As long as I can remember, I’ve always been a magnet for weirdos, psychos, hooligans, mental cases and generally bizarre encounters. Why that is, I can not answer, but the fact of the matter is if there is a complete whack-job in a 50 mile radius, chances are they are standing right next to me.

I attract freaks like I attract cats. I’m allergic to cats, the cats know it, so they glom onto me. What the freak thing is about, I’m not sure. And it’s not because I’m nicer than I let on. While it’s true I can and will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, I’ve also got an itchy trigger finger when it comes to pulling the plug on a chat gone too far. I’ve had some real doozey conversations over this. Sometimes it feels like all I have to do is say “hi” and someone is unpacking their big bag of bonkers on me.

A few examples from my highlights reel:

The stalker who used to sit at my bar (back when I worked in one) and would stay there the entire evening drinking nothing but milk and starring at me.

Or this stalker guy in my in my neighborhood in Detroit who never said a word to me but would randomly hand me balloon animals whenever I encountered him: library, gym, grocery store… I never did learn if he could speak.

The time I was rear-ended by a van full Mennonites while I was wearing only a towel and a bikini. Way long story, and completely weirded me out.

The nutty chick I encountered at a Mennonite Beach Party (believe it or not, it was a different time and different place from above and an even longer story) who handed me a 24 inch ceramic rooster and a box that was decoupaged with a couple hundred 1 cent stamps that she somehow thought I could get to her “Uncle Bob”.

I think I write about this one before: the drunk dude who tried to explain to me that redheads are descendant from orangutans.

The homeless guy who used to follow me to the ferry boat yelling at me to “get home to my kids”. When I explained I didn’t have any, he replied “well go get some and make me soup!”. I made the further mistake of asking if the kids were for the purpose of making the soup or if the two requests weren’t mutually exclusive which sent him well into the deep end of an ocean of crazy.

And, sadly, these aren’t even the scary examples.

So I gotta ask myself: what makes a person a freak magnet and how do I turn it off? It’s not that I don’t garner amusement from these little encounters, hell, I have some rather fond memories of my milder freaks. But when it seems to happen all the time and without end, I gotta wonder: am I giving off a smell or something that attracts these loons? Is there a blinking neon sign above my head that reads “Blue Light Special on Freak Talk, Aisle 4”?

Case in point: last night at the store, a guy follows me out and gets an eyeful of my car. He starts going on and on about the car. How he loves it, how he wishes he had one just like it, how he needed to first move out of his mother’s attic and get a job, and a life, and his license back, and a pet puppy first…all the while, walking around my car molesting it with his hands…..eeeeeeeewwwwwww……..

Which reminds me, I need to go wash my car tonight.

So what is it with me and these people? Is it a redhead thing??