Monday, January 15, 2007

I'm Straight Trippin Boo

My mom has a saying. Where do sayings come from anyway? I’m pretty sure she got it from my grandma, but I’m just as sure my grandma didn’t start it. But if my grandmother heard it, that means it originated in Jamaica, which results in paradox because nothing good comes out of Jamaica. And who heard the saying, and thought, “Hell ya, that’s the one, that one right there.” Or in Jamaican, "Eryting airie , guan tek it down, me name Dylan, me spit hot fire!" In any case she has this saying. ‘When you see crazy coming cross the street’. See, you can already tell it’s Jamaican from its lack of grammatical correctness. It should say, “If, and when you should happen across an individual with any type of mental degradation or for that matter retardation, politely but firmly excuse yourself from said individual. In any case, this saying does exist and I definitely forgot about it when I was slyly lured into a conversation with a crazy individual. Let me Tarantino.

Waiting on a curb for a friend, minding my own business, which I would say is the best business to mind. I saw a crazy, slowly hobbling in my direction. Hm, perhaps that isn’t descriptive enough. The individual was female, brown trench coat (a crazy favorite). She had dirty sandy brown hair down to her shoulders graying at the temples, all thrown over her face. A grey pants she wore, of an indiscernible fabric. Probably not denim, I think I would remember if it were denim, and not like jogging pants, more dress like, it was definitely some type of cotton pant of some sort, the type a crazy would wear. She wasn’t slender, but not fat, you would never look at her and say that’s a fat person. All in all, probably in and around the 45-55 region. But it’s important to note, due to the lack of nutrition most crazy people get, they tend to look older. And when I said she was hobbling towards me? I lied. She pointed at me from about 30 meters away, and proceeded to approach me in a brisk walk.

I could only look on in puzzlement as this very stricken faced crazy (and probably homeless) woman approached me. At first I said to myself,

“No way in hell on this busy street she picked me.”

Shortly thereafter.

“(laughter) Ya, right, she is so not walking to me.”

Several seconds later.

“She’s looking right at me, I can’t believe this.”

Now this was enough for me to already think I’m in a classic case of wrong place at the wrong time. So I crouched down into my anti-rape stance I practice for just such an occasion.

When she reached me, I noticed she looked very confused, and on the verge of a mental breakdown. I’m thinking,

“So what, she should be used to them by now, this is going to make what, number eight?”

But all the jokes were done when we made eye contact. Looking straight into the pupils of someone on the edge is a harrowing experience, and things only became more serious when she asked me,

“Do you speak French?”

She didn’t have an accent, but now my conviction to her mental instability was being shaken. Could it be she’s not crazy at all? Did I have her pegged all wrong? And how did she know I spoke French!? This was bizarre. And I was more then a little frightened. I managed to swallow the lump in my throat. Nodded my head and squeaked out a barely discernable,


She raised her voice.

“Do you speak French!?” She demanded.

Damnit I was thinking to myself, she’s right, this isn’t the time for fear and cowardice. If I wanted my baby sucker I could find one in my memory box, along with various love letters, poems, valentine cards, and a movie stub from my first date. But now wasn’t that time, and I would be better to man up. I squinted my eyes, wet my lips and responded in an adult voice I could barely believe originated in my own chest cavity.

“Oui, Je parle la Français.”

She was taken back a bit, and looked at me with deep understanding, right into my soul. My very being, my very essence, and I realized with shock and a new wave of emotions that this person is not crazy.

“Where’s the school?” She asked me. She still wasn’t speaking French, but there must be a reason for this. It would be best if I continued in French I decided.

“Quelle école?” I asked.

“What?” She asked. Unbelievable she doesn’t speak French, maybe that was just a test of some sort.

“What school?” I repeated in English.

“The French school…”

Of course. But we’re in downtown Toronto. There are many schools. None of which I know, and none really close by.

“I don’t know of any French schools around here.”

“I need a school, a French school. WHERE IS THE FRENCH SCHOOL!?”

People were starting to look at our exchange and I could feel my cheeks get hot. From anger or being embarrassed I couldn’t tell which one was the more dominant feeling. Damn her, she IS crazy. This crazy woman played me like a fiddle. Entranced me in her magical aura and proceeded to fiddle away, glad enough just to have someone pay her a moments attention. I lean in and whisper,

“Listen,” I start my carefully worded reply. “I don’t know of any French school near here, and get the hell away from me.”

Again our eyes meet but I’m distracted by the smell of alcohol on her lips. She hobbles away. Or, was it a brisk walk? I should have crossed the street. But then again if I had, the whole conversation would never have happened. And I wouldn't now know that ever crazy person has magical eyes used to seduce other people into becoming crazy. That, and they make great bingo partners.