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Reading is fun

You must be from the East Coast
by Eve
Thursday, October 9, 2003

if there's some regional accent and they find you are from within 500 miles too, then immediately the accent gets thicker...

I have a kind of reputation among my friends for attracting the pathetic, misguided, and crazy. Not only as potential mates but just walking down the street these folks tend to seek me out. I don't know why, but it happens every day. Really. Every day.

Friday night I came home from a movie and proceeded to drink myself close to oblivion. Great movie; lousy company. At about midnight I figured it was a good time to take the dog for a walk as he'd been asking politely since I returned at 10. We weren't going far (due to my blood alcohol content limiting long duration Anything); just down to the park, about ˝ a city block away. As it was late I decided to treat the dog and go leashless (!),which The Boy (the dog) loves and generally finds is worth the wait. We were cruising through the park and I noticed a pedestrian on the other side of the park across the street heading into the park.

My dog can be fairly unpredictable if surprised or if something or someone comes between us (unpredictable, like runs away or just barks a lot) so I walked toward him (TheBoy) with leash in hand ready to tether him to my side.

Not to be. Thwarted, was my attempt, by the strange man out walking alone at midnight in a residential neighborhood, by what I know to be a ‘men's rooming house'.

“Do you have a pencil?” he yelled across the park.
“Oh, no way”, I'm thinking.
“No” is what I say as he comes closer.

“Where the Hell is my dog…” I think, as he (The Boy) comes trotting up, dead bird in mouth, stinking of the long dead, “some protector” I think as he trots over to the guy. My dog is not the best judge of character contrary to the conventional wisdom about dogs.
“I just need a pencil because I don't want to forget this phone number”.

He looks kind of like Gallagher or a young Weird Al, with a lot of curly, product laden, long hair. The strange thing is, he looks totally normal, which is completely out of place. Striped shirt, grey ‘slacks', black leather belt with chrome. Who wears this stuff here? Nobody, that's who.

All he was missing was the briefcase, which, I guess, if he'd had, he wouldn't need to ask me for a pencil. A pencil? Not a cell phone or even a PEN? Whatever. Let's move on.

“No, sorry”, I say holding out the several ‘doggie bags' I'd brought along, “just these”.
“You must be from the East Coast”, he says.
I'm confused. A sure ‘in' for the guy to make conversation.

‘Because I carry plastic bags?', I'm thinking.

“I can tell that accent a mile away”.

I've lived away from the East Coast for 15 years and sometimes my own family says I have a strange accent now, but not an East Coast accent.

“Me too! I'm from Connecticut.”, him.

There is some strange phenomenon about people…I don't know if it happens only with East Coasters or what…maybe southerners do it too, or Texans, or Californians, but if there's some regional accent and they find you are from within 500 miles too, then immediately the accent gets thicker. People are so funny.

I know, even in my state of High Buzz, that here is a person I don't really want to have a conversation with. There are times when I will talk to anyone just to hear about another side of life but this night was not the night. So. This guy. What we know is that he needs a pencil, he is suspiciously close to a ‘men's boarding house', he is inappropriately dressed, and he is from Connecticut. Then he starts petting my dog. Stinky dog , all dead bird smelling dog. This plants him in my mind as a freak. Should this endear me to him? I just can't do it; feel compassion for this guy. I could very easily (5 houses away) go get a pencil (a Pencil??). But I just didn't feel like it, so I blew him off, in my own way.

My latest attempt at dissuading people from talking to me is to drop in some totally off the wall non-sequitor to throw them off guard so that they think I'm even freakier than they are.

So I said “ Have you noticed the quality of light at sunset lately? It's like those pre-Raphaelite paintings of the nymphs in the forest.” A poor choice of words perhaps, since I know very little about art and even less about Raphaelite lighting. But it sounded good at the time.

“Wow. Are you from Vermont?”- Gallagher/ Weird Al.

Apparently there is a lot of pre-Raphaelite light happening in Vermont. It was all I could do not to laugh, but one must persevere in these situations. Alas, what to do? Lie.

“Yes. And I'm actually leaving tomorrow to go back. Do you have a message for anyone? I'm going through Connecticut.”

He stammered! He flailed! He looked for a way to get out of this conversation!

“Um, no…no…thanks…”

Sweet Victory was mine.

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