So I’m minding my own business, grabbing a Diet Coke from the BBQ chicken shop, when I’m accosted by a sandwich-short-of-a-picnic person. My suburb doesn’t usually run to those. It’s more of a cranky old lady place. I’m also accustomed to being able to spot my crazy people a mile off. It was part of the job description when I worked a block from the McDonalds mecca of mental illness in the city. I must be off my game after two months at home. This one caught me completely unawares. She was dressed normally. Her make-up was unremarkably applied (perhaps a little heavy with the blue eyeshadow, but quite neat). The way she suddenly appeared, out of nowhere, as I was reaching for a straw, was the only red flag.
“You’re very beautiful,” she announced. (Second red flag!)
“Oh, ah, thanks,” I replied, wondering if she was going to try and sell me Avon.
“We look so alike, don’t you think?”
Uh yeah, we could be twins. Except you’re of an olive-skinned Greekish extraction with a manic smile and I’m a dour, pale redhead. “Ah …”
“The hair!” she explained, noting my confusion.
“Ohhh! Long and curly. Very similar, yes.”
Eager to enjoy my Diet Coke in peace, I started edging away. But she wasn’t giving up.
“Are you married?”
“Um, yes, I am. In fact, I’m going home to him right now.” I’m not sure why I said this, except that I had this irrational fear she might propose. Or abduct me. Or both. Best in these situations to make it clear that someone is expecting you and will call the police if you don’t turn up.
“Do you have any kids?”
“Er, yes, two.” But please don’t abduct them either.
“Oh, you are so lucky. I’m 37 and I don’t have any kids.”
“Well I was 39 when I had my last one, so there’s plenty of time.” If you hurry up and get medicated.
“Really! That’s fantastic! I’d love to have kids. You’re so lucky.”
“I am. Thank you. Well, have a lovely day!”
And I hightailed it home, with one brief glance over my shoulder to check I wasn’t being followed.
When I mentioned meeting an “odd” person at the BBQ chicken shop to another school mum, she nodded. “Oh, her! She’s always around. She likes to dance with kids outside the cafes. At least she’s friendly, not like the other one.”
The other one?
Actually, now I come to think of it, there’s a third – friendly, male – one who accosts me when I’m getting the freebie weekly newspaper off the front lawn in my Pjs. Nothing I like better at 6am than an inane chat while wearing holey flannelette and bed hair.
But maybe I should introduce the friendly ones to each other, they could be very happy together.
TONIGHT’S MENU: Spag bol (I’d include a recipe, but does anyone really need another spag bol recipe?)