The past few weeks have seen a series of bizarre happenings unfold. Seemingly insignificant, but strange all the same. The last straw on the camel’s back happened to be an unforeseen incident last evening, where I got blatantly hit on by a twenty-something kid. Took me a while to process what was actually happening, and only when he offered to pay for the coffee I was drinking, did I realise I was being propositioned. Not the every day kind of bizarre event, let me assure you.
It started with loads of emails going unanswered. Is it just me or are people just serially not responding to emails and keeping to their commitments? I know its not unnatural for the odd email to get lost in cyber-space or in the hoards of gigabytes of communication people receive, but for 8 out of 10 important work emails I’ve sent in the past few weeks to go unanswered strikes me as odd. Especially when I’m told “I’ll get back to you by tonight,” or “We need to get this done in the next 4 days,” only to faced with complete silence after that.
Wouldn’t you find it weird to emerge from a nights sleep, having woken up in a pool of your own sweat and be greeted by this?
My sticky neck and semi-drenched pillow tell a tale very different form this deceptive misty-mountain-top kind of picture outside my window. This is downright weird for this time of year. Drawing the curtains open makes it feel like I’m in the midst of a super cool hill station, with the clouds floating right through the lane in front of me. But the weather has been anything but cool. Muggy, hot, sweaty and just downright horrible.
By mid-day my eyes are burning and the days are getting shorter, night descending sooner. A few months ago I was marveling at the last streaks of dusk lingering on till about 7.30 pm, and these days it begins to set just past 6.15ish. And in typical October style, it puts up quite a show. Kind of like this.
Totally in contrast to the dull and misty beginnings of the very same day. Weird, much?
A told me how he was overcome with a rage that just refused to pass, a few days ago. Despite having good reason, the inability to control or get over an extreme emotion has been happening to me too often this month. I first thought it was PMS, but that doesn’t last for over two weeks. I’ve been feeling overly emotional about the strangest things that I don’t usually stop to give too much thought to. I mentioned it briefly here, but I only realised it when I was talking to A. This over-sensitivity, the dwelling on something for much longer than I need to, and giving certain emotions more importance than is actually required, feeling touchy and sulky — this has been happening a lot. I dismissed it as a funk that would pass if I didn’t bother fighting it too hard, but it’s lingering on. I’ve been extremely anti social, withdrawing from people, unable and uninterested in sustaining conversations, been mostly off my phone, screening calls even! This is not me.
I have also had a bout of unexplained unusual clumsiness and forgetfulness. Small accidents around the house — I slipped down the stairs twice in one week, left my phone in my car for an entire day and diddn’t miss it, burnt my fingers making phulkas the other day, nearly walked out of my house without the key one day, and the next — and this one is the shocker — came back from dinner alone one night, unlocked the door, walked in and shut the door behind. Leaving the housekey int he keyhole. Outside the house. All night. This is very unlike me.
I’ve also experienced an absurdly high number of breakdowns around the house. We had all-day power cuts two days in a row, which botched up a day of mammoth orders and baking for me. I had four orders and was only able to deliver one. Last week, the power company decided to schedule their daily load-shedding at 9.30 pm — the most convenient and expected time of day to be without power, no? So one of those nights, sick of the heat and darkness I left home to go get dinner. When I returned, I came home to a cow standing in my backyard, happily, lazily chomping away at the overgrown grass and weeds. That should have been the last straw in the series of truly bizarre events happening to me.
I had the backyard cleaned up, and we have made a concerted effort to start keeping a a garden there. I thought I’d wished the weirdness away. Until yesterday.
I had an appointment last evening, in town and had a good one hour to kill between the appointment ending and my kickboxing class. I didn’t fancy driving all the way home only to come back to town in 4o-mins or so. So I picked a cafe I don’t usually go to, bought myself a hot coffee and sat under a tree reading.
I was marveling at the fact that for a change someone at a cafe had got my instructions to make the coffee “really hot” right. I’m so used to asking for it and always being disappointed at the first sip, that I rushed to taste this cup and scalded my tongue pretty badly. I also got a barrage of text messages and nearly dropped my ipad all int he span of 10 seconds, when this twenty-something dude sneaks over and slips into the seat next to me.
He opens with, “I’m not here to creep you out.”
I try not to react, but everything about my face probably revealed that I was very creeped out.
I was speechless for what felt like forever, waiting for this dude to explain himself, especially since he sincerely told me he wasn’t out to creep me out. Then what exactly did he want to do?
I was running over a few kickboxing moves in my head, and trying to scan the nearest escape route, without actually looking around, when he said, “I’m having a business meeting over there,” pointing to a table of four men seated with laptops open etc, at the far end of the cafe, “and I have just been so distracted, I had to come over to say hi.”
He offers his hand, and it takes me a couple of seconds to realise I’m meant to do the same. But I’m suddenly not sure why I must reciprocate, orrrrr whattheeffisgoingon basically.
He introduced himself, quickly giving me his name, his work/business, told me he hangs out at said cafe a lot and even went on to tell me he hasn’t seen me around.
(What kind of men sit around waiting to notice women and classify them as regulars and those they don’t see around too often??)
Probably expecting me to return the favour and wondering why I’m not offering any information, the conversation was fast dying. With me fidgeting and wondering how to tell him to bugger off! I quickly blurt something about not hanging out there often and only stopping over because I’m about to rush off for another engagement.
“Can I buy you this coffee?”
I don’t know if I should be aghast or offended, but I manage to tell him I’m perfectly capable and have bought myself the coffee already. At that point, he gave me a rushed, “Okay, it was nice talking to you. See you around,” followed it up with a repeat of the unconvincing “Didn’t mean to creep you out.” I might have believed him if he didn’t give it the crowning glory, “but I was just so distracted, I wanted to come talk to you.”
I came away with mixed feelings. Has it been so long since I have been so blatantly hit on, that I have forgotten what it looks like? Am I just that out of the loop? Is this normal? Tell me single peeps, is this what men do these days?
Should I feel mildly flattered that I don’t have the “married look” people often point out. Or should I be worried that I give off the vibe that I can be cornered into a conversation that opens with the blatant admission of non-creepiness?
My mind raced back to this one evening many, many moons ago. It was a typically rainy Bangalore day and U and I were at the Barista where Hard Rock Cafe Bangalore now stands. We sat sipping our hot chocolates, by big french windows that overlooked Koshys, when we spotted this total dish of a man lighting up a cigarette outside Koshys. At 17, totally reckless and stupid, and not thinking about most rational considerations, it took U under a minute to muster the confidence to hook her pointer finger and beckon him, with her come hither eyes. He looked up and right at us, and I waved a big fat cutesy wave at him. U and I ooked at each other, giggled profusely as we were known to, and when we looked back up he has stubbed his cigarette out, making his way across the street to come greet us with the biggest grin slapped across his face.It didn’t end there — we exchanged numbers and managed to meet him a couple of times when we’d sneaked out and gone partying, before we realised the creepiness of the whole situation.
I’ve been chatted up several times at bars and drinking places, whether I was with men, women, a group of friends or even just a one other person. But that was then. This is now. And even for me, this was just super weird.
Just when I was about to leave it up to a weird amalgamation and concentration of all things strange headed my way, I happened to realise we’re smack in the middle of the Mercury Retrograde.
So yeah, it’s not me. It’s the freaking planets.