Monday, February 05, 2007

A "scientific" analysis of freak-magnetude

Some dude has a humorous approach to the whole freak magnet phenomenon. Maybe he can explain why I once got an email from a reader calling me a "vortex of magnetic energy." Says he:

A freak magnet, at least according to those who claim to be one, is someone with an unnatural ability to attract crazy people. You’re likely to dismiss the ‘freak magnet’ phenomenon as a bunch of cat ladies bragging about how much attention they get - namely because they go out of their way to get the attention. We all know girls ( and, let’s be honest, it’s always girls*) who go out of their way to make eye contact with men only to pretend surprise when the men talk to them. The uglier the girl, the lower she will go. I have one friend who makes eye contact with a homeless guy that smells like urine and has a fake eyeball which is really just a ping-pong ball and a pupil he drew on it with a Sharpie. I’d have believed she didn’t want the attention until I found out she gave him the Sharpie.

Funny, that. Personally, I do not own a cat, and the freak magnet label has been lobbed at me so many times that I just got tired of dodging it. As to the idea that I actually seek out the weirdos who come my way, I can only say:

Are you kidding? Riddle me this, Mr. Scientist:

About a year ago, a very good friend of mine required emergency hospitalization for a dangerous infection. The hospital in which she was staying was very close to my apartment; I could walk there in five minutes. So, I called her every day, asking if I could bring her anything. She was quarantined for about three days, but I was able to visit on the fourth day.

It was a Saturday afternoon. I headed to a neighborhood convenience store and bought nutrition bars (hospital food sucks), a few magazines, juice boxes, and baby wipes (she couldn't leave her bed, and therefore couldn't shower). I then headed over to the hospital on foot.

I was on the sidewalk, carrying my bag and looking straight ahead. Nobody was around. An out of service bus was parked on my side of the street, between two parking garages. I thought nothing of it.

When I got close to the front cab of the bus, I heard a voice say, "Get in."

I turned, slightly startled; the voice was coming from the bus. The door was open, and for the first time, I noticed the figure of a man inside.

As dumb as this is going to sound, at first I thought that he was volunteering to drive me to the main building. "Oh, no thanks," I said cheerfully. "I don't have much farther to go."

He took two steps down the stairs. "Get in," he repeated, in a flat voice. He had an unblinking stare. Something felt very off (ya think?). I backed up.

"No, thanks!" I said loudly. Why isn't anybody else around? He had one foot on the pavement now, the other still on the stair. He stared as I walked away, and at first I thought he'd follow, but a car pulled out of the garage and I skirted around it. He was still staring as I turned the corner. Weirdo.

I want Mr. Scientist to explain that one. I also want to know, why go after cats? Why is that an insult, anyway? Leave the poor kitties alone. They help fight evil!

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Blogger Linnaeus said...

Whoa. That's not the Zany, Madcap Adventures of Ginger; that's downright scary.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

True enough. At the time, I was more annoyed than nervous; it occurred to me later that the situation could have turned ugly.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous hedonistic pleasureseeker said...

Mr. Scientist is a knob.

I'm a freak-magnet too. In a way both cliches are true: Opposites attract, AND like attracts like.

The true criminal chooses the most vulnerable-looking situation he can find. Which means, you were IT that night. I know it sounds weird, but switch to the old-fashioned umbrellas and try to look meaner? Muggers won't even try to mug 90-year-old ladies if they're carrying pointy umbrellas and look mean enough. That's what I do, at least.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous The Knob said...

To be fair to "The Knob" he DID also say ...

"we don’t want to dismiss this whole notion out of hand. There are chemical processes in play that make animals jump on some people more than others so there certainly could be a magnetic field that makes some people more attractive to total nutcases"

Anyway, that bus business is a creepy story. Science really doesn't have a way to explain why some people ooze approachability or, in this case, why some man thinks you would just get on a bus with him. He may say that to lots of women and just have been prospecting, but it's unlikely. It's one of the more arcane areas of neuroscience.

Good article.

9:58 AM  
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