Am I a magnet for weird people? Answer that question carefully. I was just eating lunch, that’s all. Lots of people do that right? I was minding my own business-hovered over my laptop and not even looking up. A gentleman walks right up to me and says “Where’s Lost Dog?” and after a moment it dawns on me that I’m wearing a Lost Dog Café t-shirt. I told him there were several in the area, gave him the location of the closest and mentioned that their food is great. I then went back to my laptop, but the gentleman wasn’t going anywhere. “I’ve got six. Six dogs.”
And here is where I made my fatal mistake. I know better than to engage but he hit my sweet spot and before I knew it I was telling him I had four cats. “My six are all dachshunds. You know that kind of dog?” I nodded yes but in a very non-committal way. No dice. He was determined to continue to talk to me, and I would have been fine with that if he hadn’t started telling me a lively story about his dogs and the cats that foolishly wander into his yard. I knew where this was headed and I tried immediately to stop him.
Prince Charming continued to tell me the story, leading up to the dramatic moment, and I begged him to stop. He looked at my face and finally realized how upset I was, so he patted me on the arm and assured me the cat got away. OK, first of all, no touching. Secondly, why am I having an inane conversation with a stranger? I can have inane conversations with my loved ones if I’m in the mood for that kind of thing.
I finally told him I was on a tight deadline and really needed to get back to work. He patted me on the arm again, and the one time I’ve ever been grateful for a cell phone—his phone started ringing. He excused himself to take an important call. He looked at me with the can you excuse me look, and I gratefully waved him on and he left the restaurant.
If you stayed awake while reading this it might cross your mind that I actually have my own little space at the Writers’ Room in Tenleytown. I worked there quite peacefully for 1 hour and 58 minutes on a 2 hour metered space. Absolutely nowhere to move the car. It was lunchtime so I drove back down to Arlington and ate at a restaurant that has a good old free parking lot.
I have learned one thing. The next time I feel weirdness approaching, I no speaka the English.