Obviously crazy people [B5 – 14 October 2005]

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Maybe I’m repressed but I don’t like to socially interact with people when I’m eliminating waste from my body.

First rule of men’s rooms: men don’t talk to each other, or acknowledge each other, unless they’re on equal footing. And even then, the topics of conversation are quite limited. And really, only at a urinal. If someone’s in a stall they might as well not be there.

I’m at the gym, in a stall (see above), and a guy gets in the stall next to me. Loudly calls out something that just doesn’t register with me. Because I’m in a stall. I’m invisible, or should be.

He repeats it, and I make out his words: “Hey, do you know when the Notre Dame game is on tonight?”

It takes me several minutes to process, as I wait for his buddy or whoever to respond. When no one does, it dawns on me that HE’S TALKING TO ME.

“No, sorry. I have no idea.” Is this appropriate conversation for strangers that are supposed to be invisible to each other? Is this guy crazy? Wait, sorry, all humans are crazy, so of course the answer is yes, but it’s the wrong question. Is he one of the obviously crazy people? Evidence is collecting, and signs are starting to point to “yes, yes he is, get out now.”

“That is going to be the game” he continues. I fall silent, because, well, there’s really no response to this, for all the reasons I stated above, plus the fact that I simply don’t care about college football.

We both fall silent for a bit. Then I hear ringtones, ringtones that are playing Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”.

And the guy answers the phone.

More evidence.

He chats with the caller, while sitting on the pot. I’m even more stunned, but also… I’m thinking I should flush the toilet or make some noises in an effort to call attention to the guy’s location. Y’know, to alert whoever is stupid enough to chat with this obviously crazy person that he’s obviously crazy.

The guy tries again to find out when this Notre Dame game is, and from the one side of the conversation that I can’t avoid hearing it’s clear that this game is not taking place tonight, or at least the person on the other end believes that adamantly. The guy is not entirely convinced, but then tries to get the person he’s talking to to go to Montana with him next week. The dangers of being alone in the vast open spaces of Montana with this insanely unsocialized man are apparent, though, and the other person declines. The conversation ends.

My services in noisemaking turned out not to be needed. The other person is safe for the moment. I am still in inadvertent contact with this guy. And the final piece of evidence is revealed.

Because the guy starts muttering under his breath.

It’s a Popeye kind of muttering, where I can’t make out all the words. It’s practically Tourette’s Syndrome muttering (Tourette’s is not always curse words; sometimes it’s just pre-verbal sounds, or even tics and gestures, at least that’s my understanding), but one word in about 5 or 6 floats out; I make out “dingbat” and “dickhead” mixed in with the inarticulate grunts and chuckles. I see that he stands up, all the while muttering, and finally he breaks into a bit of sing-song muttering, with a rhythm, or at least a cadence. And then, he’s gone.