There is something about me that inspires perfect strangers to tell me their life stories.
I was taking my walk this morning -- outside, because it is 60 degrees here, in December! -- and saw an old-ish guy with a cute little teeny tiny dog. I'd already passed several dog walkers and other folks; normally, everyone nods and smiles, or says "Good morning!" but we keep on going.
So as I passed this guy, I said, "Good morning" and he said, "What's that?" as he pointed to the LL Bean Outdoor School patch on my vest. So I told him, and then I was trapped, because I cannot be rude to anyone. In the next half hour, I found out that:
- He enlisted in the Navy in 1957. During his enlistment physical, two doctors told him he didn't qualify, but he just kept going through the process instead of leaving.
- While he in the Navy, he and a buddy hitchhiked to DC, but they got arrested on the New Jersey Turnpike because the military men were getting picked up and robbed, so they got taken to the police station and the Navy sent MPs down to get them, and they got chewed out when they got back to the base.
- I allowed as how my Pop and brother were Navy men, and that my brother was a corpsman for the Marines in Vietnam, and that sent him off into how he loved the military. Then he quizzed me on my knowledge of the Marines: "I'm gonna ask you three questions: Eagle, globe, and what?" I said, "Anchor." He looked stunned that I knew the answer. I knew the other answers, too, which got the same response.
- I kept stunning him with my powerful intellect. Every time I'd answer one of his many quiz questions, he'd gawp in amazement that I could know the answer.
- He was born in 1938 in Texas. I got another gawp when I told him my older sister was born in 1936.
- He had a little trouble remembering one story and said it was because he'd had a TIA. "Oh, a transient ischemic attack -- mini-stroke," I said. Again with the gawp.
- He then said he was going to ask me a really personal question, and I didn't have to answer if I didn't want to. This concerned me slightly until he said, "Are you a Republican or a Democrat?" When I said, "Democrat! I'm a liberal feminist who's voting for Bernie Sanders!", I think I blew his natural mind. How could a woman who knew so much about the military be a Democrat?! And a feminist to boot! So that launched him into a whole dissertation about his theory that women became feminists because they'd been abused, which led to him telling me his entire history with women, from his first marriage through that divorce, to his hitting the bar scene, to his joining a singles club, to his meeting the woman he's been with since 1988. She's apparently beautiful, but only 4'9" tall.
This list really just scratches the surface of everything he told me. I even started getting a trifle anxious about whether he'd try something weird, but I figured that I could probably take him if I had to.
After more than a half hour of stories and quizzes, I finally said, "I really have to get going..." and he said, "Oh oh of course, just one more thing..." and 15 minutes later, I said, "It's been nice chatting with you," and he said, "Well, you're just amazing, and intelligent, and have a great day," and I said, "Thank you! Bye!" and kept on walking while I texted Joe to let him know I hadn't met with an accident, just a garrulous old gent.
Oh, his name is Clint. I didn't tell him my name, or exactly where I lived. A girl's gotta keep some secrets.