Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just me and Crazy Maureen

I don't know if everyone else suffers the same fate as me, but I seem to be a magnet for the crazies and the lonely hearts. They can't get enough of me. They find me on the subway, in the grocery store, when I'm sitting alone and vulnerable at the reference desk, and, sadly, in my own apartment building. They tell me their life stories. They call me deary. They ask me home for a cuppa. They ask impertinent questions about my personal life. They ask me to explain embarrassing words or ideas to them. They chat, and chat, and chat.

If I just had this kind of magnetism with attractive, single, men, of an appropriate age and a particular mindset I'd be golden.

Anyway, Crazy Maureen and I have a special bond. We talk in the hallway. We talk in the parking lot. She stands at the back of my car chatting at me while I'm trying to pull out of the spot to go to work. We talk while she's running out to the garbage in her nightie. Or perhaps I should say that she talks, and I make polite sounds of agreement, encouragement, sympathy, or whatever other emotion seems called for.

Now, it is a well-known fact that she usually takes her laundry to a friends house. So usually the laundry room is a safe zone, a Maureen-free space. Alas, tonight, when I wandered in with a couple of loads to do, there she was. In all her glory. With tiny bits of ripped up kleenex covering her, the floor, the interior of the washer, and the top of a drier. I have never seen such tissue-based devastation.

Twenty minutes later her clothes were in the drier, mine were in the mostly tissue free washer, and she was still talking. Now, ordinarily I would have been feeling a bit impatient. A little peeved. Slightly annoyed. But then I thought about my new resolve to live a Slow life.

Slow? Well - a life not caught up in the need to rush, rush, rush, in order to gain, acquire, and take. A life of patience rather than rage, a life of slow cookers and whole foods rather than fast food. A life of simple pleasures rather than acquisitions and short term gratifications.

So I sat back, or leaned against the table, and listened, yet again, to the story. The same story I always hear. A story that was lovely, and sad, a romantic, the first time I heard it, but which has worn thin over the last two and a half years. But a story that this sad lonely woman needs to tell. So I sat and listened, and nodded and made sympathetic noises. And didn't feel at all impatient. Because really, what does it cost me to give her an ear for a few minutes?

So there you have it slow book club, a move towards patience for me.

But does anyone out there have a crazy/lonely hearts repellent?


Deranged Squirrel said...

Check you out! On the other end of the eccentric spectrum, one of my favourite customers came into the library today. This older gentleman once gave me a sonnet number to look up - he felt that it described the slowness of the internet well.

MadJenny said...

The old charmer!?!? He hasn't been in for about a year has he? I was worried he was no longer with us.

ru said...

trust me, if i had that sort of repellent, we wouldn't all be in the mess we are in!! (wink wink, nudge nudge)


MadJenny said...

Ain't that the truth!

If I find one, I will be sure to share it with you!

kidletsmum said...

What's the winking and nudging about ??? I wanna know! I wanna know!

I've always been a magnet too. Back on Eglinton I had many, many hours of time with my sad, lonely, and not all there building manager. Many hours.

MadJenny said...

Oh Kidletsmum. That is most definitely a story too big, and too bizarre for a comments section. And probably one best left not discussed in this public space.

I'm sorry to hear that you too have been plagued by a home crazy. They are almost the most inescapable kind of crazy there is!