Just Letting The Weird Out

All my life I’ve been a weirdo-magnet:  If there are weirdos anywhere in the vicinity, they’ll unerringly seek me out and attach themselves to me.  (Sometimes literally – more on that later.)

I used to think it was something about my face.  Some label on my forehead that was invisible to me but glowed like an irresistible beacon to anyone looking at the world through weirdo-coloured glasses.

But this week while I was contemplating a pattern of knotholes in our fence that looks exactly like an evil face, I suddenly realized that I see faces everywhere.  Sometimes when I’m sitting on the john I glimpse faces in the blotchy pattern of our bathroom floor tiles.  I see faces on carsI see faces on potatoes.  This may be a little, erm… weird.

Then, as I sniffed the fall air, it occurred to me that autumn smells as though summer’s been wearing its underwear just a bit too long.  You know; that funky aroma when something’s not quite rotten but it’s well on the way.

You already know I’m not a big fan of autumn, but that was a pretty weird thought even for me.  (I’m also bothered by the fact that I referred to autumn’s ‘irresistible scent’ in that earlier post… and now it smells like funky undies?  Yikes!)

So apparently I attract weirdos because I’m one myself.

I’d like to say that revelation bothers me, but it doesn’t.  Weird is far more interesting than normal.  I’m fascinated by people who harmlessly travel a few steps aside of the beaten path.  Mind you, the ones that don’t even know there is a beaten path worry me; so I guess I’m not overly weird, as weirdos go.

Unlike the guy who attached himself to me when I was riding the C-train many years ago…

I glanced up and thought, “Uh-oh.  That guy looks weird.”

Sure enough, he gravitated directly to my seat and sat down.  Then, without speaking, he gently took my hand.

I’ve got pretty good people-radar and he seemed harmless, so instead of making a scene and/or breaking his fingers I dislodged his hand and said, “No, I don’t want to hold your hand.”

He just smiled and took my hand again.  Didn’t do or say anything else; just sat there smiling off into space and holding my hand like a little kid.

So I thought, “Ah, what the hell.”

I went back to my book, and we rode downtown holding hands.  His stop came before mine, and I was relieved when he did let go of my hand at last.  But he wasn’t finished with his ritual.  Reaching over, he gave two gentle tugs on my earlobe, then grasped my hand and moved it toward his ear.  I gave two gentle tugs on his earlobe in return, and then he smiled sweetly and got off the train.  Never said a word.

Definitely odd, but all in all it was kind of heartwarming.

So at least I’m not the weirdest weirdo on the planet, but it’s probably a good thing I blog so I can let the weird out in small weekly doses instead of letting it build up until I accost total strangers on public transit.

Have you got any harmless-weirdo stories?

* * *

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62 Comments

Filed under Humour, Life

62 responses to “Just Letting The Weird Out

  1. To be fair though, I once had a woman in her late 60s spend her entire train journal peering over her newspaper at me and kept looking at my lap. That was slightly weird.

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  2. I wouldn’t say they are weird per say but alt-normal ha ha.

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  3. You must have a lot of patience? I’m wondering if you attract weirdos on your blog too, because here I am

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  4. I’ve had my share of weirdos too. When I was home on summer break from university, I used to go down to visit my great great aunt who lived at the end of the road some 7 km away. I borrowed my mom’s bike to do this and I would pass through the little village of East Jeddore, One time as I was going through the village, a guy on a bike joins me. I nodded politely and carried on my way. At the end of the village, I thought he would go his way but no, he did not. He continued to pace me, not saying a word despite some attempt on my part at conversation. When I reached my destination, I said good-bye, thinking that would be the end of it. Nope. As I was visiting, he comes in and sits down, still not saying a word. Now this sounds creepier than it was, but my aunt was an institution in those parts and was accustomed to all manner of folk dropping by. The creepy part is that he said nothing the whole time and he was not a usual visitor. When he went to use the washroom, my aunt, another visitor and I speculated on who he might be. My aunt then said “Let’s just feed him and send him on his way”. No dice. Didn’t work. He only left when I did and he again paced me riding his bicycle back up the road. At the village, again, I said brightly, “see you later!”. Nope. He followed me home. He became somewhat of a stalker for about two weeks though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. The term was not in common use in those days. Fortunately, thanks to a cranky brother, he finally left me alone. Now you see why I’m still single.

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  5. That weirdo seems a little creepy, if you ask me, Diane. Earlobes? How odd – personal space invaded there, methinks! I don’t think I have an Inner Weirdo, that would definitely be too much. My outer self is weird enough – so you DO draw weirdos to you… I’ve been following you for a looooong time now! In a blog way, not a creepy weirdo way, that is. Mwahahaha!
    Tonight, I’m staying in, honing my earlobe tugging. Have you any plans for the evening, Diane? 😉 😀
    Have a great weekend!

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  6. jenny_o

    I have to say, I rubbed my hands in glee when I saw the title today … and I was not disappointed, by either your post or the comments 🙂

    I think that people with, ah, issues are drawn to people with kind faces, and you have a very kind face, Diane. I get the talkers, the people who just need someone to listen, no matter how strange/mundane/personal their problems are. It works out fine, because I make a better listener than talker when I’m around strangers.

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  7. I’d managed quite successfully to suppress this memory for several decades, but it’s finally resurfaced.

    Thanks a big, fat, sloppy lump, y’all.

    The weirdo magnet/stoopid magnet/psycho magnet thing didn’t really start for me until after high school. But all through high school, I thought of myself as the crying towel.

    All the hotties wanted to spend time with me…so they could cry on my shoulder about how their oh-so-popular boy friends were treating them so badly. That was pretty cool, I thought. For a little while. But, boy did that get old after a while. Friends, without benefits? Hardly. Just the crying towel.

    But it all turned around for me my senior year. By then, I’d been going with a *particularly* fine young lady for two years and was seriously off the air, so to speak.

    Senior now, remember. So all the senior girls I went to school were also off the air and in serious relationships with guys who were off at college.

    Yep. Buddies! My girl lived in another town over an hour away, so I only got to see her on the weekend. Thus, during the week, I hung out with all the hot senior girls. No ‘tension’ of any kind. They were committed to their guys, I was committed to my girl, no pressure, ho harm, no foul. Just buddies.

    And they’re the ones I still hang out with when we get together for our high school reunions. Gad, we have our fiftieth coming up! Where has the time gone?

    Oh, and my high school sweetheart? She’s the one who has been my wife now for 46.8 years, 47 in November. That makes me the winner.

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  8. Inga Hinnerichsen

    You’re not the only weirdo-magnet! I’ve had them stuck to me more times than I care to remember… One incident was much like your train-buddy-episode: I was riding the Bowness bus to work one morning when a young man climbed on board a couple of stops later. He usually would sit close to the front of the bus on the side bench by the entrance where he would greet other passengers as they boarded, “Good morning! How are you? Lovely morning!” etc. Totally harmless – his IQ probably well under 100. That morning he took a B-line at the vacant seat next to me (I was sitting by the window on one of the 2-seat benches) The usual greetings followed. I said I was fine, thank you, and pulled out my newspaper to the crossword puzzle page. A short silence ensued. Then my travelling companion said: “What are you doing?” I told him that I was trying to solve a crossword puzzle and that it was pretty difficult… “Oh.” Another silence. Then I felt him pushing at me sideways against the bus wall beside me. “I’m gonna squish you!” he said happily. Why me, I thought. I said: ” Oh no, please, don’t squish me” and, surprise! He stopped. We rode in silence again for a while until the bus pulled in at the stop where my young squisher would get off. As he was getting up from the seat beside me he planted a big wet smooch on my cheek and left. Any time thereafter I made sure I was well back in the bus and had somewhere to duck out of sight… just in case!

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    • Oh, yikes! I’m laughing, but I’m glad it was you and not me. A big wet smooch from a squisher would not make an auspicious start to my day!

      Hmmm, we seem to have more than our share of harmless weirdos here in Calgary – maybe it’s something in the water. Another time I was coming out of a building when a derelict homeless guy popped out from behind one of its columns, right in front of me. He was as startled as I was, and we both took a look at each other’s faces and cut out laughing. He apologized for scaring me; I assured him it was no problem; and we each went our ways. It would have been quite a pleasant encounter, if not for the fact that he’d obviously been eating Cheetos and his teeth were entirely caked with bright-orange goop. I still remember his laughter with a smile, but those teeth haunt me at night. 😉

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  9. For many years, I had real problems with one side of my family. The other side was perfectly normal. Then I watched “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and realized we are ALL weird in one way or another. I have loved all my family ever since and am far happier for it. And thank you so much for your kindness to that man on the C-Train. Not many would have done what you did. You are a good person. In this day and age, that likely makes you weird, I suppose.

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  10. Julie Hyland

    I have always embraced my quirkiness!!!!! I love meeting other loopies like me, and tell everyone that life is never boring when you just are who you’re meant to be!
    Glad you are embracing your weirdness…or Creativity….or quirkiness…..whatever we call it – it’s what makes us unique!!!!!!

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    • Julie Hyland

      OH!!!! I’ve always seen faces in everything…..popcorn ceilings the most….and sometimes they leave!!!! Yeah…that used to worry me. But then I realized I must have moved the lamp and the shadows changed the patterns on the ceiling.
      I see them in wood grain, fabric, even grass sometimes. I’ve since learned that it’s just a simple case of Pareidolia….pretty fancy word, eh??? LOL It’s just our mind making sense of patterns (and even sounds) by making them something familiar! 🙂
      Check out this google image search on the word Pareidolia!!!
      https://www.google.com/search?q=pareidolia&espv=2&biw=1600&bih=770&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwj75uOwvbPPAhVKwiYKHaT0CPcQsAQIMA&dpr=1

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      • Those images are hilarious! And creepy, some of them – I don’t think I’d be able to carry the “grumpy purse”, and those carnivorous green peppers were downright scary. Thanks for the link – that gave me my giggle for the day! 🙂

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      • el Tea

        There are some artists who use this phenomena as the selling gimick for their work. (Thanks, Julie for naming it for us.). One of my friends has a small business documenting artists’ work with photos and designing and updating their websites. One of her clients is one such artist. The artist is interested in focusing attention to endangered species. She will loosely paint a landscape and then study it carefully for little faces that can be enhanced a bit to become one of those animals. She got a commission to paint something for a fundraising poster of Jane Goodall charity. They requested her to use a photo of Jane’s favorite waterfall taken from the place where Jane sits at the falls. The artist showed the photo to my friend before she began the commission. My friend said, “What a coincidence! That rock looks just like a chimpanzee!” They knew the painting had to emphasize the chimp/rock. When the photo of the painting was presented to Jane for her approval she was startled by the chimp/rock and said that in all the hours she meditated at the falls, she had never noticed the chimp face in the rock.

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        • That’s so cool! I would never have thought to intentionally look for things like that, much less to turn them into art. People’s creativity never ceases to amaze me! 🙂

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          • Laurie Toth

            Laurie

            >

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          • el Tea

            I am not very fond of artwork that relies so heavily on a gimmick to be of greater interest than the skilled use of materials, design, and visual communication skills to create something of lasting interest. A gimmick can certainly be just another tool to utilize along with all the other elements that go into making good artwork. But if you rely solely on the gimmick to carry that particular work, it is not enough. If the gimmick is the only thing of interest, the work fails to hold my interest.

            I can do watercolors, but it is a medium I do not excell at, but am impressed when others do it well. I believe a great watercolor should net prices far above those of a great oil painting. But the medium attracts those who think that all you need to do is to learn a few gimmicky techniques to make interesting paintings. Galleries are overrun with watercolors that a person could stand in the center of the space and point to a painting and recite the gimmick- Kosher salt there, masking fluid here, cheesecloth over there, plastic food wrap here, etc. I always hated these gimmicks until l saw one watercolor artist who wrote an article on using salt as the starting place to add texture to her work. She’d add salt to a specific area of the painting, then after the salted area dried and the residue brushed off, she would add more layers of color later to make a stucco wall, or a bathtub full of bubbles. By the time the painting was done, there was no evidence of how she managed to get those surfaces and the painting wasn’t about the texture, but about catching a drop of water with your big toe, or the shadow that fell across the stucco.

            I would bet there are gimmicks in every creative enterprise, including writing stories or novels. Do you become annoyed if the writer has relied too much on the gimmick?

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            • I’m right there with you in my admiration for anyone who can create beautiful watercolours – what an incredibly demanding medium! I’m in awe of your pastel work, too – to me, that’s a very difficult medium to excel in as well.

              I think that once we understand the technique and craft behind any creative endeavor, a little of the magic goes out of it for us. Before I began writing I had always believed that books were written by people much smarter and more talented than I, so it was a bit of a letdown to discover that even though there’s still a bit of magic, a large part of creating a compelling story is craft/technique. Now that I understand the craft, it’s harder to lose myself in a book because I can identify where the author has used specific techniques to accomplish their goals… the same way you identify techniques in art.

              I understand what you’re saying about gimmicks. I think writers, like artists, struggle with the same thing: There’s really nothing new under the sun. All we can do is keep adding our own unique twist to the same old tropes. And that means there will always be those who are wildly creative and fresh, those who trudge along doing solid work with occasional flashes of brilliance, and those who couldn’t care less about quality or innovation as long as the end product sells.

              On one hand, I get annoyed when I read a book where an author has dumped in the same old ingredients and served up the same old dish, but I also have to remind myself that lots of readers enjoy that kind of safe predictability. If they didn’t, Harlequin romances would never have gained the popularity they did. Different strokes… 😉

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  11. Marilyn

    I look for faces in bathroom tile also. I thought I was the only one.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I feel ya, I seem to get the weirdies too, a d like you I accept it. I feel I’m one of them. I see things where they aren’t, faces, animals, objects, and sometimes I see things that shouldn’t be seen.

    First time I met a friend’s husband ok he was just the guy she was dating then. We were drinking, I was quite drunk ok very drunk but who’s counting. We were sat in a pub, he reached for something from the table and I saw blood on his hand’s, did a double take, and almost as soon as I realised I was seeing something it was gone. I never mentioned anything about it but I never trusted him after that. A few months later I found out he used to beat her up. I refused to go to the wedding we fell out over my dislike of him. Anyway I was haunted by the sight of blood on his hands from my drunken first meeting. Anyway to cut a long story short, she left him when she was pregnant with her second child, who ended up with learning difficulties due to the beatings he gave her. Looking back I guess I saw a premonition of what was to come, or maybe I was just very drunk and seeing things.

    I do tend to trust what I see these days.

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  13. Briefly- The Geezer broke an egg into the skillet a few weeks ago, took one look, mumbled a four letter word, and quickly whipped his fork through it. I asked, “What’s up Geezer – I thought you wanted a fried egg?” He answered, “I did, but the yolk looked just like my ex.” He paused, smiled and said, “That’s why I scrambled it.”

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  14. Holey cows, sista. If nobody’s told you today that you rock, please allow me to be the first.

    Weird magnet? Yeah, I can kinda relate. Except instead of the weird ones being drawn to me by cosmic forces, the ones I get are just soup-drooling stoopid.

    Illustrations? Got ’em. Years ago in another town, I’m driving home from work on what happens to be the last day of public school for the summer. I turn off the loop freeway onto a nice, wide, major thoroughfare. A brand-new (fresh dealer plates and all) bright red Camaro convertible changes lanes right in front of me. From the far left lane it drifts slowly across all three lanes, barely missing my front bumper. The top is down, and four very blonde and obviously very high-school-aged girls are in the car, each talking on her own cell phone, and all looking back and forth at each other, laughing their heads off…including the driver who is turned almost completely around, looking at someone in the back seat.

    Yep, from one side of the southbound half of the road all the way across to the other. When the Camaro is lined up perfectly in the far right hand lane, the driver turns back around and continues on, oblivious.

    No one in the car had any inkling that they’d crossed two lanes without looking and that they’d narrowly avoided causing three wrecks. The guy they cut off in the right lane honked at them, and all four girls raised a middle-finger salute in perfect synchronization without ever giving it another thought.

    Same town, different year. I’m going to work ‘way early one morning. Pitch black outside. We’re talkin’ EARLY here, okay? I’m cruising along on the same loop freeway and this combination lowrider/tuner Civic comes blasting by, radio set on about 12 (on the Richter Scale, not on the volume knob). You know, the ones that had the annoying syrup bucket mufflers and were lowered to the ground with the outrageously reversed wheel offsets so that the little skinny tires were about eight inches outside the body, right? Yeah, one of those.

    Anyway, the kid comes ripping by and then cuts me off to get to his off-ramp. Okay, slam on the brakes, honk, receive a one-finger salute out the driver’s window, let the kid live, and move on toward work. Over the overpass after the kid’s off-ramp, and here he comes again, blasting up the on-ramp, again cutting me off when he swerves in front of me. Okay, slam on the brakes, honk, receive the same salute.

    This time, I let the kid live again but with my teeth gritted.

    I top another overpass a little later and see an ENORMOUS shower of sparks ahead in the distance. Remember, it’s pitch black darkness, so it looks like a fireworks show for about five seconds, then nothing.

    I signal for the off-ram I need to get to my job, and there’s this same kid parked on the shoulder. He’s out of the car with the hood up on his low-rider.

    Karma is SO fine, right?

    So about a quarter of a mile ahead on the service road, a car tire comes out of nowhere rolling down the side of the overpass that’s right beside the service road I’m on. So I slam on the brakes AGAIN to avoid it, it rolls and wobbles across the service road and disappears into the night.

    “Now, that’s weird,” I think to myself and promptly forget the whole thing.

    On the way home that afternoon (still daylight for once) I see the kid’s car still parked on the side of the road…with a good bit of its front end parts scattered along the shoulder of the highway behind it. He’d run over most of them and dragged them along on the bottom sheetmetal of his car. That’s what caused the spectacular fireworks show.

    It was the kid’s errant tire and rim–broken completely off the center section of the stylish-but-terminally-stoopidly-reversed wheel–that had rolled up the overpass and down the side that had narrowly missed me that morning.

    I could go on and on…

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    • Yep, that would definitely be the stoopid side of weird!

      But here’s something that’s legitimately weird: You’re not the only person I know to have been chased by an errant tire. It happened to my sister, too… and it passed her going downhill. Being the good Samaritan that she is, she drove down, hoisted the tire into her back seat, and drove it back up the hill to the guy who’d lost it. He’d just had his tires changed at the tire shop and they’d neglected to tighten his wheel nuts. Not at all a happy camper, but at least he thanked her nicely for the return of his tire.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now that is weird. Especially since a tire shop guy neglected to finish tightening the lugs one one of my vehicles years ago. I heard the clunking and felt the squiggly steering before disaster struck, though. Pulled over, finished tightening the loose ones, then went back to the tire shop. The ensuing discussion did manage to attract the notice of the boss, several other customers, and numerous passers-by. Uh, tire shops are noisy places, okay?

        After the smoke cleared, so to speak, the boss watched closely while the employee-at-fault removed the damaged lug bolts and nuts from the front hubs (the back ones were okay) and replaced them with new ones. It took a while for the guy to get it done. Hubs had to be removed, the old studs pressed out, new ones pressed in, the bearings cleaned and repacked, and all that. With the boss–and me–staring over his shoulder the whole time. (My wife’s ride, it was. She was busy at the time, so I picked it up for her. If she’d picked it up, she would have had our two small children with her. That’s why it was so noisy in the tire shop. And I was still carrying my tire iron when I returned, too. It could’ve gotten a lot noisier. Just sayin’…)

        The guy was off the clock while he was repairing his screw-up, by the way. “I pay you to FIX stuff, not tear it up! You messed it up on my time, so yer gonna fix it on yerz!” quoth the boss.

        When the hubs were fixed and the tires mounted–properly this time–the boss told me to drive it around the block a couple of times to make sure all was okay. Did so, and it was.

        When I returned, the employee was burning rubber out of the tire store parking lot…for the last time. “Fired him!” quoth the boss. “Yours ain’t the first wheels that #$!#@$%*&* forgot to tighten!”

        Stuff happens. Come to think of it, this is yet another example of being a magnet for stoopid.

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        • Yikes! See, this is why I do as much of my own work as possible. I just don’t trust anybody else that much. And when I get new tires, I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I take my torque wrench along when I pick up the vehicle. Ostensibly to check the torque on the nuts before I drive away, but you make an excellent point: A large torque wrench is an excellent persuader of nuts both human and mechanical. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • And you made a good point. USE a nice torque wrench, but CARRY a cheapo. Then if it should happen to become, say, L-shaped during the course of an animated discussion, just toss it and save the expense of having the nice one recalibrated. Better still, just hammer it straight again, and it’ll be good enough for the next such discussion.

            Always use the right tool for the job, that’s my motto. 😜

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  15. el Tea

    Faces in the wood knots? I have always gotten weirded out by the wolverines and goblins in the veneer on my bedroom door, then we had a house with tongue and groove plank roof ceilings and thousands of faces leering down on me. Now I have only one room I sponge painted two walls when that was fashionable. Faces everywhere. I heard that finding faces in clouds, wood grain, textures and patterns is normal, not weird.

    Your hand holding, earlobe tugging friend- definitely strange behavior. Incredibly brave of you to just go with it.

    My first painting studio was in a warehouse building not far from home. One night I worked all afternoon on a project where I was creating a bedframe out of furniture grade maple plywood and maple veneer strips to cover the edges so the layers don’t show and it looks like boards. It was going well and I suddenly realized I was starving. I don’t keep snacks in my workspace, just coffee and bottled water and I saw it was 11:00 PM. The dive bar across the street didn’t hold any appeal so I headed for the McDonalds a half mile down the street. Other than the employees, there was only one other customer inside. He greeted me politely and said if I wanted to, please join him at his table. I thought, why not? He seemed polite, and it was a friendly thing to do to eat together rather than to pretend we don’t see each other. So when I got my food, I joined him. I had barely dug in when he asked me how the painting was going. It freaked me out totally. For once I had no paint on my face, hands or hair, nor was there a network of dabs of stray color on my jacket or jeans. How did he know I am a painter? I might have had traces of sawdust on me, but not paint. I don’t dress in clothing that is a costume that screams, I’m an artist! I wear un-embellished solid colored t-shirts, jeans and sport shoes. I was wearing a pea coat, and maybe a plaid flannel shirt. I responded somehow, but was grateful that it doesn’t take long to swallow such a meal and make a hasty exit. He made no attempt to follow me home, thank God! Harmless, yes. Totally mysterious and off-putting, yes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YIKES!!! That’s freaky! My train-weirdo seemed childlike and non-threatening, but I’d definitely be creeped out by an experience like yours. (Your bedframe project sounds so interesting – I bet it was beautiful when you were done!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Faces in odd places? Got ’em. The first house my family lived in that I remember when I was little…

        Bedroom door was varnished wood. I wish it had been painted instead. When I’d wake up, the sun would be shining on it in just the right way so that the horrid face of the evil thing that lived under the house would manifest…in perfect 3-D. One of those strange optical illusions. I could move a few inches either way, and it was just a wooden door again. But if I woke up *there* and opened my eyes, that THING was the first thing I saw.

        Long story, but my sister finally lay down on my bed and put her head exactly where it needed to be, and her eyes bugged out! She’s ten years older than I, so when mom and dad were out doing chores around the farm, my ingenious and industrious sis swapped doors with me from her room to mine. Problem solved, and no further drama. In her room, it was just a door. Hers in my room was just a door. From my earliest memories, my sister has always been my favorite person. Now, you know why.

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        • That’s a wonderful story! Kudos to your sis – she’s a keeper for sure! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Couldn’t agree more. And her husband, my brother-in-law, is the nicest guy I know and as good a friend as anyone could ever ask for.. He’s her second husband. The first was a worthless jerk, but John has loved my sister like crazy and taken care of her every day they’ve been together. It’s good that he’s a really great guy. But the important thing is that he loves my sister and treats her like a queen. She reciprocates, of course. Nice arrangement, that.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. After declining you changed your mind and let the weirdo hold your hand and then you did the ear lobe thing with him… Wow, I’m in awe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it would’ve been a very different story if he’d been aggressive or threatening in any way, but he was more like a little kid seeking reassurance. And the train was full of morning commuters so I didn’t feel too worried. Just a little weirded-out. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Diane I think you have a big heart is what I think. Most people would have made a big scene and you just relaxed with it. Perhaps your ability to see faces just makes you creative and speaks to your ability to write a bizillion best selling books. I think they call it imagination. xo

    Liked by 1 person

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