If Val was a middle-school kid's electromagnet science project, she would have eleven coils.
Yes, I'm a weirdo magnet. Through no fault of my own, odd members of the human race seek me out for personal interaction. They are like copper wire loops to my inner core of sensibility. Opposites attract. Let's look at a partial list of the metal filings that have been drawn to me like a red plastic stylus on one of those Woolly Willy make-a-beard-on-my-face toys.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Arm-Rubbing Save A Lot Woman who followed me through the store, asked if I had a husband, stroked my arm, and told me I was SO PRETTY.
Walmart Mistaken Identity Woman who shouted at me from one end of a frozen food aisle to the other, "Jane! Jane!" She ran up to me, would not listen that I was not Jane, ended up in front of me at the checkout, and made a pointed comment to the checker about people pretending they were somebody else.
Crazy School Invader who came to my room on my plan time, said, "Is this the office?" and disappeared, later to be seen running around the building pursued by the athletic director and the principal. Made more creepy by the fact that to get to my room, he had to enter the main doors, walk past the office, past a counselor's office, past a nurse's office, past an athletic director's office, down a hall, past the teacher workroom, two restrooms, and a janitor's closet to arrive that my room full off student desks, which he assumed was the office.
Creepy Bug-Eyed Neighbor who followed T-Hoe into my semi-dark garage one Thursday night before Halloween back when the boys were ten and seven, and Hick was away at the bowling alley. At the time, here's what I had to say...
My heart almost shot out of my mouth. I say almost, because I guess it is hooked to things like the aorta and inferior vena cava and stuff to hold it in, or else somebody would have been nailed with a hillbilly-heart projectile. I looked behind the car, just inside the garage door, and there was a bald creepy man in a painters' hat. I screamed a little bit, and grabbed at my chest to keep my heart in.
"I didn't mean to scare you. I saw you drive in." It was our neighbor, the Land-Stealer. He shaves his head, and kind of has bug-eyes, and I wasn't expecting anybody to have followed me down my 1/8 mile driveway, so I was scared. He just wanted me to tell Hick that he had all the papers ready for the land he stole from us that we are buying back at an outrageous profit for him. That's all.
Jury Duty Dude Who Looked Like Hannibal Lecter who was supposed to sit right next to me on the pew in the courtroom, but refused to enter that row, and went to the one behind. He was so scary that the deputy reading off our names did not correct him. It might have been because he asked why she wasn't wearing her badge, and asked for her name, and slowly licked the dull lead on a nub of a pencil and wrote it down on a tiny flip-top spiral notebook that he took out of his gray prison-issue-looking slacks.
Befuddled Jury Duty Lady Who Convicted Innocent People, her proclaiming that she could tell, just by looking, that those folks were guilty. She was referring to other prospective jurors who were sitting near the judge's chambers with doctors' letters hoping to be excused.
Young Scofflaws on the Loose who ran up to soap the windows of the car while I was sitting in it in plain sight as Hick took the boys up to a house for trick-or-treating.
Raincoatless Flasher Dude who called me over to his car to ask if I had the time, me thinking he was shirtless because it was summer, and that he wanted me to check my watch, not his...
Odd Lady in a Master's Class who turned to me and asked, "What if you have bruises all over your body and you don't even play volleyball?"
Countless People Who Ask if I Work Here, no matter whether I'm walking through Walmart, a casino, a school not my own, a college science fair, a museum in Mississippi, a shoe store, etc. I am everyclerk.
Generous Addled Man in Save A Lot who came up behind me while I was boxing my groceries, put his hand on my shoulder, and held out a wad of money. "Here."
Oh, dear. I'm leaving out so many. I've had no time to accurately catalog them. I know the Pink Panty Drunk Driver lady is missing, and the guy who hollered, "Every man's dream!" when I ordered two breasts and two thighs at the Gas Station Chicken Store. Not to mention the Walmart parking lot ZZ Top beard guy who told me how he was waiting for his friend to buy some lettuce for a salad to go with their spaghetti, or the casino frat boy who literally pulled my crank, or the mouthy woman at the movie theater who spouted off to my niece (blood is thicker than popcorn), or the doctor's receptionist who gave me a work excuse after surgery for an entirely different woman.
So many weirdos, so little time.