It's official. I'm mental. I'm that crazy person who talks to and terrifies strangers on the street.
So tonight I was walking home from my fitness class (yeah, yeah, yeah). I was wearing tights and a t-shirt, and I was sweaty and stringy-haired and most likely red-faced. You know, like what people look like right when they stop exercising. Anyway, as I was walking up the hill past a bus-stop I saw a guy waiting there who looked as though he'd been at a gym or something as well. He was leaning up against a pole, listening to tunes on his head-phones and reading a book.
It was the book that caught my eye. I'd nearly passed him when I realised the cover of the book looked as though it had a surfer getting barreled on it. Without thinking, I stopped and stepped backwards and stuck my head down to look at the cover of the book and asked
'Is that a surfer on the cover?'
He looked at me and slowly took out his headphones as I repeated my question. I think if he wasn't already leaning on a pole he would have stepped back. Some sweaty, sneaker-clad woman coming up to him on the street to ask about his book? Poor guy! As I asked the question, my brain was only just starting to compute that I was being a total weirdo, but those signals had not yet reached my mouth, so I persisted,
'Is it? It's just that I surf and I don't meet many people who surf in the city, so I'm always looking for things about the ocean. Is it about the ocean?'
It was at this point that my thoughts caught up with me and I realised that not only was my behaviour left of field for an inner-city evening, but that what I was saying was itself mental. But by now he'd stopped being concerned by the crazy lady, and started to be amused. I'm not particularly threatening looking. In fact, I kind of look like a cartoon. Perhaps because of this, he smiled and answered me,
'Oh, no. It's not a surfer. It looks like one though.'
I realised I needed to leave this guy and his book alone. I still couldn't make out exactly what it was, but it was time to move away, so I started to walk again.
'Yeah, it really does, huh!'
He turned to explain a bit more.
'It's not though. It's a fantasy book.'
'Oh cool. Well, enjoy it. It's a lovely cover.'
And off I went.
It was a funny little exchange. It was one of those moments when you lose all consciousness of the context of your thoughts, and instead you just follow them. But of course, context is everything, right, so you need to be aware of it. If that had happened to me - if someone had unexpectedly stuck their head down to look at the cover of the book I was holding and asked me about it while I was minding my own business and listening to music at a bus stop - I would have totally freaked out. No, really. I'm a super jumpy person and I don't trust anyone when I'm out and about (a consequence of spending too much time alone). But tonight, lost in my own world, I was so taken by the flash of an image of a wave and a person on the front of a book that I forgot all of that and just involved myself in this guy's private little moment.
Oh man. I clearly need to continue working on my social skills. But I still think it was an image someone on a wave which had been taken from underneath the barrel...