By LJ demand…The Time I Inherited A Weirdo.
‘Long about five or six years ago, I got an e-mail that said “Hey, love your work, I think I knew your mom back when she was an art student.”
This is actually not that unusual. My mom and stepfather are very talented artists, they are reasonably active artists, they taught for quite awhile and still teach occasionally, so once a year or so, I’ll get a “Oh, hey, I took a class from your folks!” or whatever. (Also, they brag about me in class, I am told. I feel the love. And the faint embarrassment.)
To such missives, I generally say “Heh, small world, huh?” and that’s usually about that, unless there’s something else they wanted to talk about, like what color I used for the pangolin’s wig in that one painting* and so forth.
So to this e-mail, I said “Heh, small world, huh?” and thought no more about it.
Then I got a reply, that said “Let’s see, if I remember correctly your father was a naval officer, you had platinum blonde hair as a child and liked unicorns. Here’s some of my art!”
My spine attempted to go through the back of the chair at this point, and I said “Eeeep!”
It is not inconceivable that someone who knew my mother as an art student might have met me as a small child and know these things, but there are ways one can bring that up gracefully, and this was Not It.** (It may also have been the tone of the e-mail, which was rather more unsettling than rendered here, but the e-mail is buried in an archive somewhere, and I’m not inclined to dig it up.)
Anyway, see comments in prior post about displays of knowledge that other people do not expect you to have and said results. (It’s fine if you know these things. I realize some of you have minds like sponges. Just be aware that if you drop that kind of information out of the blue, you weird people out.) Regardless, somewhere between the facts and the delivery, I was seriously weirded out.
The art was…I don’t even remember. Tied in with his “theories” about chakras, time travel, auras, history…think crappy New Age Timecube with aura photography and you’re probably close. Serious moonbat stuff anyway.
I did what I do with all the e-mail I have no idea how to answer…I ignored it.
A day or two later, my mother called, and I happened to remember the freaky e-mail and said “Hey, mom, did you know a guy named Robert (whatever his last name was) in art school?”
“Oh god,” she said.
Well, turns out that way back in the day, when Mom was in art school and engaging in the wide world of post-divorce dating, she very briefly dated this guy, who promptly buried the needle on the creep-o-meter. No fool, Mom dumped him and then called the cops when he started doing exciting things like punching her windshield repeated as she drove away. (Let us now all give mad props to Mom for recognizing the crazy and getting the hell out immediately.)
In those blissful pre-internet days, that and I think a couple of I’m-going-to-kill-myself-now letters (I honestly don’t recall) was as far as it went, and fortunately nothing bad came out of it, but here we were, twenty years later, and…yeah.
Armed with this new information, I still had no idea whatsoever what to do about this e-mail. Fortunately, it didn’t matter, because the next day, there was a long tirade in my in-box about how he thought I was different, but clearly all I wanted to do was steal his ideas and give nothing back, and not to ever contact him again or tell anyone that this conversation had taken place.
I was happy to oblige with the former, but the latter I felt was rather out of his jurisdiction, so here we are.
It’s not as exciting as the story of the weirdo obsessed with my cubicle art back in my days languishing in corporate America, but it was certainly an odd little slice of life. Creeped me out for a few days, but fortunately nothing came of it.
*There is no such painting.
**I would have been fine with “I actually think we met briefly, although you were about seven and probably don’t remember me at all” or any variation thereof.