Rubbed the wrong way | TSLN.com

Rubbed the wrong way

My wife looked at me, as if for the first time, and said, “I think there is something really wrong with you.”

“You’ve lived with me for 35 years and you’re just now figuring that out?” I sarcastically replied. “What do you think is wrong with me this time?”

“I think you are an anthropophobiac!”

“That sounds serious. You’ve been watching Oprah again haven’t you? What does it mean and how long do I have to live?”

“You aren’t going to die, silly. It won’t kill you, it just means you are afraid of people. You haven’t been to town for two weeks, haven’t shaved in five days and you’re getting a little seedy. You’re turning into a hermit right before my eyes.”

“Its not that I don’t like people, it’s just that I don’t like them in big bunches,” I explained. “The last time I went to town there were three other people in the hardware store, including one in the same aisle as I was! It gave me the heebie jeebies!”

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“You are sick. I think you need to see a shrink or a support group.”

“Too many people in a support group,” I replied. “It’s just that I prefer the company of cows to people. Now what would Oprah call that condition Miss Big Words?”

“Sick! Really sick! That’s what! People need people, haven’t you ever heard that Streisand melody,” my wife said as she sang off key, “People needing other people…”

“If you think I’m sick you should read the article I found on the Internet about frotteurs,” I said. “According to the article, frotteurs are creeps who get their sexual jollies by rubbing up against other people, especially in elevators. Just the thought of frotteurs coexisting with me on the same planet is enough to make my flesh crawl. Has Oprah ever had any of those people on her show?”

“Not that I know of,” said my wife.

“Well, those are the kinds of people you find in town, or at least you would if our town had an elevator. Which it doesn’t.”

“How long have you felt this way about crowds?” asked my wife.

“Ever since the first time I went to a really big city. I was 18 years old when I went to Washington D.C. for an FFA leadership conference. The whole town seemed to be filled with pickpockets and perverts. And that was just the politicians. The other residents freaked me out too. I saw things there that I’d never seen before, like subways and transvestites. Men dressed in dresses I tell you!!! I’d never seen such a thing! It was the 1960’s and I was wearing my FFA jacket and had real short hair. Those people gave me the strangest looks, as if I was the weird one.”

“They’d probably never seen an FFA’er before,” suggested my wife.

“Maybe not, but ever since then I’ve avoided any town that showed symptoms of civilization, like sewers instead of septic tanks, parking meters and elevators. You won’t catch me at a football game with 100,000 people in the stands crowded arm pit to arm pit. I’ll barely go to a local game and that’s only because the visiting strangers sit on the opposite side of the field where I can keep my eye on them.”

“This is unhealthy for you to feel this way,” said my wife. “Oprah says people like you need to be desensitized. We’ll start off slow by taking you to the auction market where you can be amongst people of your own kind. Then we’ll slowly build up your courage by taking you to bigger and bigger towns until we eventually find one with an elevator. As a final test you can enter the elevator with other strange people.”

“I don’t know why you want to punish me like this, but I’ll tell you right now… if I get on that elevator and somebody rubs up against me, she’d better be good looking and wearing a dress.” I paused, “and be a real woman!”