The crazies in San Francisco attach to me. About a year ago, one crazy sidled up to an old woman at a bus stop who got the heebie jeebies and walked away. He, then, started edging toward me. I don’t know what was on his mind, but I decided to stand my ground, and mentally ward him off. He looked at me, our eyes met; he stopped in his tracks and started ranting about ‘big auras’ and how everybody should avoid people with ‘big auras’. The crazy took a wide berth around ME! So wide that he went into the street to avoid walking past me. Victory! Proof of my psychic abilities!
About a month ago, I bit the dust trying to avoid a different crazy who SCREAMED in pedestrians’ ears while waiting at the stoplight. By the half-mile mark, everybody else had dispersed. Just he and I were now walking in the same direction. He ducked into an alcove ahead of me and I was so worried that he was going to attack me, that I fell face first at the curb, and then detoured to finish my walk with bruised palms and bloody knees.
And lastly, today, a crazy (and these are never the same crazies) was at the stoplight as I disembarked from the bus. I thought he was a jogger taking a short rest. Until the light turned and he hopped off the curb, back onto the curb, off the curb, and then walked across the street hunched over. A lady with a stroller crossed paths with him and he stared her down, made an about-face, almost ran into another person, and decided to yell at him. I avoided beginning my mile trek walking near the paranoid crazy, and took a detour of about a block before coming back to the route.
At the end of today’s walk, almost home free, a homeless type (aka crazy), covered in a black blanket, passed two people without issue. However, an Asian woman walked by and he decided to walk over, yell in her ear, and say “but you just keep breeding”!
Maybe the moral of my story is to ride the bus. Just yesterday, I dropped my dollar bill on the floor and bent down to pick it up. The bus driver said, “Look at that. You’re still alive”.
Later, in the safety of a cube farm, drinking Peet’s in the kitchen, I broached the subject about how and why people hone in. Cause I get all the crazies. And African men.
What is it that makes certain people stand out? Are you one of those people too that others ask directions of? Who help old people get things from high shelves at the grocery? Get crazies talking to them? Are followed? What is the common denominator? What do normal and abnormal and downright scary people look for? Cause I need to make some adjustments.
We came up with a variety of reasons. They laughed at my “aura” reason and decided it’s because I talk to people who talk to me, though I did not talk to any of the people mentioned above. One woman is asked directions in foreign countries because, she deduced, she walks with purpose. One man is asked for money up to 4 times a day because, he concluded, he looks aimless.
And finally, the point. Or one of the points. Or do I have a point?
Big city dwellers have gotten so used to seeing the crazies that we don’t even really notice them anymore unless they’re threatening. Now that I live in Marin (you’re supposed to roll your eyes and say oooh…Marin!), have I just gotten used to suburbia, where the homeless are few and the beggars are clean? We do have a crazy in Novato. He picks up trash on the street every morning as I’m waiting for the bus. A Marin-approved (oooh…Marin!) version of crazy.
Has living in Marin (oooh…Marin!) dulled my senses? Am I no longer as aware and alert as I was in Oakland? Has my middle-aged vulnerability kicked in as I realize I could be a target without much means to defend myself? Or are there just more damn crazies than there used to be?
I miss Oakland. I only had to worry about getting shot there.
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