Approaching two guys on the sidewalk, I hear one of ’em tell the other: “Hide!”
I quickly scan the scene for anything threatening, and finding nada asked the one who hadn’t fled the area: “A cow’s outside?”
He kept his distance while he dryly answered: “Nah, who’s afraid of a cow? It’s you we gotta watch out for.” and kept walking.
Made me feel real shitty for a hundred yards or so. ‘What have I done? Oh, that?’ I remembered too late having met the fellow. He was working in some auto-parts store, and when his advice saved me mega-shekels fixing my Fiesta’s steering, I’d thanked him… and briefly put my hand on his shoulder, for emphasis. A total stranger. Is this normal?
“Am I normal?” I’ve been asking myself for a couple years now. I seem to be putting
hand-on-shoulder of just about anyone, of any age, gender, or status who’ll hold still long
enough lately. I don’t know, it always seems like the right thing to do. I do have rules, of
Women wearing wigs? No way.
Folks I despise? No chance.
Little barely pubescent girls with budding breasts just showing through their Scout uniform? Hardly.
That still leaves millions of shoulders in this naked city and I seem to be on a campaign to
collect ’em all.
A rule worth pointing out is that I only ever ‘do it’ (see, sounds gross, huh?) in connection
with a compliment of some sort. But admittedly, sometimes I search pretty hard for an accompanying nice thing to say. The hand wags the dog, so to speak.
“This probably involves yer Mom.” suggests the pre-occupied shrink.
“Yeah, probably…” I reply. and turn away. No hand for this guy.
But does he have a point? What kind of pathetic parenting during childhood could’ve created such a late-onset touchy-feely monster 50 years later?
Well, it turns out that the auto-parts guys was just being funny. Something about fearing me
motoring down the sidewalk, even on foot, with my front feet disconnected from the steering
wheel, which was the case when we’d briefly met.
But damn, I sure am paranoid. I truly wonder how many folks have silently wondered: “What’s this dude’s thing with contact?”
I can quit anytime I want, I tell myself. Keep my hands clasped behind my back, for example. But I’m sure then they’d talk about that.
‘So doctor, what’s a guy to do? And what are those handcuffs for?’
Wu: File under ‘Should? Shoulder? Shouldest?
Me: Yeah, now that you mention it. You a smart cookie, Wu
Wu: Thanks, just keep your hands in your pockets.