Friday, September 22, 2006

"Open letters" are always a fun blog trope, so here goes.

Dear middle-aged crazy guy on Main Street Wednesday night,

I know we haven't been officially introduced, so I apologize if this letter seems somewhat forward. When you first saw me walking down the street, I was deeply engrossed in playing a game on my cell phone. For all you knew, I might have been typing an important text message, or about to make a phone call, but that's not important now. As I paused on my journey to get through a tricky part of the game, you took the opportunity to walk right up to me and say "hello," a greeting I returned in a tone of voice that was meant to convey "I am responding to be polite, but would rather our interaction not continue." My tone was lost on you, as you continued to stand there staring at me, and you said something I didn't catch -- maybe a name, like Adriana, or Angela -- I couldn't understand it so I ignored you, still staring at my phone. Despite my unwillingness to even make eye contact, you then gestured grandly at the door of the Quizno's, saying, "Would you care for a bite to eat?"

Here is where I made my error. I am going to be totally honest here, you were a little scary with the hovering and the social awkwardness, so to get you to bug off right away, I said "No!" in a tone that was meant to sound a little bit less snotty than it actually did.

After I darted right upstairs and re-emerged on the street 20 minutes later with my boyfriend, you must have seen me pass as you were leaving the Quizno's, bag in hand (I am glad you got right back on that horse and got yourself a tasty, toasty sub! Good for you!). I didn't see you, but I had no hard feelings, and truthfully felt a little bad about not being a little nicer to you. I felt bad, that is, until we walked half a block and a full container of soft drink exploded at my feet. You heard me yell, "What the fuck!?" and I'm pretty sure you heard "I think that was the guy who asked me to dinner!" as you hurried away from us, practically running across the street. Since you were too cowardly to turn around after you'd thrown your icy sugar-water bomb, I'll tell you that you successfully splashed soda all over my legs. Bravo.

Now, I accept responsibility for my inappropriately-crabby answer. And I am also very sympathetic for the mentally ill, so here is some advice. First, if you say hello to a total stranger and the person either doesn't answer, or answers but doesn't smile or really even look at you, it's best to simply move on. Second, when you get rebuffed, remember that there's always other fish in the sea. There's no need to get angry. You may feel disappointed, or frustrated. Try expressing your feelings by writing in a journal, say. Throwing soda is never, ever appropriate.

Listen, approaching strangers on the street is tricky business -- especially if you have anger issues -- so you should probably stick to other ways of enlarging your social circle. Talk to your case worker for some alternatives.

Very sincerely,

1 comment:

av said...

Can't believe that happened! You are so polite about how you express it. My blog post would be something like:

"Insane man harassed me on the street. When I rejected his invitation to dinner, he threw a full cup of soda at me which exploded on my legs. Fucking insane people need to be locked up! Kill them all! Die, die DIE! And here's my dry cleaning bill, bitch!"

Just kidding. I am not that mean. But it is very kind of you to understand the mentally ill part. He obviously has problems with boundaries. Probably why he went insane. Now I kid again. OK, end of my un-PC comment.

Just to clarify, I don't believe mentaly ill people should die or be locked up. They should be allowed to stay somewhere they can get care and help for free from the state, not be kicked out of such places wandering the street.