMELL the lonely off me and honestly think I’ll enjoy their mindless nattering. Oh man if I’m like a beacon of solitude and desperation to the elderly…. things are worse than I thought.
No, it’s ok. I have my blog and in…. 2.5 weeks I’m getting out. Woop woop!
Gonna get my sex on in a big way.
Oh shiiiit, I just mentioned sex AND old people in one post…. looks like I’ll be getting some interesting hits again. All traffic is welcome, people. Sorry if you wound up here looking for old lady porn.