Chatting with my little sister, it turned out she didn’t know I am a magnet for strangers. I don’t know what it is but strangers like to open up to me. Some are fairly normal but the majority of people who I have encountered are completely bonkers.
I recalled a rather brief version of the list of the people that had made an impression on me to my sister. She had no clue what I was chatting about. She’s a good 13 years younger than me, so chances are I tried my best to shield her from my kooky encounters so she didn’t worry.
As I regaled her with gems such as the 70-year-old Casanova at the bus station and the adult lady with the doll, mostly, she believed me. I don’t think she understood how strange these fleeting meetings were. That was soon to change.
A fortnight later, we were together, just dawdling between shops when a woman came up to us. Probably mid to late 50s, hair a bit tussled, and she was limping. I tried not to make eye contact; she had looked right at me. Something made me think as soon as I saw her that she would end up on my list of strangers and she has.
I could see her walking towards us, two, maybe three shops away and she had the determined look of someone with a story to tell me.
‘Hello! I have broken my ankle!’ She winced.
‘Have you? Do you need me to call you an ambulance or a taxi or anything?’
‘Oh no, I did it weeks ago. Been up to the hospital and all. I’ve had my leg bandaged up for ages. Got it off today,’ there was probably more, she rattled her words off like gunfire. And like gunfire, it got louder, more aggressive and hard to distinguish one noise from the next.
‘I’m sure you’re glad to get out and about then,’ I sidestepped away from her.
‘Oh yes. I am. I’ll tell you how I did it. You’ll laugh. I was just moving from my house to a bungalow. Moving out the very next day and I fell down the stairs. The stairs? And I was moving to a bungalow the next day!’
I nervously laughed and glared at my sister who was saying nothing at all.
‘That is bad luck. You best get in and rest that leg again.’
‘Oh no, no, no. I’ve had enough of rest! I have been stuck in the house for weeks! It is killing me today,’ she took a deep breath so as to launch into another story, or maybe more of the same.
‘Anyway, I must get on. You get home and put that leg up,’ I power-walked away, clutching my sister’s arm.
‘Who was that?’ She said.
‘I don’t frigging know. That’s what I’ve been telling you. People just talk to me.’ She laughed and laughed, then laughed some more. Once we’d established that I had never met the woman once, my sister was a bit worried.
I reassured her that this had been happening to me all my life. The universe would send these people my way to unleash their internal monologue and then go about their lives again.
There are many noteworthy meetings that I can remember. There are so many more that, for some reason, I have forgotten. Friends often relay to me stories I have told them and I just shake my head without the slightest recognition.
This little blog is to help me to never forget the weirdness of those strangers I’ve met and those I am yet to meet.