Sunday, August 13, 2006

Monkey torture

By and large, running errands one of the more boring ways to spend one's time. I hate it, actually. Picking up paper towels and dental floss? Not intellectually stimulating. Stocking up on Drano so that I can unclog my tub? Less than scintillating. However, teeth must be flossed and tubs must be unclogged, or we will soon find ourselves in a messy and stinky world, dear readers.

Luckily, those of us who live in a capitalist society can deal with this mundane aspect of human existence by engaging in the time-honored tradition of one-stop shopping. Target is one of my favorite places on earth; I'd happily live in its West Hollywood location if the rent was fair. Then again, it's best if I don't visit too often. Target is one of those stores where you run in to buy one thing, but you leave with $100 worth of stuff. I'm better off going to the drugstore in my neighborhood, which is pretty big and very well stocked, as if Target, Ace Hardware and Albertson's had a love child. Liquor store in front, pharmacy out back, and open 24 hours; slap some Greek letters above the front door and you've got a frat house. Well, a frat house that sells Shoebox greeting cards and feminine supplies.

A few months ago, I stopped by the drugstore after work to get a refill on a prescription. I decided I'd wait the 15 minutes or so that the pharmacist would take to fill it, so I started wandering around, picking up batteries, hair spray and a bottle of my favorite wine. As I walked down the deodorant aisle, I noticed a small, thin, elderly woman walking towards me. She had short white hair, and was wearing sweatpants, sandals (with socks), a pajama top and a knit cap. She walked with short, jerky steps, and stared at the floor.

She was definitely strange, but not the strangest person I've ever seen since moving to Los Angeles; not by a long shot. I paid her no mind and kept shopping. Readers, what happened next happened so fast that I had zero time to react.

This woman walked right up to me, stopped dead in her tracks, looked up from the floor and stared at me. Before I could say anything, she started jumping up and down, jerking her limbs all over the place and spitting at me.

"Pffffffffffftttttttt!" Picture a chimpanzee getting electric shocks. Yours Truly was freaked out, and getting sprayed with a total stranger's saliva to boot. I heard somebody shriek; it was me. "Jesus, lady!" I jumped back. "What is wrong with you??" Can't a woman pick up some deodorant without being spat upon? Do I demand too much?

Monkey Lady seemed to think so. "Pffffffffffftttttttt." She had stopped jumping but was vigorously shaking her head from side to side, still spitting. I might have been the one who had stopped by to pick up a prescription, but she was the one who needed meds. Unfortunately, the drugstore didn't stock tranquilizer darts.

"Okay, lady, that's enough," I said. "Go away now."

Monkey Lady stopped spitting, got quiet, and stared at the floor again. "Oh, sure," she mumbled, seemingly to no one, "I'm the one with the problem." She seemed rooted to the floor.

"You're the one who's spitting," I said, turning to walk away. "Leave me alone."

"I'm the one with the problem," she muttered, hitting my left shoulder as she suddenly jerked forward and shoved past me. "I'm the one with the problem."

Well, at least we agreed on that point. The irony was not lost on me as I got back in line at the pharmacy to pick up my medication.

12 Comments:

Blogger fueltank said...

Well, it could have been worse... she could have been throwing cats at you.

The article from the NY has been quite ahit with a select number of my friends, FM's all.

Did I ever tell you about the time this kid came up to me at the train station in Copenhagen and sat down, ready to make a new friend? Turns out ( after quite a conversation) he had just escaped from jail.

I know how you feel.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My uncle has severe schizophrenia. He has done similarly bizarre things at times when he was not taking his "tranquilizer darts". Don't worry. He doesn't live in the states.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a menagerie you encounter! One week a woman going bananas &
monkeying around, another week
it's a madcow! You can say "it's a jungle out there" with absolute certainity!
LipstickLibrarian

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