This was originally posted on the old version of my blog back on January 6th, 2008. While digging through an old archive, I figured that I’d share it again, because people be crazy.
I took off one Friday from work since my son was off from school and decided to spend the day with the family. We spent the day running errands, and at the end of the night, the last thing Karen wanted to do was go to a local flea market to look for certain collectibles that she has been hunting down. We don’t care for going to this place; both the teeth and IQs are in short supply. Still, we decided to brave it anyway, thinking that we would be able to get in and out rather painlessly.
I went to a stand that was selling used books (for $0.25 a pop, I couldn’t resist). There was another woman there, an older lady with glasses, graying hair, and plump features, who was picking some books out.”What are you hunting for?” she asked, and it took me a moment to realize that she was speaking to me, since she hadn’t bothered to turn and face me. I commented that I was just perusing, and she turned to me and pointed out a book that she had picked up, one that had to do with the Mafia.
“This looks like it’s going to be a good book,” she said. I nodded politely. It felt awkward, her conversation forced, as if she was trying hard to seek out someone to talk to. Once that idea had taken root I was hoping that the conversation would end quickly and that we could return to our previously anonymous shopping.
She then followed up with:”I know some people in the Mafia. I also know some people in the [Ku Klux] Klan, too.”
Stop the presses.
Did I just hear what I thought I did? She said it so calmly, that she might as well have said, “It’s getting dark outside.” So I said the only thing that could think of given the circumstances, eyebrow raised, voice level. “Oh, really?”
“Yes I do,” she said simply. “My husband’s in the Klan.”
I sighed internally. At first I thought that she was trying to goad me into an argument, perhaps seeing a Hispanic and deciding to take the opportunity to espouse some of her ignorant views. The area we live in is known for having issues with bigotry, and in the next town over the Klan would hold annual marches. Although having lived in this town for several years I had never run into any race-related issues, I was wondering if my luck had run out.
Unfortunately, I was inside a narrow aisle and she was blocking my exit. I decided to play it cool and continued the conversation.”I’m surprised you’re talking to me, then,” I said.
“Oh, I respect people who respect me,” she began, self-assured in her ignorant drawl. “And the Klan mostly don’t like blacks and the Jews.”
It’s always the blacks and the Jews with these guys, isn’t it?
“The blacks, they want everything handed to them. My husband is making $600 a month on a pension and can’t get help with insurance, but they [blacks] get everything handed to them and they don’t do a thing.”
I just stared.
“And the Jews, they control all the money.”
This was the point where it turned from vaguely horrific to self-parody. I thought I was hearing someone recite from Klan Propaganda 101. But I let her continue, because at this point I figured that I might as well enjoy it for the entertainment value. As a co-worker likes to say, “You can’t cure Stupid”.
She went on about how the Jews were “controlling all the money” and only help each other, keeping money and control for themselves. Right. She had shifted a little to the right, and I thought I saw my opening to exit, but she continued on. She goes on tell me about how the people in her neighborhood tell her that she’s not the right “color” to be there, and that she’s been living there for over twenty years and that they can’t tell her that she’s not the right color. They can get out.
She then goes on to relate a story about a black neighbor who has a rich son but are real tight with their money. The woman (we’ll call her Mrs. K from here on out) says how she had done some landscape work for this black woman and that they offered nothing for her efforts. This was a sore point for Mrs. K.
“Then the Caucasian couple behind us, they’re self-professed ‘Christians,’ so they’re the ones you have to watch for, they cause us problems.”
Because, if you’re bring down the blacks and Jews, you might as well throw in the Christians too.
Mrs. K goes on to relate that these Christian neighbors have wronged her in the following ways:
- They hide behind her fence at night and make cat sounds so that her dogs bark, and then they call the police complaining about said dogs barking late at night.
- Their children throw stones from their second story windows at a formerly homeless man who lives with Mr. and Mrs. K and likes to sit in front of their shed in the backyard. Because that’s where we should be putting all the homeless.
Then there’s the third neighbor, who, according to Mrs. K. offered three-way sex between him, her, and her husband. He also raped her. No, I’m not making that up; she really did just casually slip that in there, almost as an afterthought.
Mrs. K then tells me about the drunken, drug-ridden nature of said neighbor, and how he threatened her and her husband by leaving a threatening message on her answering machine (with the help of the cat-sound making, Caucasian Christian wife who lives behind them), but that this was thrown out in court.
Mrs. K. also related that she is the subject of ridicule because she suffers from seizures.
This was the point that I decided that I had had enough of this circus, and was able to circle around her and ensure my exit. She kept talking, but by this point my brain was starting to blue screen, and I said to her, “Wow, sounds like you’re dealing with a lot. Why don’t you pray?”
“I pray every night until 5 in the morning,” Mrs. K. replied.
I said that she should write a book about her life and then I rolled out of there, praying Mrs. K would not give chase and continue to regale me with the her tales. I met up with Karen, who was mad and had had a lousy experience elsewhere in the flea market. We both made hasty exists from the flea market and agreed that it would be best not to return there for a long, long time.