Friday, April 13, 2007

Line up & place yer bets

All righty. Let's review what we've got. It is Friday the thirteenth. I... am Gerbil, attractor of All Things Bizarre. You know I'm in for it today. You just know it.

For those that have not truly experienced what it means to be Gerbil, I share a tale from my DC commuting days...

I worked in an office down on 20th & M, near the old glass-enclosed FCC building, where bomb threats were a weekly occurrence and people could not seem to grasp that evacuating to the sidewalk across the street wasn't the safest option ever... what with all that GLASS.

But anyway. There was a bookstore at 18th & I Street and I spent many a lunch hour in there, especially since the bus ride home was so long... better have a fresh book on hand! (I read really fast)

So one day, I'm walking through the aisles and there was a homeless man poring through a paperback as I approached. "Oh, excuse me," said politely, "Am I in the way?" "Not at all, thank you," I replied and THAT was the full conversation. I found a book & returned to work.

Later that evening... I'm heading out to catch the last bus home and start cruising up 20th street in my professional attire and sneakers (de rigeur for the DC commuting woman of the late 80s. Even if I looked like I was all of 15 at the time.). All of a sudden, who do I spy coming down 20th street in my direction? Why yes! It is Homeless Dude, he of the bookstore. What a coincidence, I've NEVER seen him around here...

And then he caught sight of me... and I kid you not, he dropped all of his plastic bags at once, DROPPED heavily to his knees, THREW his arms skyward and HOWLED:


me: "eep."

And all of a sudden, what had been a crowded street was utterly deserted as fellow commuters scattered, not wanting to be part of this potentially unpleasant scene.

Picking up his things again, the man trotted along beside me, chattering happily (again, I kid you not) about martians and nazca lines and the CIA and all that jazz, and I was thinking to myself "how does this HAPPEN??" when all of a sudden....

This woman came bolting (and I mean BOLTING) out of nowhere, grabbed me by the arm, started shaking me by it and shrieking "OMG, I haven't seen you in so LONG!! OMG, how are the kids, how's the DOG???"

Now... I don't have a dog. I don't know how this woman is. There's a large homeless guy talking about tinfoil hats* and I'm just this shy quiet kid from the suburbs and my brain is starting to overheat.

Now the woman is tugging on my arm and the homeless man said kindly "G'wan and walk with your friend, I'll see you tomorrow."

And as the strange woman led me away , she leaned over and growled in the scariest voice EVER... "RUN!!" And by now, I am totally freaked so I ran. She still has hold of my arm, too. But ladies and ge'men, I am running. Run, Forrest, run.

Finally, she looks back and says "ok, we can stop now" and it was only then I realized that this woman was bailing me out, even if she was scaring me into the bargain. With dizzy relief, I thanked her and resolved to have the guys at the office walk me to the bus stop for the next few weeks.

So uh, yeah. That's more on the intense end of things, but weirdness is standard fare around here.

I even had to start my day with assisting my very elderly gerbil... y'see, poor Indie is one antique rodent. And one of his teeth fell out, making it very hard for him to eat & gnaw. So I have to trim his remaining teeth and his diet is supplemented with baby food (I have to mark the jars so as not to mix up Gerbil with Jacob).

Apparently poor Indiana Scones (i told you all their names were puns) attempted to eat himself a big ol'... something. I don't know, it LOOKED like someone attempted to sneak him a Cheerio. Anyway. He got a hunk of it stuck in his mouth behind his teeth. Wedged. STUCK FAST as my late great-aunt would say... that gerbil was fast. And he couldn't shut his mouth, not could he now eat.

So it took me 15 minutes to gently extricate the thing from his maw, upon which the grateful rodent relaxed and in doing so, peed on me. Thanks, Indie. You're so welcome. (He's actually my coolest rodent. Extremely tame & friendly and likes to ride around on my shoulder.)

Weird? I got yer weird right here. Bring it on.

*in the 80s, DC decided that "you couldn't necessarily hospitalize the mentally ill against their wishes". This was primarily a cost-cutting measure and a great many mentally ill persons were turned out of long-term psychiatric care to live on the streets without any treatment at all. Mostly, these were the poor who had no insurance to begin with.


That Chick Over There said...

Only you.

Well, okay, and me.

But mostly, only you.

frannie said...

I think you and I might be soulmates. don't worry- I'm not homeless.

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

Nice of that "angel" to show up and rescue you.

I remember living near DC and then working down there. Boy, what fun THAT was. My mother ran me over at National Airport, I took a bullet in the face in Rockville, and don't even get me started on what happened in Georgetown.

Glad you are okay.

my4kids said...

I second Frannie, if only I could tell you all my stories but some are just to traumatic to boy.

HeatherAnn Fragglehead said...

Have I told you too often that you need to publish a book full of these little nuggets? I would buy it and treasure it always.

Catwoman said...

Yeah, you do seriously need to write a book.

From the sounds of it though, I think that woman sounded scarier than the crazy homeless man! I think I might have told her "oh, no thanks, I'm good right here!"

Glad that she did save you though!

And it makes me sad to know that if I told you we were soulmates, it would freak you out too. What with us never meeting and all and you being overly sensitive apparently.

canape said...

You make me snort more than any other person. That, my friend, is a good thing.

Soulmate indeed.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

You don't believe in soul mates? I suppose it didn't seem funny at that time but it sure sounds funny now. :)

Kyria said...

You write very well.