The crazy people have found me!

Many years ago, I recall a supermarket visit that involved a woman telling my mum and I about her son in a mental institution who was being allowed to visit for Christmas. We didn’t know her: we were just checking out frozen turkeys for the festive meal when she walked up and said she would need a bigger turkey this year because her son was visiting. Instead of ignoring her, my mum said “Really?” and smiled, and that prompted the woman to talk at us for a good ten minutes (hey, it might not sound like long, but when you’re in a frozen turkey aisle, it really is) about her son, the dogs in the sky (!?) and various other topics that actually made no sense. My mum just attracts people like that. It’s what she’s good at.

It looks like it might be genetic. Just last week when trying on a pair of boots in Annecy, a little old French lady informed me that she is old and sick and “look at my feet.” I looked at her feet and they were indeed as old and sick as she had explained. I didn’t understand much of her French, but I was left pretty speechless after burning my eyes with the image of her twisted, dry, bruised and lumpy feet with yellow toe nails. I escaped, feeling just a bit ill.

I’d hoped it was a one-off, but it was not. Today started with a man who saw I was buying three plates. Yes, today, I bought three plates. I will use them to sit my gingerbread houses on, as my friends never give my my own plates back. I’ve learnt to buy the cheapest I can find, and I was in the cheapest shop in possibly all of Haute Savoie with all the world’s crazy people. The man in front of me at the checkout turned to his, erm, I can only assume it was his minder, and said in French, “Looks, she’s buying three plates. Three plates. That’s what she is buying. Three.” She pulled him away while I did exactly what my mum does – I smiled as if it was normal. These people are not normal. Later today, a woman came running up to me in a supermarket in Annecy. Now, I had baggy jeans on and a blue hoody, complete with dreadlocks loose almost to my behind, yet she seemed to think I had a red supermarket apron on and was an ideal worker to ask directions from. “Where are the detergents?” she demanded in French, impatiently. Eager to help (will I never learn?), I said I wasn’t sure but I thought they were over- Too late! She heard I wasn’t a native French speaker and dismissed me as a BAD store worker who was probably taking a local French person’s job. “Oh,” she said as she walked off in a huff. I felt like yelling out in English: “No worries, any time, glad to help such friendly people as yourself. And have a great day, sunshine.” Instead, I carried on and was grateful I was not in the frozen turkey aisle.


I’m a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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5 comments on “The crazy people have found me!
  1. Matt D says:

    I think you’re right. Some people do have a genetic thing where they attract wackjobs. I used to know this girl who, for whatever reason, would *always* have homeless people hit on her. We would be in a group of 10 people, and we’d get approached by a homeless person who would zero in on her. It was very strange.

  2. misschris says:

    haha I love your descriptions of the people. Your blog is really funny.

  3. Dave says:

    It is definitely a genetic thing, maybe tied into the same strand as having “healing hands”. Sam (my other half) always seems to attract them – they spot her coming a mile off. It may also be something to do with the way that us english tend to greet strangers with a smile (as opposed to the inquisitive french stare) and wierdos see that as an open invitation.

    Also reminded me a lot of the “Nutter on the Bus” sketch by jasper carrott! More info here…

  4. April says:

    That blog is really funny, Dave! Thanks for the link. Matt D and Dave, it’s a relief to know I’m not alone in attracting the weirdos (and I didn’t even mention the weirdo on the bus who once told me Australians should all die because that’s what was happening to the boat people who our (then) prime minister had refused to let land on Aussie shores. I really thought he was going to pull out a knife and kill me in between the rants and the animated hand gestures!
    Misschris, I’m glad you like my blog: please visit often.

  5. Farmer Bub says:

    Just discovered your blog – love it – will be back for more.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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