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Monday, April 25, 2005

Freak Magnet

Is it my magnetic personality or the metal plate in my head that draws in the freaks? People, my name is Lois Lane, and I am a freak magnet. Now that I've taken the first step by admitting this problem, perhaps it can go away now.

Here is where I throw the blame. As we all know, every disorder must have someone to blame otherwise, there really is no need for therapy. My mother, that horrible woman, created a lovely child with one big fault. The fault I speak of is obviously an inherited trait, as no freaks dig anyone as much as they dig my mom. The difference between Mom and I is that she welcomes the freaks. She embraces them, talks to them, makes friends with them and me, not so much.

I try to pretend not to hear them as they speak to me in the grocery store, at the pharmacy, in the driveway next door and especially in the public restroom. Sometimes that makes them all the more persistent. I often wonder if someone stuck a sign onto my back that says, "Please come and speak random nonsense in my general direction."

I thought about buying a hearing aid today. Not because I can't hear. I hear quite well, maybe even too well (crosses fingers in hopes of not jinxing self into a life of silence). I only looked at the big bulky ones, thinking I could strap one to the side of my head, curl it around my ear and yell "Huh?" at the freaks who stop me from being productive to tell me all about how I can save a life by joining P.E.T.A.

The asshole in me wanted to tell that lady today, "Oh, I love that group, People Eating Tasty Animals. I sure could use a big juicy steak right now! When do you meet? And when do we eat 'cuz, I'm starving like a rat!" But the freak magnet in me said, "Oh, really? You don't say. How about you mail me some information because I am really in a hurry today but would love to know more. I have a stray mom cat and some hungry little kittens to tend to and I just came to the store here to buy a supplement for the babies." (LIES all LIES! Their mommy is taking great care of them and I just wanted to get away!)

Why in God's name can't I simply say I am not interested? Why couldn't I high-five her and tell her to keep on fighting for what she believed in? Given her a thumbs up and said "You go on with your bad self!"? Why did I drag fictitiously starving kittens into the story? Why do I feel I must lie my way out of certain things?

I gave the crazy stranger lady my mom's address.

I don't want to be like my mother and have hour-long conversations with random strange folk but it seems I always do.

Growing up I hated going shopping with my mother. She would spend more time talking to the freaks than she would shopping. Once at the grocery store, with our cart full, some lady walked up and asked my mom where she found the Jiffy Pop like the kind that sat atop our cart. Rather than handing the lady one of the 15 containers, she had a 45 minute conversation with her about popcorn. They also discussed why things are stored in a particular section of the store, the cost of groceries, the annoyance of one wobbly wheel on a shopping cart and where to find the best coupons.

That strange lady's kid and I exchanged a glance, a knowing look, as if to say, "Sorry your mom is a freak like mine." We bonded.

By the time we made it through checkout that day, all of our frozen food items had turned to mush. She told the nice cashier that "we" would need to trade some of the items. You know what that means, right people? It meant, I had to go run around like I was playing Super Market Sweep, trying to find replacements for all of the soggy items. And I was told to hurry so "we" wouldn't be holding up the line!

That's another thing that drives me insane about her. She has a dirty little habit of saying "we" when she actually means, anyone but her. I'll delve into that topic some other time, when I have hours upon hours to spare.

So there we were, my kids and I in the store. A strange woman was talking and I was listening. My kids smiled that oh so familiar, "Good gravy Ma! Why are you talking to this weirdo?" smile, as the conversation rambled on. I had a flashback of my own childhood. I felt bad for the kids. I realized how often this sort of thing happens and then it hit me. I was turning into my mother.

God help me!


For your internet farting around pleasure, I bring you a link to make your own version of what you might look like if you were a South Park cartoon character.

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Lois Lane as a South Park character.