If you ever want to meet a lot of crazy ass people, you should definitely work at a theatre. Now, I’m sure it doesn’t help that the theatre I worked at is in a neighbourhood riddled with drugs, alcohol, and prostitution,* but the fact of the matter is that theatres magnetically attract crazies.** You know, like the guy who was high on acid or something similar who got into a physical fight with the tree outside the front door before turning around and peeing at our doorstep. (Did I mention the whole front door area is glass? Thanks for the show, buddy!) Or the guy who came in one night with his kid daughter (like maybe five or six years old) who was WASTED and driving.***
This one night I was at work and everything was going normally. My coworker Ali and I had let the play in and we were in the midst of our nightly routine: sitting in the dark doing end-of-day counting, paperwork, etc. But during a completely ordinary glance out the window, I noticed something very out of the ordinary:
There was a guy wandering in and out of traffic, waiting for red lights and trying to get into strangers’ cars.
He was clearly drunk, but he looked really well-groomed and he was probably under 30. Not the typical characteristics of the folk we were used to seeing in the area. My first thought was “Oh shit, he’s gonna get hit by a car,” so I went running for the front door.
Ali stopped me from running straight out to him. “He might be crazy or dangerous!” she said, and rightfully so. So I stood just outside the door and started shouting at the guy. “Oi! Hello? What the fuck are you doing? Get out of the street!”
The guy started mumbling something I couldn’t hear or understand, so I moved closer. Honestly, he seemed too shaky on his own two feet to do any damage, and at this point I had seen just about everything. He wasn’t scaring me.
“You’re going to get yourself killed!” I yelled again. The guy finally noticed me for real and started stumbling toward me. “I’m not crazy.” He said it a few times. “All right,” I said, “Nobody called you crazy. Stupid, maybe. But not crazy.”
“I’m not crazy, I’m not,” he repeated, his arms extended toward me, “I own a $250,000 business. I swear to you.”
I realized he was holding a Blackberry in one hand. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this was back when the Blackberry was THE smartphone of smartphones. iPhones didn’t exist. iPods were giant with black and white screens. (REMEMBER THAT?!)
“Okay,” I said, “Get out of the street.”
“I need a ride.”
“Can I call you a cab?”
“No, I don’t need a cab; I need a ride.”
“All right, whatever.” I started to walk away. “But you have to stop trying to break into people’s cars.”
“I’m not crazy, I swear. I own a $250,000 company!” He chased after me.
“I believe you, don’t worry.”
And then he reached around my waist and tried to pull me in for a kiss. Two things happened simultaneously: I pounded him on the chest (nearly knocked him off his feet) and shouted, “NO!” and Ali threw the front door of the theatre open and shouted, “HEY!”
I don’t think he even knew where to look. I ran back to the theatre and got inside. I think the guy forgot I existed. He eventually stumbled away. Who knows where he ended up.
The point I’m trying to make is this: you never know. I told him I believed he was a wealthy businessman. I did. Because I’ve known cops who get wasted and do stupid shit, psychologists who are crazier than their patients and take a combination of cocaine and prescription meds to deal with their issues, professors who trash talk all of their students, etc., etc., etc.
Maybe I’m cynical as hell (SPOILER ALERT: I’m cynical as hell), but all I’m saying is I wouldn’t put it past you.
WAIT A SECOND.
Lesson learned: I AM A MAGNET FOR CRAZIES.
*And I say that with love. I still think of it as my home away from home.
**This is a scientifically proven fact.
***I called the cops. He got arrested a few blocks away. Thank goodness. Drunk drivers are assholes.