How To Freak People Out Without Even Trying

Me: “Do these cookies have an expiration date? I can’t seem to find one.”

Cashier (genial red-haired 30-ish man): “Probably. Not sure where it is. I know they’re not expired, though. We throw out everything that’s expired.”

Me: “But I’m not going to eat them now. I’m not sure when I’ll actually want them. If that doesn’t happen for another 6 months, I want to be sure they’ll still be good.”

Cashier: [Walks to the other register and motions to the man behind me that his turn has come.]


Leader of discussion event on disability in Judaism: “Let’s go around and discuss why we’re here.”

[Most people are there because of family members or friends with severe disabilities, but several have obvious physical difficulties. Overall, it seems to be a group of intellectually oriented, highly educated people.]

Me: “I’m interested in the topic overall, and I also have a learning disability.”

Discussion leader: “Let’s break up into groups and study a piece of text.”

[Groups are formed. People on each side of me quickly turn away from me. No one wants to work with the person with the learning disability. I work alone and make a special effort to share interesting ideas when we reconvene as a large group. Afterwards, people seem a bit afraid of me. I walk outside, alone, not chatting with people like I usually do after a discussion event. I had never been identified as having a learning disability in school, and this was the first time I had ever introduced myself that way to strangers. I have to admit that I doubt I will ever do it again.]


Me: “What’s the difference between the Chicken Kiev on the specials menu and the one on the regular menu?”

Waiter: “I’m not sure.”

Me: “Well, one is $15 and one is $13. Does the more expensive one have something special or extra?”

Waiter: “I’m not sure.”

Me: “Do you think I should get the $13 one because it’s less expensive, or the $15 one in hopes that there will be something amazing about it?”

Waiter: [Heads over to another table to take their order.]


Guy next to me on the bus to NYC: “What’s your idea of a really fun night in Manhattan?”

Me: “I guess having some kind of experience that seems to really increase the odds that the soul lives on after death.”

Him: [Goes to the bathroom, then sits next to someone else. (Woohoo: I can spread out! I’ll have to remember that line when people sit next to me in the future.)]


My neighbor: “Have you ever been married?”

Me: “No.”

Him: “Do you ever want to be?”

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Me: “No. I don’t have any desire for sex, and I prefer to live alone.”

[Both elevators arrive in the lobby at the same time, and he makes sure to get on a different one from me.]


I walk quickly into a pizza shop’s open door, after wandering around for at least 35 minutes trying to find it.

Raspy Woman’s Voice Behind Me: “Excuse me, I’m not a professional door holder.”

Me: “Oh, uh, sorry, I didn’t see you holding the door. I just thought it was open.”

Her: [Shoots me a withering look.]


Me, to my dentist, who is trying to show me how to brush my teeth more effectively: “Just pretend you’re talking to a child with really, really bad coordination and an inability to understand when people tell her to do something with her hands or her body.”

Him: [Silence]


Me, to my doctor: “Could you possibly recommend something other than exercise that could boost my metabolism? Like, I don’t know, a drug, or a form of meditation, or a new way to communicate with my body?”

Him: “But your weight is totally fine.”

Me: “But I don’t require very much food at all. I’ve given up dinner to allow myself to have a really enjoyable lunch. Even two nice, enjoyable, full meals a day promote weight gain for me, with no snacks at all. You have no idea. You are probably over a foot taller than I am, and you’re a dude.”

Him: “So you don’t eat anything at night?”

Me: “I mean, maybe I’ll have a cupcake or something at a bakery.”

Him: [Silence]


Me, to the owner of a small brown poodle: “He is adorable.”

Her: “Thanks so much.”

[The dog wraps himself around my leg, and I pet him.]

Her: “Wow, you two are really bonding.”

Me: “Well, he reminds me of my brother. They’re both really curly, and curly hair and fur bring up some wonderful memories for me.”

[She starts laughing, calmly at first, then so hard she has to sit down on some nearby steps. The poodle starts walking around in circles. I walk away, wishing I could laugh too since this is genuinely hilarious, but I’m in the wrong state for that. Later, hopefully, I’ll start to feel it so I can laugh about the memory.]

Image Credit: 
Zachary Nelson on