WEIRD PEOPLE EQUAL GREAT CONVERSATION
Never do I feel more privileged than being in the presence of someone seething about their ex. It’s not easy to explain why I enjoy it so much. A part of it is twisted humor. Easy to take their side in a bashing where the other side is not present, and easy to connect on the level of petty rage. It’s like going with a buddy to see his favorite team play a home game. Sure, I’ll root for this random team, and bash the opponent for no reason other than the fun of it.
Many subscribe to the practice of not talking bad about their ex. So nobly they strive, to remember only the good times. To avoid mad rants in public bars about the underlying disdain. When someone has zero reservations about letting it fly, they’re lemonade level refreshing. Carry on good sir or madam, carry on.
“That mother fucker. I caught him with another woman twice! I’m so much happier without him. Being divorced is great.” the hairs along my spine stand up, as I watch an angry faced woman take an impossibly long hard drag from her cigarette. The ash falls onto the bar, with her gaze far off in another place. I wipe the terror from my face, and prod her along.
“Was it only the infidelity? Or was there more?” I ask, feigning the type of curiosity that would suggest I didn’t already know the answer.
“Oh there was more!” my question snaps her back to reality, back to the bitterness of life. She continues to run as long as you feed her, like a jukebox that only plays the meanest breakup songs. There’s not much else going on. I can sip my beer and tolerate it for 20 or 30 minutes easy.
This enjoyment is not relegated to bars or lonely spinsters. Come one, come all, turn your weird light on so I can see. Some of the most legitimately interesting people I have met were homeless. Their openness so radical that conversing with them is like being in a different world.
There was Hillbilly, the 50 something alcoholic who ran with a crew of other homeless people who seemed content to follow his lead.
“Wanna see my tattoo? Ain’t nobody else got this tattoo.” he lifts his sleeve to showcase a Fred Flintstone piece with the inscription; Yabba Dabba Doo, I eat pussy too! There is no tattoo database, but I tend to agree with his claim that he is the sole owner of the design.
There was John, who insisted I check his ID to verify that it was in fact, his birthday. Fresh out of prison for manslaughter, he explained what happened.
John had been serving a few years, and when he got out, his best friend had entered into a romantic relationship with his mother. There was a confrontation involving a gun, a tussle, and John shot his friend dead. Ruined his relationship with mom, and sent him back to prison. Maybe I’d smoke crack too.
Or Cliff. Early forties and battling meth addiction for twenty. Lived with his dad close by where I was staying at the time. Also had a disease that damaged his nerves, causing him to make random erratic movements, further adding to his heir of strange. Met him while I worked at a pawn shop, then ran into him again at a tiny bar within walking distance of my apartment. He was the cook. He was paid poorly, and under the table. But he worked hard and took pride in his food.
We hung out a few times. Shot pool, listened to music and chatted it up while he puffed cigarettes and I guzzled wine. Cliff had lead a wild life, but was in his heart a staunch moralist. Despite his flaws, he tried incredibly hard. Even thanked me for hanging out with him, told me not many people gave him the time of day. People like him should know that just because people feel good about being boring, doesn’t mean you have to feel bad about being weird.
I can’t suggest others seek the company I sometimes keep. Tons of homeless people are crazy, man slaughterers might rob you or worse, and not everyone runs across many of these types in the first place. I worked in a pawn shop for a while. Just relaying some of the gems, and expressing my love for the conversations you end up in with the delinquents, the pleasantly weird, the crazies, and the down and outs.