Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I attract all the crazies.

No, this does not just mean in my dating life... although if the past year is any indication of my future as a single girl, that also seems to be true.
What I mean is, in general, I attract crazy people. They confide in me, they stop me on the street, they hit on me, they sceam obscenities in my face.. you name it and they try it. Perhaps I appear to be less judgemental than most because I am always running late and looking a little frazzled. Maybe they can see that I too, am a bit crazy so they feel that we are kindred spirits. Who knows- but lately I feel like every corner I turn, there is a new crazy ready to tell me about his new labrador and get mad at me when I don't care.

Just last week, I was taking the red line to meet Becki in Wrigleyville after a cubs game when a blind man named Darryl entered my train car. I've seen Darryl before- he always gets on the most crowded train car and traipses up and down the aisle shouting that he means no harm but he would like some cash, all the while poking his blind man stick into peoples feet. Usually everyone ignores him, but Darryl was in a particularly saucy mood that day, so he was NOT having it. He raised his voice, he stumbled into people left and right, he shook that cup of his in peoples faces, all to no avail. Finally he settled in next to me and since he couldn't stay on his feet a moment longer, he chose to grip my arm to stay upright. I was already mad because Becki was being a real bitch by ignoring my texts, so I angrily shook Darryl off of me. He must have thought that the train's bumpy ride caused this, because he grabbed back on, and I swear even though he is blind he gave me a death stare. Again I yanked my arm away and this time I shouted DON'T YOU TOUCH ME.. but Darryl was undeterred. Finally the train was pulling up to Fullerton and he decided that it was time to switch to a different car. The train was slowing to a stop but the doors hadn't opened and he was pressing my body against the edge of the train. Then, you will never guess what Darryl did. He shouted: "CAN YOU PLEASE MOVE I WANT TO EXIT THE TRAIN PLEASE HELP ME BY LETTING ME OFF THE TRAIN." At this point, everyone was staring and I was livid, so I shouted right back that he could get off the damn train when it came to a complete stop and the doors opened. Darryl thought it over and decided that was ok with him, but when the train stopped and he got off, I gave his walking stick a little kick with my feet just to remind him to never touch me again.

As if that wasn't enough, the following week I had to run home on my lunch break to sign my new lease. This was the day that I learned that all the mental cases in Chicago must have meetings on the redline at high noon- because this train was overrun with nuts.
One itty bitty old man in particular was talking to himself for quite some time. He must have gotten sick of the lack of response, so he turned to me. I didn't catch his name, but he was going on and on about some dog. I pointedly put in my headphones and turned up the volume- but he did not get the message. Instead of politely tapping my shoulder to let me know he had been speaking to me, he started to scream. At the top of his little lungs, he shouted this: "I AINT TRYIN TO BOTHER YOU I JUST GOTTA GO DOWNTOWN AND SEE A MAN ABOUT A DOG!"
Seeing my blank stare, he must have thought that I needed more details to give a proper response- so he added: "a LABRADOR IN FACT!"
It took me a moment to digest this- this tiny man was so mad that I didnt care about his new labrador. I felt a little bad, but I felt more nervous that next he would stab me, so I decided to walk the rest of the way to work, and exited 2 stops early.

The best recent incident that involved chatting with a loon of course involves Patrick. He is great because he is such a snob, and he can't hide the horror from his face. He was already pretty down in the dumps because he was waiting for the megabus to take him home to Indiana instead of driving, and I waited with him because he was scared. We hadn't been waiting for two minutes when the skinniest girl I've ever seen with eyes that were not at all focused came stumbling up to us and launched into a diatribe of what she had been through over the past few days. Her greasy, stringy hair was in her face and she had scrapes and bruises all over her body and face- and she had what I think was a black eye. Apparently, she was in town for a funeral. However her trip quickly derailed when she was offering some money to a homeless, and in a shocking turn of events, he stole her wallet and beat her. This landed her in the hospital (i'm sure she has great health insurance so don't fret).  Then, she was released from the hospital, but her friend who was picking her up was involved in a car crash that was so severe that she too ended up in the hospital- so now the orignal meth head had no way to get back to Milwaukee. We told her we were sorry for her sour luck, but she thought I was a real bitch because I was shaking with laughter- not at her woeful (fake) tale, but at Patrick's face throughout it all. It went from horror, to sadness, to interest (this is when he was inspecting her face wounds more closely) and then back to horror. I think she thought her appearance had something to do with our lack of concern, so she came back 5 minutes later with what Patrick described as "a slightly fresher look," but it was all for naught, because we still didn't buy her a bus ticket to Milwaukee.

I could go on and on. Just today at lunch, a man sat next to me and started screaming at someone on a cell phone. He was very upset because apparently he shares this phone with several other people, and whoever was on the phone (i don't know the callers name because he would only refer to him as "homie" "goofy" or "pimp") was claiming that the man on the bench was 'covering for' whoever else used the phone. Bench man was very adament that was not the case. I can't tell you how this one ends though, because a coworker was kind enough to rescue me and make me sit on his bench for the remainder of lunch.

Like I said, I could go on and on. But these are the highlights- my most favorite lunatics that I hold closest to my heart. I hope they think of me in the same way- I know our paths will likely cross again and if they do, I will treat them with the same grace and dignity that they have me.

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