There are so many things to worry about when you spot an oddball in the street. There you are, out and about, selfishly enjoying your perfectly balanced mind when all of a sudden, you see a person who falls beyond your social-norm radar and you pretend with perfect aplomb that you haven’t even noticed.
Yes, some crazy person has wandered into your path with the utter effrontery to potentially make you look like a complete and utter freak in front of a world full of total strangers. You adopt a manifest interest in your thumbnail whilst exercising your proficiency in peripheral peeping.
Whereas normally you are able to juggle a plethora of thoughts, objections, possibilities and plans, as well as dealing effortlessly with any situation that comes your way, now you are totally incapable of producing any thought other than “PLEASE DO NOT ENGAGE”.
As you start to gain some semblance of control, panicked questions rush silently through your head:
- Which direction is he going?
- Why are his eyebrows above his hair?
- Where is his other foot?
- Why is he talking to his beard?
And that’s when it happens. He engages. But it’s brow-moppingly not with you! Hooray! Someone else has signed up for a crash-course in How to appear polite while emitting “Please talk to someone else immediately” vibes.
Thank the Lord of Undeserved Luck! Not only have you escaped the wrath of three whole seconds of mild social discomfort, but you have been reminded what a weird and stupid world we live in. It’s good to remember that sometimes.
The problem is, sometimes you ignore the perfectly ordinary passer-by, lost in the street or in need of the kind of help you can actually afford, and you walk straight past them in an attempt at self-preservation, having many a time fallen victim to someone who asked you directions to Jupiter, and was not content with your limited knowledge of intergalactic geography, and who engaged you for several hours while you tried your best to be a good citizen.
There was a man I’d see around where I used to live who would wear bright yellow hearing protectors, and, regardless of weather, sunglasses and shorts. He carried a plastic bag in each hand with apparently nothing in them and would speak loudly at nobody, or everyone, I never figured out which.
These special beings have wandered beyond the realms of social acceptance to ruffle our orderly feathers and embarrass the unsuspecting.
And what a pleasure it is when they talk to someone else!
When the others talk to others: j’aime