Friday, August 06, 2004

Choose Me!

Every once in a while (not as often as you'd think), a mentally ill person will walk in the store and cause a little scene. They're usually harmless. They just need to get something off their chest.

Tonight, it was a white haired older man with a ball cap, with a recent but healing gash on his cheek, who's been in before. He was talking as he was walking in and pointing at books, and as he got closer I could make out, "Today, people are buying these books. This one...and this one...and this orange one..."

It reminded me of that story on This American Life, where a stranger on a subway platform, who's obviously a little off, is pointing at every person and saying whether or not they can stay or go. The narrator of the story talks about how when a stranger talks to you, it's imbued with a special kind of importance. Even if the stranger is crazy. The narrator desperately wanted to be told he could stay.

I wondered if the person in the store would point at me. Are people buying me today?


jayfish said...

maybe you could post his "bestseller" list?

Rachel said...

Damn! You know, I wasn't even paying attention to the specific books he was pointing to. I need to work on those observation skills.

tim boucher said...

i find that crazy strangers are always the most knowledgeable of all strangers

prettyminotaur said...

he is my favorite crazy stranger ever.