All my life, as far back as I can remember, I have been different in seemingly insignificant ways.
I attract freaks, weirdos, crazies, creeps, eccentrics, innocents, lonelies, strays, and waywards. Most of the time, I like it. I relate to the slightly off centre people of the world. Sometimes, sadly, it's just too much. There have been incidents when I've wondered why it has to be me, and why some people just think I'm a target for their troubles. They don't know, of course, that I've been caused any discomfort, or at least that's what I've told myself for consolation. Forgive them, Lord. That sort of thing. Because my hero Jesus took the time to talk to lepers. That's why. That's why I give the odd ones a bit of my time, even if it's grudgingly or even reluctantly. When I come across an oddity who is delightfully weird, I get a fleeting happiness that can't be found anywhere else.
Today I was trying to buy plants when the man behind me, in an accent I couldn't quite place, started talking about how old he's getting. "I'm 65 but I only look 40!"
Even though he'd been chatting with the cashier before I got there, I had a feeling I was supposed to turn around and acknowledge him. He wasn't just talking to the cashier. He was short, not much taller than me, stocky, with tan skin and black hair with just a few grey streaks. He grinned. He was nowhere near sixty five. I smiled back and debated telling him that I'm thirty-six. It always freaks people out when I tell them how old I am. They always guess me about ten years younger. Instead I just chuckled and replied that I sometimes feel a lot older than I am.
He arched an eyebrow at me but kept on smiling. Knowingly, conspiratorially, he confided, "I had severe depression."
I'm standing there with my wallet open, paying for my citronella plant, and the world kind of shifted for a second. Why, why why why, does this happen to me? What kind of changes to the wind currents the sub-oceanic plates or the flapping of a butterfly's wings keeps dragging me into these scenes? Why me?
Why not me? Me, who has always known that not everybody thinks like I do, but that some do, and I'll find them. Or they'll find me...
I looked at the man. I smiled tight lipped, closed mouthed, and big eyed. I nodded my head. "Me too."
His eyes opened wide. He didn't expect this? He tells me this, but didn't expect my reply? I nodded again. I reached for my plant. "I'm feeling much better now."
"I was medicated," he said.
"Me too." I pulled my bag up onto my shoulder and cradled the plant with two hands. "You can survive. It doesn't have to destroy you." I talked quietly but I wasn't embarrassed that the cashier was listening to this bizarre exchange.
"Music," he said, "music really helps."
"Yes. And comedies. Watch a lot of comedies," and the cashier was attentive too, "listen to stand up comedians..."
"Yes, laughter," he replied, "you have to make yourself laugh."
"You do," I agreed. "You can survive."
I smiled again and felt like I had to make my exit. As I was turning to go he asked me, "You know what my son does for a living? He's a psychologist."
I laughed. "Lucky you!" I said and walked away.
I got into the truck and wondered what the hell that was all about.
I don't feel that I imparted any great earth shattering wisdom.
Did it change anything? Totally random?
Pure coincidence that this happens to me two days after my husband and I have a long deep conversation about communicating through writing, and that we've all read things that have changed us even if it was a tiny barely perceptible change, and that I could do that, I could reach people... and not even know it.
(I got some blogger awards. Like, three in the last week. I never win stuff but these little awards mean more to me than you could know...because you're reading and listening. Thank you. I mean it. Even if you might be a little on the odd side of normal. I thank you!!)
As I get older and less tolerant and more protective of my privacy and my sensitivity, I find myself avoiding the discomfort of unwanted attention. When I was young I didn't know how to fend it off and I got hurt sometimes by it. But I know it'll keep happening. It always has. I just hope that these encounters will be more like the one today. Small. Weird. Random. Possibly meaningless. Temporarily memorable.
And that was right heavy for a day on which I planned to tell you about the feed bin in my horse's stall.
To make up for it here are some unrelated pictures -really random and purely frivolous.
..or are they?