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Posts Tagged ‘does it look like i want to chat?’

This past weekend, in an attempt to cross something else off my list, I took advantage of a free Sunday morning and went to church. I’d heard a lot of good things about this particular one, and it seemed like a place I’d be comfortable going to. I was there a little early – I wanted to get a feel for the layout, and not rush – so I sat down on a bench near the receptionist’s desk and began reading some of the material.

There was a man already sitting down near me, but I didn’t think anything of it. Until he started talking to me.

At first it was just the normal small talk – hi, how are you, and the like. And it was nothing new. I’m used to random people striking up conversation with me. But then this conversation got a little weirder.

Church Guy held up what looked like an album cover with a picture of a woman on it.

CG: This is my girlfriend. This is my girlfriend. Isn’t she pretty? Isn’t she pretty? (He had a tendency to repeat things – not everything, but the important points, I’m guessing.)

Me: *nodding politely* Yes, she’s very pretty.

CG: She’s very pretty. Very pretty. You’re very pretty, too. You know, I’ve known her since 1976! 1976! I bet that’s before you were born! How old are you?

Me: *even while thinking that I need to extricate myself from this conversation* I’m 25.

CG: 25? So I could be your father? I could be your father. She could be your mother!

At that point, after politely nodding once more, I stood up to ask the receptionist the way to the sanctuary, figuring that would be the end of it. But, as I asked her, Church Guy interjected: “I’ll show her, Mary! I got it!

We walked to the stairs, and as we got to the first landing, he asked me, “Will you do me a favor?” He put the album cover of his girlfriend on the ground and said, “Will you just step on this, please? Just step on it.

Me: No. I really don’t feel comfortable doing that.

CG: It won’t hurt it at all! Look!

He picked it up and showed me that he’d reinforced the back of the picture with duct tape.

Me: No, I’m sorry. I’m really not comfortable.

CG: Please? I just want to take a picture of you stepping on it.

Me: NO. I wouldn’t want anyone to step on my picture, and I’m not going to step on anyone else’s.

CG: Okay. Just keep going up then. The sanctuary’s that way.

And with that, he turned around and walked back downstairs to the reception area. And I started to wonder – how is it that these people always find me? I know I could have been ruder or a complete bitch, but that’s really not my style. And it’s not like I ever actually felt threatened.

I’ll be honest: I really liked the church, but I probably won’t spend too much time in the reception area anymore. There’s only so much crazy a girl can handle on her own.

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The other week I was doing some grocery shopping – hanging out with all the other cool kids who frequent Harris Teeter on a Thursday night. It was supposed to be quick. I knew what I needed; I had my list; I was prepared to be home in time to watch the new episode of Grey’s Anatomy. (It’s a guilty pleasure. Please.) And everything was going according to plan, right up until the little old man started chatting me up by the bananas.

These are the best ones,” he told me, smiling and pointing at a particular bunch.

I laughed, humored him, and continued to pick out my fruit and veggies. And he continued to chat.

You know,” he said, as if letting me in on a secret, “I just like to do that. Because people, they’re looking for someone who knows. They don’t want to have to think about what they’re buying. They want someone to tell them the right answer. And they’re so gullible!

He kept going, “See, I can do this because I have no worries! I like to have a little fun in the grocery store!” I indulged him, smiling, agreeing that yes, people are gullible, etc. And then he finally introduced himself – as Bronco. After a few more minutes of idle chatter, we parted ways and he went on to another display. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him approach another girl at the display, and I knew he was giving more advice. Then I heard him say, “These are the best ones!

And then, even better? “Liebchen! Look! I did it again!” Apparently, we had become co-conspirators in this little ruse.

Now, I’ve met my fair share of characters over the years. It would seem that I emit a please-talk-to-me vibe that people just pick up on. (Which is funny, considering BNB once told me that I came across as standoffish.) Whether it be on the metro, in a cab, standing in line at, well, anywhere, people feel the need to strike up conversation. It’s usually older gentlemen – usually, but not exclusively.

Not my sign, but it might as well be for the way people initiate.

Not my sign, but it might as well be for the way people initiate conversation.

More often than not, I can extract myself easily enough, and I thought Harris Teeter would be no exception. Except, I continued to see Bronco in every. single. aisle I went down.

Liebchen? Can you help me find the unsweetened applesauce?

Liebchen? Do you see flax seed anywhere? I like to sprinkle it on my cereal in the morning. It helps me go to the bathroom.

Good to know, Bronco.

And finally, after everything, he gave me his card: “Call me if you want to play soccer at all [we’d been talking about how his granddaughter plays out in Virginia]. I’m like a papa for a lot of people in the area!

Maybe another time.

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