Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Totally Inappropriate Gift

I am no stranger to totally inappropriate behavior. I talk to myself. In public. In French. I also have allergies that compel me to wipe my nose with restaurant napkins. And sometimes I forget that sunglasses do not make me invisible and end up blatantly staring at people for too long. But I do not chase people down the street to ask them out in the following way:

Crazy Man in Range Rover: "Hey beautiful, take a copy of my book!"

Me: (Ignoring crazy man completely.)

Crazy: (Following me in Range Rover, parking car on the street and running after me, waving a crazy arm in the air.) "Hey, I just want to get your number! I just flew in from filming a movie in New York and I have a fashion show coming up I want to give you the dates for."

Me: (Ignoring crazy man completely.)

Crazy: "Here's my card. Can I get your number or give you mine? Wow, you sure walk fast."

Me: "Your number's on the card, right? Then I have yours."

Crazy: "Well, that not my real cell phone number, so take my new one."

Me: (Pretending to type Crazy's number in my phone while actually stabbing at random buttons. This entry is now "Zz8r47Wa" in my phone.)

At this point Crazy has returned to his Range Rover and I am still zig-zagging my way through downtown to teach at the museum. It is 8:40 am. Crazy continues to follow me in his car and is now waving something out the window.

Crazy: "I want you to take a copy of my book. I'm gonna be on Oprah in two weeks."

Me: (Thinking I either have to take this copy or call the police, I take the book.)

Crazy: "You'll see on the back that I have seven kids. But I'll be divorced in three years."


Crazy: "I know God brought me to you for a reason."

I hope God doesn't tell him I put a fake number in my phone.

As pointed out by my best friend K, I do seem to attract a certain level of crazy. (She said "hilarity" but if you knew all the stories, you would know that "crazy" is more apt.)

I'm not sure what kind of woman thinks a man with seven kids, a pending divorce and a really terrible book is a catch, but I would guess that chasing even that woman down the street doesn't do you any favors. I did read part of the hardcover autobiography I now reluctantly own. And if "With five kids by the age of 26, [Crazy] didn't think it could get any worse, but had two more kids in the next three years" doesn't just pull at your heartstrings and make you fall in love with Crazy, I don't know what will. He goes on to talk about how when women "get scared, they get possessive of their man" and that at this point "the man doesn't respect the woman at all and the woman makes it worse by clinging to him."

If Crazy goes on Oprah I hope she eats him.

Anyway, as I said, I am no stranger to totally inappropriate behavior. And sometimes this behavior actually makes totally appropriate gifts. As long as it doesn't involve chasing.

Last summer I went to France for a couple of weeks. I did an exchange program in high school in which I lived with a family for a month in a small town two hours southwest of Paris. The girl I was paired with has become one of my closest friends and when I received her wedding invitation in the mail, I decided that even if I put the whole trip on my credit card, I would be at her July 2009 wedding in the town where I had lived for a short time ten years ago. So, last summer I went to her wedding. And maxed out my credit card.

Anyway, what do you get someone as a wedding present when you don't know the wedding customs of their country? If you are me, apparently you draw a sketch-portrait on the plane, tear it out of your sketchbook at the airport and then visit a French Pier One at the train station to buy a frame and frantically scratch off the price sticker while riding the TGV.

Totally inappropriate. Yet, this made a lovely gift. Why? My friend is a dancer and the picture I drew was of them dancing. Also, the frame covered the torn-off edge of the paper.

The moral of the story is, if your inappropriate behavior is behind-the-scenes, or a clumsy means to a tidy end, then the behavior is a non-issue. Or that chasing people down the street is never a good plan for woo-age. Or inappropriate pick-up lines are funnier when invoking the name of Oprah. Whatever. I win.

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