Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh! The people that I met!

I just took a quick weekend trip by myself to Chicago for my nephew's baptism and met a few new people. I am fascinated by all the different people in the world and their backgrounds and what makes them tick. Here's a few encounters from my trip:

Old Man vs. City Girl - I was walking down the sidewalk in Park Ridge, doing a little shopping and an ancient old man was wobbily walking out of the pharmacy with his cane. If I blew on him, I could have knocked him over. I said hello to him and he stopped me. "Hey!," he said, "C'mere!" I hesitated but thought I could take him, if he tried anything, so I followed. He walked over to a fall sidewalk display and pointed to this picture on the right. "What is this?!" he asked. I looked at him thinking this guy doesn't know what planet he's on and said, "Um, a bale of hay????" He said, "Wrong! You city girls don't know nothing! This is a bale of STRAW. It's not good for anything! You can't feed cows with this! You can't feed horses! It's useless!" Alrighty, then. He continued on. "Here's something else you city girls don't know! See this ear of corn?" (There were corn stalks tied to the lamp pole.) "You will never find a cob of corn with an uneven number of corn rows! NEVER!" I smiled and said, "Thank you for teaching a city girl a few new things." He smiled back and said, "You're welcome! Have a nice day!" I almost asked him if I could take his picture but I was afraid I'd set him off again so we went our separate ways.

Here's a bale of hay. See how different they look!? NOT!

MS Guy in the Airport - While I was sitting in O'Hare yesterday, a guy in a wheelchair rolled over to me and we talked for about 45 minutes. His story made me sad but, at the same time, I didn't feel sorry for him. Marco introduced himself to me and told me he was on his way to Arizona with his parents for the winter. He's forty years old and was diagnosed with MS in 1995. He told me all about his divorce, his subsequent relationship with his ex (totally for the sex - TMI!), his beloved Pit bull, Lucky who recently died from cancer, his aversion to voting because he doesn't want to be called for jury duty (I told him he should rethink that one), and his career as a tool and dye tradesman. He seemed to have a kind of George Costanza type relationship with his parents and they all looked very similar to the Seinfeld characters. He didn't complain at all about his bad luck in developing such a horrible disease. In fact, I think it made him a bit more likable. The way he talked, it sounded like he was a pretty big jerk before the diagnosis. He called his wife all kinds of horrible names, he drove a Camaro and thought he was hot stuff, he declared himself a racist to get out of jury duty, he hated kids (still does). I told him I might blog about him and he had no idea what a blog was. He said he doesn't go on computers anymore because he accidentally bought a bunch of porn without knowing it and he's afraid it'll happen again. I guess he just keeps magazines under his bed now.

Bottom line, though, is he's lonely living with his parents and has no other social outlets. The MS has taken away his independence, his career, and his ability to have a normal relationship. I was glad to spend a little time with him in the airport and make him feel like a worthwhile person.

I met some others too (all without even making it downtown where all the interesting people are) and have a few more stories but this post is long enough, I think!

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