I Am My Own Bobblehead
I DON’T SEEK OUT those people or situations that turn me into a Bobblehead. They just seem to find me. I must admit that spending too much time in my pew in the Chapel at St. Arbucks exposes me to them.
Let me explain.
About a month or so ago, while meditating in my pew, next to the other Usual Suspects, an acquaintance of one of the worshippers came over and began chatting with him.
It soon became obvious that this newcomer was either a refugee from another planet or was seeing how long they could go without medication. I tried to be polite. Gathering up my stuff and nodding. My nodding was just a gesture that feigned interest while, hopefully, delaying any screaming of, “I will not be ignored!” until I was safely outside. (Rent “Fatal Attraction”)
Everybody has a bad day now and then, but I think this guy had been having “a bad day” since the early 1990s. How did I determine this? Because he kept coming back, day after day, with more details of how his world was filled with woe and people who failed to understand his needs. I nodded, and nodded, and nodded.
“Gee, thanks for sharing. I gotta run.”
Whenever he showed up during my morning coffee vespers I began to nod mechanically and to develop a roster of errands, chores, and emergencies that required my immediate attention – anything to get me away from his Black Death of Gloom. This man could make the Dalai Lama suicidal.
It appears that, at one time, he had run a restaurant, or a B&B, or a catering business (I could never get it straight) that had failed. Then his house burned down, which later was modified into just a kitchen fire. (I think that this fire may have somehow been related to the business going belly up.)
Having worked in nightclubs for too many years I had developed rapid exit strategies. (Being backstage with a bunch of neurotic comedians ain’t fun.) Unfortunately, some of my fellow worshippers weren’t as quick on the draw and had to endure this man’s daily litany of personal trauma.
One day last week I was in my pew sipping and discussing the upcoming start of Baseball Spring Training with one of the Suspects. The Dark Cloud had not yet arrived. I was also given a gentle scolding because I had been able to bail out, leaving the others behind. He filled me in on what had gone down after my escape.
The day before, Mr. Death Star of 2015 had been on an angry rant about how competition in the restaurant industry had been unfair to him – solely because he had a limited menu, fewer tables and charged more in his café – which was in a bad location. Sounds like a patently discriminatory situation to me. Yup – sure does. Better Call Saul.
After a half hour of nodding and having to listen to this my poor friend interrupted him with, “May I ask you something?” He finally took a breath and told him he could. He then asked a very simple, but to the point, question.
“Are you insane?”
I wish now that I had stuck around to hear his answer.
“That’s what they say.”
Bingo! We have a winner and thanks for playing our game! What do we have for him, Johnnie?”
“A brand new Straightjacket!”
Had I been there I would have been nodding to the point of whiplash. I bet that “they” had nodded vigorously, listening to his rising storm surge of brain sludge, while writing out prescriptions for a rainbow of medications. I would have too, and been checking whether or not the safety was off on my pistol.
He wasn’t at St. Arbucks this morning. Maybe he couldn’t get a pass. Maybe he saw his shadow and went back into his den. Maybe the Mothership scooped him up.
As I reread this, I find myself nodding again like a bobblehead doll. It’s making me dizzy. Some people just have that effect on me. Yup.
Dang! I just nodded again.