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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New discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  A Rose By Any Other Name…  How important are character names in fiction?  Click here to have your say!

Wait, Wha…?!?

I’ve had one of those weeks where it seems as though the rest of the world is conspiring to make me say, “Wait, wha…?!?”

The first thing was the fortune cookie I got on the weekend. I was expecting the usual sort of fortune; you know, ‘You will soon go on a long trip’ or ‘Your persistence will be rewarded’ or something.

Instead, I got this:

fortune - goal


I’m somebody’s goal? That’s… really… kinda creepy. I’d be pleased to be someone’s role model… or no, wait, scratch that. I’d be seriously concerned if anyone selected me as a role model. I’d be unsurprised by being held up as a bad example; or perhaps as an object lesson. But to be the goal of many individuals? Suddenly I feel as though I’m the prize in a game of Capture The Flag.

The next two things that boggled my mind happened in quick succession at a shopping mall. Here’s what confronted me when I walked in the door of Hudson’s Bay Company (a Canadian department store):

Check the sign: "2015 RED MITTENS".

Check the sign: “2015 RED MITTENS”.

I read the sign on my way by, stopped, backed up, and read it again. Then I squinted at the sign and the big display of mittens beside it. Wha…?!? In what world are those mittens red?

Granted, they’ve got some red on them. But The Bay has carried a new design of red mittens every winter for years, and they’ve always been, well… red.  See?

These red mittens all have one thing in common: They’re, um… red.

These red mittens all have one thing in common: They’re, um… red.

I guess nobody bothered to inform me that blue is the new red.

Then a few minutes later, in the same store, this:

Yes, that is a giant hairball.

Yes, that is a giant hairball.

A big ball of human hair. Right in the middle of the clean white floor, not far from a service desk.

Something like that doesn’t just drop unnoticed off somebody’s head. A hairball of that magnitude has to be gathered from a hairbrush, rolled up, and deliberately dropped. Gross. But that wasn’t what made me say, “Wait, wha…?!?”

No; I put the defunct dreadlock out of my mind and carried on with my shopping. My ‘wha…?!?’ moment occurred two hours later when it I came back and it was still there.

So this big gross hairball, visible from 50 yards away in a main traffic aisle, close to a service desk… was cheerfully ignored by every staff member for two hours.  That might not be surprising if it was a dollar store or some other place that doesn’t worry too much about their image. But in a department store that pretends to be moderately upscale? Wha…?!?

And finally, I’ll leave you with this arrival in yesterday’s mailbox:

Tell me, does this colour scheme say ‘Glow’ to you?

Tell me, does this colour scheme say ‘Glow’ to you?

I don’t know why they persist in sending me this free magazine. It’s all about fashion and makeup, which everyone knows is a lost cause with me. But at least I got a laugh out of this issue’s cover. A murky green background and a model with deeply shadowed eyes, pale lips, and a greenish cast to her skin just doesn’t say ‘Glow’ to me. ‘Reanimated Corpse’, maybe.

But I guess that title would be too long to fit on the cover.

Did anything make you go “Wait, wha…?!?” this week?

Only In My World

I’m a weirdness magnet. All kinds of oddball stuff happens in my world; everything from finding machete wrappers at bus stops and dick prints on my hotel window to experiencing unusual coincidences pertaining to warm guns and email.

The past few weeks have been no exception.

I was out for a walk when I spotted something on a perfectly-manicured front lawn. When I got closer I blinked twice, but I wasn’t hallucinating. Nope; no matter how I looked at it, it was still a large dead mouse smushed in a mousetrap. You don’t see that very often on nice suburban lawns, even if you’ve been partaking in unusual substances (or so I’m told).

The whole situation was weird. Both mouse and trap were soaking wet, so the homeowners must have dumped them in a bucket just in case the mouse survived getting whacked. I’ll grant them points for thoroughness, but since they’d obviously succeeded in making the mouse as dead as possible, why would they chuck it out on the front lawn?  Why not release the body and flush it or bury it or dump it in an unobtrusive corner of the back yard instead of displaying it to passersby like a bizarre welcoming gift: “Hello, may I offer you some lovely drenched vermin attractively served on wood with steel accents? No? Whyever not?”

Just to keep things interesting, Fate has served up a couple of unusual coincidences in the past few weeks, too.

Such as the day I walked into our local postal outlet. The postal clerk knows me by sight, though not by name… I thought. Until she cheerfully greeted me, “Hi, Kelly!”

My brain was deep in plotting my current book and I absently returned the greeting before realizing that I was not, in fact, Aydan Kelly. Explanations and laughter ensued, but she still insisted that I looked like a ‘Kelly’. She had no idea I’m a writer and she hadn’t read my books. So what are the chances that she would have called me by the name of my main character?

And speaking of coincidences, it’s no coincidence that I mentioned the dick print on my hotel window earlier in this post. Only a few days after we got home from that trip, I was over at my friend Chris’s place when he eyed me very seriously and said, “I hate to tell you this, but I’m afraid you have a stalker.” He pointed to the sidewalk outside their house. “There’s a dick on the sidewalk over there. It followed you all the way from Canmore.”

Sure enough, somebody had chalked a dick there. I just laughed and told him it hadn’t followed me; it had followed him. Not my problem, bucko.

But I spoke too soon. The very next day I stepped out of our house only to discover this:

It followed me home; can I keep it?

It followed me home; can I keep it?

I realize kids draw, er… unusual things… now and then, but I’ve lived here for sixteen years and this is the first time I’ve seen a dick drawn on our sidewalk. It’s so soon after my Canmore experience the coincidence seems ridiculously far-fetched. (Unless Chris has chalk dust on his fingers… hmmm…)

Am I really the only one? Please tell me somebody else has happened upon a sodden dead rodent on a suburban lawn, or something equally peculiar…

Retroactive Weirdness

This probably isn’t a revelation to anybody else, but I was a bit surprised this week when I realized the extent of my own weirdness.

I maintain a file of ideas and thought-snippets for my blog.  When something strikes me as odd or funny or disturbing, I pop it into the file.  Most of the 60 or so entries are only a sentence or two, and in the spirit of year-end cleanup I decided it was time to develop some of them into blog posts.

What’s more, I realized this post would fall on New Year’s Day.

“Well,” thought I, “What a fine opportunity to wrap up the year with a retrospective of some of the oddments I’ve discovered.”

Little did I know what a can of worms I was opening.  Here are a few of the items that amused me this year:

I discovered that it’s impossible to brush my teeth without making my nose wiggle.  And now that I’ve noticed it, it’s impossible to ignore.  I try, but I can’t look away.  Then I end up giggling and spluttering toothpaste everywhere.

I discovered that studies have been performed to determine how often people fart in a day.  That in itself tickled my funnybone, but when I found out that the testing apparatus included mylar underpants to trap and measure the emissions, I cracked up.  There’s just something hilarious about mylar underpants with a hose attached…

Also on that topic, I discovered that there is actually such a thing as fart-absorbing underwear with a built-in carbon filter.  It’s purported to control odour effectively, but there’s no word on how well it muffles the sound effects.  I guess you just have to blame the barking spiders for those.

And then there’s Poopourri, which, frankly, is right at the top of my “disturbing” list for many reasons, all of which are illustrated by this commercial.  Yes, this is actually a real product, and apparently it’s supposed to work.  I just… I got nothin’.

If you’ve managed to recover from that, here’s another goody I’ve been meaning to share with you, my poor suffering victims faithful readers:  In a small town named Torrington about an hour northeast of Calgary, there is a Gopher Hole Museum.  This museum consists entirely of dioramas containing dead, stuffed gophers dressed up and posed in various activities of human life.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out:  http://gopherholemuseum.ca/dioramas/  And yes, I went to see it, because it just had to be done.

Last but by no means least on the roster of weirdness, I discovered that it is apparently profitable to hoard food items long past the point where they are safe to consume or even possible to contemplate without gagging.  Yes, some guy sold a 20-year-old bottle of McDonald’s McJordan BBQ sauce for $10,000:  http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/10/17/an-anonymous-buyer-spent-10000-on-20-year-old-mcjordan-barbeque-sauce/

More to the point; some wack-job bought a 20-year-old bottle of McDonald’s McJordan BBQ sauce for $10,000.  One word:  Eeuwwww.

I guess I’d better go excavate under the couch cushions and see if I can find some fossilized potato-chip crumbs.  They’ve gotta be worth something.  Or maybe a half-squished piece of two-year-old popcorn that looks like the face of some religious icon…

Come on, ‘fess up!  Somewhere in the back of your cupboard, you’re hoarding a box of Kraft dinner from 1972 that’s worth at least a grand.  Right?  …Right…?

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I’m on the road this morning, so I’ll be back to reply to comments a little later in the day.  Talk to you soon!