21 September 2006

Close Encounters of the Crazy Kind

And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice, that's my only advice
Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control
- Gnarls Barkley

The one thing about living in a city as big as London is that you encounter Crazy on a regular basis.
You get used to people in strange outfits (are the fashionable or insane?), to people shouting at the voices in their head (is he announcing something? nope, arguing with his dead mother), and, my personal favourite, laughing at jokes on street corners when no one else is around.

After a while and it begins to blend into the background.

Crazy can take all shapes and forms and can exist in varying degrees. On the more extreme end, there is the guy who spends the whole bus ride whispering secrets to his newspaper and laughing silently to himself. On the less obvious, but more creepy end, there is the guy who insists on sitting next to you on the almost empty Tube carriage (I got up and moved to the other end).

You learn the rules for dealing with Crazy.

  • Do not, for any reason, engage with Crazy on any level. Keep an eye on Crazy but do NOT make eye contact.
  • Ignore Crazy as much as possible. Act like Crazy's behaviour does not affect you. That Crazy, is in in-fact behaving in a perfectly normal manner.
  • If Crazy attempts to engage with you the best thing to do is to move away as quickly. If you can put someone else in front of you to deal with Crazy instead this is good. Do throw strangers under that bus.
  • Whatever you do, DO NOT MAKE A SCENE. Crazy loves a scene.
However, knowing all these rules was no help for me today. Today, I had my ultimate Crazy encounter and sadly, I didn't even see it coming...even though I had been warned it might happen.

A few months back, a colleague came back to the office telling tales of walking down the Strand when a crazy little toothless lady had grabbed her arm/hip area. Just a quick grab.
We all thought, "How bizarre! She didn't talk to you or try to steal from you or anything?" Nope. She just kinda goosed her lightly on her hip and then moved away. Crazy old loon.

Fast forward to this morning. I am walking down the Strand, reading email on my phone (yes I am a nerd) and I kind of half notice a white-haired toothless lady standing near the bus stop. She has rainbow striped, fingerless gloves on and looks to be a harmless old biddy. I think nothing of it. I keep reading my mail. I am distracted and I forget that I have been warned. I quickly remembered when...


I was so shocked I nearly jumped out of my skin.

The people behind me were shocked too! I bet we were a sight to see! All three non-Crazies staring open-mouthed at Crazy and realizing that none of us had seen that coming.

Pervy old loon.

Score one for Crazy.


Cherry Ride said...

A lot of people would consider themselves lucky to get that kind of action, no matter who/where it is from.

And Yay - Flickr!

Prashant Sridharan said...

It's not just big, real cities that have crazy people. The Pacific Northwest is known far and wide for its concentration of completely fucking insane nutjobs. Because this is a far off land that no one in their right mind gives a shit about, all the people not in their right mind come here to roost.

My technique is to act crazier. If someone yells at me on the boss, I calmly remove my iPod earbuds, remove my sunglasses, and tell them to shut the fuck up. Someone grabbed me once and I turned around, grabbed their hand, bent their thumb back, and told them that if they ever did it again I would break their hand. One small, skinny dude tried to pick a fight with me to which I could only reply, "Dude, seriously. You want to do this?" He backed off.

All of that said, I'm a pretty big and muscular guy who always rides the bus with an iPod and dark sunglasses...not many folks even talk to me.

Which is just the way I like it.

Anonymous said...

Be cautious when catagorizing strange behaviors as "crazy", Kate, Remember, your own personal mother often talks to other autos as she drives. Sometimes in a very animated manner.

Katie in the UK said...

I like that you call it "talks" to other drivers, mom. "Violently insults" would, be a better description. :-)

And for the record, I do call it crazy. But I have also been called crazy because I do it too!

darci said...

true dat Cherry ride, true dat. Proper