confessions of a professional freak magnet

(*names have been changed to protect the drunk and the innocent*)

so did ya ever have one of these things?

like the sort of things that many -many years ago used to happened to me ALL the time but haven’t too much in more recent years- mostly because I ‘don’t get around much anymore’ (maybe)

…like the kind of thing that happened a week ago yesterday when my friend *tigerlily and I decided to step out over the threshold of quarantineland and test the waters of life as we knew it before the apocalypse. like the kinda thing that happened when we went out…like outside with other people nearby-ish and everything.

on that night we walked around Main Street in the town where I live.

it’s changed quite bit over the last few years -evolving from a near ghost town when mom and pop shop owners were driven away- casualties of rising rents. but now that their skeleton bones have been properly swept up erasing their very existence the area is blooming and becoming a regular hipster central. the four or so long blocks that make up the most concentrated part of the main Main street are filled with places to alternately sample fancy ass coffee and lattes- modish meals- hear some live music-get tattooed- pierced-hammered- whatever your heart may desire it’s all pretty much there. sounds fun-right? right.

fun

/fən/

noun

  • 1.enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure:
  • “the children were having fun in the play area (really now? were they? hmmmmm)

who hates fun?

not i

not tigerlily

we both like to have fun and like to have it together so shoot us. yep we decided to toss the dice and venture out into the wilderness what could possibly go wrong?

we went here:

but not ‘here’ as in here inside because we’re not stupid. we went to behind ‘here’ to the designated place out back with adequate space to distance little tables for small groups to sit together yet apart- because- if you’ve got a shred a smarts- you know that’s how it has to be now.

so yea- thumbs up to said place out back- facing a scenic—–parking lot- not that i’m complainin’ – i mean yes i like to have fun but would rather not die as the result of -because that would suck.

so aaaannnnnyway…..on this particular summer night being outside was okay despite the temp being a bit too warm we had the good fortune of an occasional coolish breeze while we sat at one of those…

….oh wait I gotta backtrack a little- it’s relevant- i promise. before we arrived at our destination there was a little incident. while tigerlily and i were walking to over to the place i fell. on the ground. generally i’m just your average run of mill klutz who trips over air but this time it wasn’t my fault.

waaaaahhhhh!!!! no really- it wasn’t.

i kinda stepped into a teeny tiny divot and tumbled onto the concrete sidewalk –

it wasn’t me- anyone would have missed it

oh c’mon you know you would have too.

but not until we sat and i surveyed my damages did i realize i was bleeding from a 2″ surface cut right where my ankle meets the top of my foot.

an adorably masked waitress took our drink orders. seeing i was hurt she soon returned with a wet paper napkin to wipe the blood away and promised to be right back with our adult beverages

tigerlily and i examined the evidence of my calamity BUT we weren’t alone. from the little courtyard type thing a woman sitting solo at another table called over

‘what happened?

tigerlily: ‘she fell’

the more or less drunk ass lady motioned- giving us the universal signal for may I approach/join you and without actually confirming it was okay- plastic cup drink in hand came forward and sat at separate table facing us- she put her drink down and knelt in front of me

stranger lady; ‘are you okay? lemme see- i’m a doctor’

me”‘oh yea? what kind of medicine do you practice?’

‘oncology’

‘oh no go away we don’t need you here’ ( laughing and make light so she’s know we were joking)’

un-masked lady starts prodding my foot and manipulating my ankle -you know…like you’d figure any doctor to do- we’ve all seen this is protocol on a number of episodes of doogie howser md- yea I love me nph– i’m a big himym fan and he was remarkable in hedwig too but that’s besides the point…(you must have noticed by now I sidetrack…a lot)

me: no no it’s okay- don’t touch me- i didn’t shave my legs’

i also just didn’t want this stranger so close- unprotected and touching me even- there is a deadly health crisis out here ‘doctor’- haven’t you heard?

she sat back down at her own table searching through here bag for a light with a fresh newport cigarette between her lips.

waitress melanie reappears and hands our drinks to us- tigerlily a martini- me a cranberry and coconut flavored rum concoction. doctor lady…we’ll call her evangeline says to melody ‘i got this’

‘no’

‘no no no noooo’

we’d just met…not even met … just spoken to this woman and she’s buying our drinks?!?!!!

okay… so we drink we chit chat a little and she gets up to go to the restroom.

at the same time t and i say to each other ‘she’s wearing a wig’ and we kind of giggle. yea it was a nice wig- it looked good on her too- cute color- style etc but it was pretty obvi it was not her natural hair. and a wig in this heat? that shoulda been our first clue to her craziness. in her absence we talk. y’know like people who actually know one another do. just a short spurts on topics about kids…spouses… jobs.

evie comes back- having taken longer than it should to use the facilities. she fixes her lipstick…finger combs her…uh…hairy hat and then she checks her phone. gets cup refilled and decides to tell us a little about herself sparing no detail. an elaborately spun take on how she is seeing all kinds of patients who are sick at Weill Cornell (she aimed high) where she works and is only a short walk from her four bedroom apartment on the upper east side. of course that’s only one of her apartments she also has one in brooklyn heights in another luxury building…wow what a life..I guess she can afford to pay for our two moderately prices drinks after all.

and then….

she starts getting all kinds of personal with us. she explains she’s come from her boyfriend’s closeby apartment where he unceremoniously kicked her out that afternoon. something about leaving her shoes by the bathroom floor and ‘this isn’t a f*ckn hotel’

from there she really opened up.

gee i don’t recall either of us asking her dump out her tampon box of problems.

she turned into a real chatterbox repeating several times she’s 62 years old and it isn’t easy to find someone at that age-lamenting she has to make concessions on account of it.

i have to admit she looked good for 62 and commented to her that she has beautiful skin. she does. all smooth and dewy- she told us her beauty secret is a regime of noxema her ‘whole life’. she was dressed nice too -all in all well put together but there was something terribly wrong and sad about her.

she went on and on flipping the f word like she was a short order cook making short stacks like they’re going out of town… jabbering about every random thing- about the boyfriend’s gay son who happens to work at the place where we are though is ‘not working today’ how the son loves her because she is the only parental representation in his life who accepts his gayness- his father/evie’s boyfriend has shunned him and his mother is a psycho and she’s invited sonnyboy to move in with her in the four bedroom brownstone…blah blah blah… she also tells us that melanie is her own son’s best friend and as we talk we see the waitstaff is circulating around her to make sure she’s okay… patting her back and refilling her cup…it’s clear she is a regular at this bar.

she goes on and on about all kinds of shit i wouldn’t tell someone unless i was very close to them. the cherry was how the boyfriend took another woman on jaunt to paris but spent each intimate moment with the other woman visualizing evie.

she told us she stalked that frenchtrip woman- we’ll call her alodie- purely to let her know when bf is making love to her it’s evie he’s picturing.

tmi

t freakin m i

oh. my. god. my head was reeling.

honestly

t and i were like okay it’s time to change this uncomfortable too intimate subject

tigerlily starts asking her what she thinks the outcome of this virus will bring and ev is causally answering -she’s offering her ‘qualified’ opinion but not really saying anything that sounds medical. it sounds identical to stuff i’ve heard from the everyperson with a few f*ckings put in there for emphasis. very professional -exactly how my own doctor speaks when he’s talking with me. yea I know this wasn’t an office visit but something just didn’t fit…know what i mean?

I think- okay it’s time to get real.

me: so are you a surgeon?’

she (remarkably earnest) : yes

i thought to myself…holy crap maybe she really believes what she’s telling us

she was all over the place about it and nothing really jived.

then i guess she got tired of all the shop talk and flipped the switch…new topic.

‘you know i’m wearing a wig’

with feigned expression in unison ‘no way!’

‘yea I have lots of them- all kinds of colors and styles’

‘really?’ (the devil you say)

‘yea. you wanna try it on?’

really doctor? um…pandemic- remember?

but who wants to talk about boring medicine- she takes the wig and offers it to tigerlily- and all hell broke lose. I could barely stifle my laughter at the ridiculousness of this whole thing.

i remembered then that i’ve always been a freak magnet. always. every imaginable kook seems to feel drawn to me..boy i got a million stories but…let’s just stick with is one for now.

so there we were with the wig and drinks and everything having a grand time like old friends aaaaand she wants to go back to talking about the boyfriend. she tells us he’s brilliant ( i later discovered that to be a favorite adjective of hers)

‘he’s an engineer- a brilliant one’

me: what kind?

‘civil…mechanical….electrical…’

‘all of those?!’

‘yes- he’s brilliant’ (these are all true words- I swear)

this lady’s screws are definitely loose but all seemed relatively harmless. we both felt she’s just a lonely largely ignored woman.

and thennnn she tell us she has to go back to his apartment and get her things even though she knows he’s furious with her over some thing or another- the shoes or whatever. of course both tigerlily and i are concerned because she’s fully hammered at this point. and we offer her backup

‘do you need us to go with you- will it be okay when you get there?’

‘i’m okay’

‘you sure’

‘yes’

la la la la laaaaaaaaaa

she revisits protesting the alodie situation and because she has this weird emotional investment with the waitress/staff et al she goes off into a conversation with them about it (probably for the 100th or so time). and so with a second or two for us to evaluate and talk exclusively we realize it occurs to both t and me that maybe the bf kicked her out because alodie is not really his thing on the side maybe she’s his wife and evie is the thing on the side. maybe bf had to get her out of the before wifey got home. I mean maybe…it kinda makes things more logical but on the whole it was really so bizarre one can only guess. whatever the reason- boyfriend has been treating ev like shit more aggressively lately and she had enough..or so she said. i do believe she has moments when she means it but then…he calls.

me: you know this doesn’t sound like a good thing for you- it seems very emotionally unhealthy. you need to be strong enough to extract yourself from this bad situation- stop answering his texts and jumping to see him on his every whim. honestly evie are you getting anything out of this relationship that is good for you? nothing about this sounds like it makes you happy.

evie: it doesn’t i need to get him out of my life

‘you’re a smart woman- you’re an oncological surgeon for god’s sake!’ it’s time for you to take control of your life.and you know? 62 years or 22 or 82 you have a lot of offer someone- look at you- you’re beautiful you’re intelligent- you’re witty- and you’re worthy. you deserve much more than someone who abuses and takes advantage of you. come on evangeline -take charge!’

and i meant it- crackpot or not this was a person with feelings. both tigerlily and i felt alternately heartbroken and angry for her.

she came toward me ‘you’re brilliant- thank you’

it was around this time when t and i were wondering how we were going to get away from this woman. we’d been sitting with her for close to three hours going around in circles. she reiterating -he is a dirtbag who she happens to love and is addicted to and there’s the matter of alodie and saying she needed to go get her things and us talking her up and asking if she needed help. truthfully i was worried about her walking anywhere she did not seem too steady on her feet- the thought of her crossing a trafficked street made me anxious but she insisted she was alright. she said he’d be sleeping – she’d get her stuff on uber on home.

t and i both suspected an altogether different scene might turn up but she was resolute and really was this our responsibility?

no- i guess not.

we gathered and took a quick picture on her phone to commemorate our chance meeting and exchanged numbers so she could text us the image.

(not really us)

ev called for the check and though we again said no thanks – she wrote the bill off on a credit card. ‘therapy repayment ‘ she said.

man she was just sooooo grateful she met us…we agreed to do this again sometime if she was ever in the area because that’s what people do- right? (yikes) she put her hand on tigerlily’s face and then she hugged me! before I could put my hand out to shield her cooties …and yes a part of me is freaking out about it and will for the next 6 days which will make it two weeks since this little interlude happened.

of course i went home and did an extensive reverse phone number search to find out who we were really talking to because i’m a new yorker…you know us…. cynical…paranoid…and as i suspected nope no doctor just an ordinary mortal woman who does actually happen to live in brooklyn…fancy that?

…and the next day just when i was wondering if any of that really happened I get this

so yea i guess it did. long story longer…there were one or two more texts during the week- hey i have a new best friend. i do hope she’s well and sometimes happy-ish.

did I mention I’m a freak magnet?

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