Tag Archives: paranoid

Am I paranoid, or are you a creeper?

14 May

Image Source: http://neoexperiences.blogspot.com/2011/01/attack-of-creepers.html

Last week I stopped by Whole Foods on my way home from work to pick up dinner supplies. As is often the case, someone was conducting a wine tasting to promote a distributor’s offerings. Which explains how I found myself sipping a Spanish Tempranillo and chatting with the sales rep.

After telling me about the region in Spain where the wine came from, the rep changed gears. “I love your haircut,” she said. “Did you just come from the salon?”

Well, no. I’d actually just come from the gym. When I say I wasn’t having a good hair day, I mean it was kind of plastered to my head with sweat. Instead of insulting her taste, I simply said “thanks” and continued with the tasting. The cynic in me wondered if they’d found that flattery led to better sales.

While I sipped, she pulled out a brochure for the distributor. “I took these photos,” she told me. She then proceeded to flip through the brochure so quickly that I couldn’t actually SEE the photos that well, though  she did pause long enough to show me an unremarkable shot of a man standing in front of a group of people. “That’s the owner,” she said proudly.

I nodded with fake enthusiasm, then selected two bottles from her stash, thanked her, and moved on. A few aisles later, I had pre-buyer’s remorse and decided to only get one of the two bottles. Rather than walk back and interact with her again, I found the Spanish section of the wine shelf and set the bottle back with its peers.

Later, standing in the express checkout line that snakes its way back through the food bar and baked goods, I felt a tug on my sleeve. It was the woman from the tasting table. Apparently she’d abandoned her post. “Can I get a photo of you with the wine?” she asked. A weird request, but my first reaction was, “Crap. She’s going to bust me for putting the bottle back!”

Instead, I said, “Sure,” and picked up the bottle from my basket.

“No,” she said. “The other one.”

DAYUM. It seemed like a lot of effort to shame a customer for returning a bottle of wine, but I couldn’t imagine any other motive. “Sorry,” I offered. “I actually changed my mind on that bottle. I decided to just get the other one you offered.”

Without missing a beat, she said, “Oh, well, then… let’s do a photo with that one, I guess.”

Gamely, I lifted it clear of my basket and smiled.

“Can you hold it up next to your face?” she prodded.

So I did, trading looks with the people around me in line, as we all established that this lady was nuts.

I figured there was some other reason she actually wanted a photo of me. I don’t think it was because she liked my hair or wanted to show her boss that she’d sold a bottle of wine. My theory is that I look like someone she knows and she wanted proof to share with them – so she tried to construct  a plausible explanation for taking my photo.

But then I started to get paranoid that she was going to use it for some form of identity theft, though I couldn’t figure what good a snapshot of a face next to a wine bottle would do. By the time she’d gotten the photo, I was full on suspicious, so when she asked if I’d like her to send me a copy, I just looked at her, dumbfounded.

Um, no. Not giving you my email address, creeper.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is NOT how you hit your sales goals.

Wart: that’s such an ugly word.

21 Dec

Wart = Bad. Warthog = Better. Proof that bacon makes everything better.

Monday, for the first time in a long time, I headed to the pool to swim some laps. I’m pretty sure I pulled or tore a muscle in my shoulder at yoga last Thursday, so I was viewing the pool as “physical therapy” without a co-pay.

Unfortunately, I’m slightly out of practice, so when I got there I realized I hadn’t brought flipflops. Might seem like a minor detail, but when you’re swimming at an old public inner-city pool (that smells more like urine than chlorine), flipflops are actually clutch.

I sat down on the lockerroom bench and emptied my bag out, hoping that somehow, a microscopic/expandable flipflop was hidden in there. Even if there was just one – I was willing to hop. No dice. So I had to make a decision: walk the bare floor anyway, for the sake of a workout (aka physical therapy), or throw in the towel and return home?

Actually, lava would be preferable.

I decided to go for it. And as soon as I put my foot on the nasty tile floor, I swear I could feel plantar wart spores attaching themselves to the ball of my foot, much like how parasitic worms burrow through skin in Third World countries. Ack! 

When you think microbes are leeching onto you, you can’t help but look odd. And I did.

I came bursting out of the locker room like my ass was on fire and canonballed into the water faster than a fourth grader, but the real oddity came after showering, when I stood on the bench (as opposed to the floor) to dry off and get dressed. Which might not seem that weird until you realize that I was essentially putting my naked lady-parts directly at eye-level with everyone else in the locker room.

Even more awkward? In an attempt to explain why I was playing “The Floor Is Lava,” to a fellow swimmer, I pointed down and said, “I don’t want to get warts.” Only to realize that it might not have been clear that I was pointing at my feet.

I think I’ll stick with yoga.

Clearly, I’ve seen too many movies.

10 Nov

Sunday, in the wake of the Oyster Festival, Urbanna was a different town. With only an occasional person on the street in comparison to the thousands from the previous day, it felt almost ghostly. Both Alan and I were mildly creeped out by it, which might explain why my brain gravitated toward paranoia.

The owners of the B&B were incredibly nice people, with an expansive sense of hospitality. They took a shine to Alan and me, so they offered to take us out on their boat Sunday afternoon.

The day was gorgeous – 70 degrees and sunny with a bright blue sky. The trees lining the river were vivid shades of red, orange and yellow. It was like being in a commercial for the Rappahannock River or – in keeping with my general paranoia – a horror movie.

So instead of simply relaxing and absorbing the scenery as we shuttled up the river, I started looking around nervously, imaging that they were taking us somewhere to kill us. Spotting a shovel on the deck, I envisioned our captain whacking Alan in the head with it, then pushing him overboard. The phrase “watery grave” danced in my head.

After we returned to the B&B (safely, I might add), I told Alan what I’d been thinking.

He laughed. “And what would their plan be with you after they killed me?”

“Human trafficking? Indentured servitude? Take your pick!” I was a bit indignant that he didn’t give me credit for having value to them. Alan just rolled his eyes.

So, before our next vacation, I have it all figured out. Depending on where we’re going, I’ll rent a few movies for him:

  • If we’re staying at a B&B again: Psycho 
  • Water-based vacation: Cape Fear
  • Writing/skiing retreat: The Shining
  • Iowa: Children of the Corn
  • Pennsylvania: Dracula (C’mon! It sounds kind of like Transylvania)
  • Camping: Blair Witch Project

Then we’ll see who’s laughing. And who’s holding a shovel.

It’s called Manly because sissies won’t take the ferry.

22 Aug

Everyone told me I had to take the ferry to Manly while I’m here. What they didn’t tell me was that I might need to wear a diaper.

Manly is one of the beaches north of Sydney, right where the Harbor opens out to the Pacific Ocean. You get there by taking a 30-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay right in Sydney Harbor.

My guidebook told me to take my camera, so I did, plunking myself on a bench out on the deck so I could snap some photos. Opera House? Check. Harbour Bridge? Check. I was snapping along happily, right up until the point where we passed where the Harbor opens into the Ocean.

The waves started to get bigger, the boat started to rock, and suddenly the deck was getting pummeled by waves. Naturally, I grabbed my little camera and slid inside the cabin so I could stay dry behind a window.

I’m so glad I did, because the action was only just beginning. The waves got bigger and it was as stomach-lurching as riding a roller coaster while we were heading into the waves. People on board were actually squealing as if they were on a roller coaster, looking at each other with large eyes that seemed to say, “Can you believe this?”

The younger version of me (that also enjoyed turbulence on airplanes) would’ve loved this. The current version of me had images of sharks chewing my legs off when we capsized.

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When ignorance really is bliss.

3 Aug

Whenever I travel, I try to read a book set where I’m visiting. Usually I lean toward a novel and supplement it with guided walking tours so I can get a blend of fact and fiction. In preparation for my upcoming trip to Australia, I picked up something I read years ago, a non-fiction travelogue by Bill Bryson called In a Sunburned Country.

I remembered enjoying it (from the comfort of my couch in DC), so I thought it would be a nice primer.


Oh sure, it’s as funny and educational and telling as I remember. The problem? Bryson is fixated on takes great joy in regaling readers with tales of all the dangerous/poisonous creatures that inhabit the land Down Under. As someone who is a bit of an arachnophobe, this is NOT helpful.

(Separately, what does it mean that I’ve managed to weave phobias into EVERY post this week? I’m scaring myself. Is that a phobia too?)

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