Am I the Only Person Who Gets Randomly Accosted by Crazy-Pants McGhees at Connecticut Bookstores?

One thing I really like to do with my life is watch Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network every weekend and then immediately haul ass to the New Age section of my local Barnes and Noble in order to impulsively buy every book ever related to that day’s topic while telling myself that it doesn’t count as spending money because it’s food for my spirit, and spirit knows no money so I’m good. Or something.

Anyway. So this is what I was doing recently when, out of the fucking blue, some random dude tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I don’t much care for it.”

If you’re craving a little more context right now, here’s the set up:

  • Me: Wearing a dark gray hoodie-tee-shirt (yes, I dress like a tween on the weekends) and a Patriots hat. I have an open copy of The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav in my hand and, up until the aggressive shoulder-tap from the rando in aisle seven, am reading it with zeal.
  • The Shoulder-Tapper: White male. Appears to be in his forties or fifties. Kind of out of shape but not necessarily fat. Wearing a blue sweatshirt, jeans, and Nike running sneakers. Is kind of twitchy but has the general look of a normal person.

One might reasonably assume that by saying “I don’t much care for it,” the guy was informing me that he had read The Seat of the Soul and was not a fan. Which is what I assumed (and took major offense to, side note, because anybody who “doesn’t much care” for a book that Oprah credits as changing the very direction of her life back in 1989 is clearly a bad a person and probably a hazard to society) at first.

But then he was like, “I used to live in New Rochelle.” And then he paused and took a dramatic breath in, and I was like…?

My first thought was that maybe he was going to say something about my Patriots hat – something along the lines of “I used to live in New Rochelle… and I too am a Patriots fan, so it was rough being in New York during that time. But then I moved to Connecticut and now people are slightly more open to my New England affiliation, but we’re still close enough to the New York border that, well, I don’t much care for it.“

But no.

Instead he followed up with “…until my house got flooded.”

So then in my head I was all, Okay so either he’s going to ask me to make a donation to his cause, or he’s going to murder me.

Help

“And then after the house got flooded,” he continued, “I left and moved to a really nice place up in the Catskills. It was beautiful, new, and surrounded by nature. But then that house got flooded too. So I got another house right after that, but then that one went up in flames and I was put in jail for two weeks until they were able to prove that the fire actually started from the dryer and I had nothing to do with it – which is what I told them all along, but nobody believed me.”

What I might have said in my head if I was as enlightened as I hope to someday be:

  • Aw, I’m honored that this nice man is sharing such personal details of his history with me. We’re all one, and I see myself in him. I sincerely wish him luck in finding a living situation that doesn’t involve catastrophe and disaster. I shall hug and bless him now.

What I actually said in my head:

  • WHY IS NOBODY COMING TO MY RESCUE?! OMG, I feel like Sarah Michelle Gellar in I Know What You Did Last Summer when the killer is like, maiming her with a hook by the large stack of tires and nobody knows about it even though it’s all happening in the midst of a busy parade and you would THINK that one couldn’t get murdered during something as public as a fucking PARADE but somehow there was no one else there in that little area with all the tires at the time, much like how there’s no one else here in the NEW AGE BOOK SECTION OF AN OTHERWISE WELL-POPULATED BARNES AND NOBLE.

What I said out loud:

  • “Oof. That’s rough, man. Sorry to hear it.”

And then he was all, “Yeah—” and then I cut him off and said, “Okay, well, take it easy!” and I immediately darted to the bargain books because there were a solid four people in that section.

I managed to avoid him for the rest of my duration in the store until I left to go have pizza with two friends of mine, both of whom were as confused as I was when I gave a dramatic retelling of the event.

“Why does weird shit always happen to you?” they both asked.

“I don’t know…” I replied. “Maybe because the Universe knows I’m always running out of things to blog about?”

And then we all nodded in agreement.

 

Comments

  1. hahahahahaha. Maybe that is why all those weird things are happening always to you! ;)

  2. Yes, that’s probably why.
    “I know what you read last Sunday” – that dude.

  3. If people regularly come to you with their problems or random strangers let you know that their lives suck in unusual ways, it is probably because you have an aura of kindness about you that attracts their lost souls. They are reaching out to you, not so they can move in with you and have you take care of them, but so that they can connect to another person in the world and not feel so alone, even if it is only for a few minutes.

    Usually, if you just listen to their story and let them know you are sorry (in the “feel sorrow” way, not the “it’s all my fault” way), they will wander off just as suddenly as they wandered in.

    If you are in a bookstore and you cannot shake the sad soul that has glommed onto you, you can direct that person to a section in the store that might be helpful to whatever their problem is. If, after spending some of your mental energy trying to come up with some book, author, or genre that might be appropriate for this person, you just can’t think of anything, take them to your favorite Oprah section and show them some books they might like. Tell them again that you are sorry, and then slip away and do your avoidance dance.

    You are an exceptional and enlightened young man. You are always going to attract people who need a human to validate their existence during their times of trouble. It only takes a few minutes. You can do this.

    • “…but so that they can connect to another person in the world and not feel so alone, even if it is only for a few minutes.” – that was SO well said!

      It’s true, compassion and understanding and being the light is the #1 thing we need to bring into ALL encounters… especially with lost/confused strangers. Next time, I hope to create at least one little ripple of positive energy for the person in question, even if he does talk about being incarcerated. Lol. Thank you for the kind words and encouragement! :-)

  4. Omg that’s an amazing encounter. But I want to know what he didn’t much care for. You can’t leave us in suspense like this! Next time you MUST find out the whole story no matter how excruciating it is. Your public has a right to know!!!! (But it’s ok to make sure you won’t be murdered first.)

    • I TOO would love to know!!! I’m thinking maybe he meant he doesn’t much care for floods/water? But if that’s the case, then he came totally out of left field with the subject. Then again, that’s just like him. I suppose this will forever be a mystery, but if I ever see him again at that bookstore I will certainly strike up a new convo and report back ASAP!

  5. I need to come live by you. To bear witness and to have something to blog about.

  6. This was good. I totally know what you mean, I tend to attract people who have revolutionary views on front teeth, and exactly how much one actually needs them. That and any drunk person. Don’t worry about it, man, we’re just magnetic. Yes, awkward-magnetism may be a lesser variation of general magnetism but we’ve still got it. We’ve still got it.

    • “Yes, awkward-magnetism may be a lesser variation of general magnetism but we’ve still got it. We’ve still got it.” LOL! Beautifully put, and oh so true.

  7. Well, maybe you just look a lot like his imaginary friend? Oh no…what if you ARE his imaginary friend? What does that make all of us? Figments of the imagination of the imaginary friend?
    This comment is too meta. I haaaate meta.

    • A compulsory reply expressing an enjoyment of all things meta.

      • Half of my job is wrangling metadata. I do not wish it to leak beyond the confines of my workplace AND YET IT DOES. ALL THE TIME!
        I cannot get away from meta.
        It haunts me…which is stupid if I’m just a figment of an imaginary friend’s imagination. I should not be haunted. Whose figments are that well-developed?

        • “Whose figments are that well-developed?” LMAO. Omg but seriously, that’s such a good question — like, what if we’re all just living in a dream? The dream that is that guy’s head? And that moment in the bookstore was my ONE moment with the Source, and I ran from him because I thought he was crazy!

          Side note: I detest metadata as well.

  8. I love your ability to turn what normal people would call a mundane exchange into an existential crisis-laden blog post. Hats off.

    I once had an exchance with a guy at Barnes and Noble (before I was out of the closet to anybody but myself) in the YA section (because obvs) and he was like, “whatcha reading?” and then after a lengthy exchange (I was sitting on the floor, mind you), he “forced” his number on me (and by “forced, I clearly mean we were flirting but because I was still in the closet, I’m choosing to remember it as he “forced” his number on me) because he was all, “I just moved here from Colorado and I don’t know anybody,” so I was all, “I’ll show the White Plains ropes…”

    Then he texted me like an hour later and was all, “You’re really hot, we should hook up” and I was all, “OMG I JUST WANTED TO READ A BOOK!”

    So basically, I was raped* at Barnes and Noble.

    *I think I’m confusing the definition of “rape”…

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