Friday, June 5, 2009


Here are the three weirdest people I have seen/met in Ralph's, over all my years here in LA:

  1. The Gas Mask guy. Picture this. I am walking down the aisle, checking out the prices for Arrowhead Water, minding my own business, when I continue strolling down the aisle, and all of a sudden, this guy turns the corner and walks into my aisle. He was wearing the scariest looking gasmask type thing over his face. My heart stopped beating, and I thought for a second he was some alien. Seriously. It looked totally freaky. I thought he might have a laser gun, or brain sucking helmet device. Apparently he frequents Ralphs often (is that repetitious?).
  2. The Garbage Bag Lady- While I'm waiting to do the self check-out, which b'chlal, they should only let people use it who know how...So the lady in front of me was wearing twenty different white garbage bags wrapped around her ankles, wrists, neck, you name it. Her fingers were like taped up, also. And guess what she was buying? That's right, more white garbage bags. She had bags over her fingers, or something, and she was having trouble touching the box of bags that she was buying. It was very weird. I'm not sure if she had just gotten plastic surgery (it's LA, remember), or she was just really OCD about not touching anything. I'm not sure, but it was strange....
  3. The transvestite prostitute-Okay, this is a whole story. Maybe grab a cup of coffee for this. I'll wait. Go ahead.
Okay, so I was waiting outside Ralph's, with my purchases in my cart, waiting for my pickup (this was Shiur gimmel zal, maybe shiur beis?). And of course, I was minding my own business (that is how all my stories go, have you noticed?).
This guy on a bike came up, with a woman, and he left the bike parked. The woman sat down at a table, and the guy started to go into the store. He turned back, and told her to make sure to watch his bike. She answered, "Me and the Rabbi will watch it!", referring to me.
"Oh, I'm not a Rabbi," I told her, and turned back to watching the street.
She then started talking to me about being a Rabbi, and basically if this was something I wanted, or was being forced into. I answered politely, not wanting to draw out the conversation.
She then came closer, and I had quite a shock. This large woman was actually a man!!!!!
I mean, I could tell pretty much that she was a guy!! And big!! So when she stood and walked towards my cart, I got really nervous. Because guys who dress like women, in my opinion, aren't too normal, and if somebody is crazy, you never know what they'll pull.
But since this guy/girl was crazy, I had to be careful not to offend her. She/he was a big guy, and could easily beat me to a pulp if I couldn't get back inside the store in time.
She offered me her hand, as in, for me to shake.
I didn't know what to do!!
Her hands were huge, and manly. I could see some weird tattoo, too.
Now, I obviously don't touch women. So technically this was a guy, and I could shake his hand, but I don't shake with really creepy strangers, either!!!
And I didn't want to tell her I don't shake hands with women, because she wasn't! She was a guy! I definitely did not want to give him the satisfaction of me admitting he was a woman. Because he wasn't!!
So I just said, "Oh, um, I don't...." and I didn't continue.
She tried to continue for me, (like, bending her head low, and coming up, as if to come up with what I was trying to say) "You mean, you don't...."
"Exactly," I said, hoping for my ride to come.
But then when she realized I didn't shake women's hands, she started talking to me about shomer negiah, b'chlal, and guys and girlfriends....
So I tried to politely end the conversation and answer her questions as minimally as I could. I explained about how a man only will touch his wife, and boys and girls don't come into contact before that...
Then a friend of mine came out, and at the best time!!!! I was so creeped out, and just wanted to go back to Yeshiva. It was past midnight, and I was speaking to a transvestite interested in Halachic prohibitions about physical contact between the sexes.
My friend, though, realized this guy was weird, didn't say anything, and walked far, far away from us. Thanks a lot!!
So this guy continued talking to me, and this time asked me about if I thought prostitution was wrong. "Oh, please, why can't she just leave!!!" I kept hoping. But I thought maybe I was there for a reason, and I could convince her out of her awful lifestyle of being a transvestite who charged for his time. I said I thought prostitution was very wrong. The conversation continued, and I forget most of it. Basically she said that some girls had no choice but to enter that specific profession. I said no, it's wrong and extremely bad, and McDonald's could give them a job, they don't have to live with that lifestyle. She tried saying that prostitutes were doing a very noble job, for being with men who were too ugly, etc., to get married and ever be with a woman.
Finally, finally, the guy he came with came back outside, and got his bike. The guy/woman hopped on the back, giving the guy a squeeze and a smile (I almost puked). She called out goodbye to me, and said goodbye to my friend who hadn't said a word, but moved far away, and said, "Goodbye, quiet one."
That's what I called him for a while after, as punishment for not helping me get out of the huge hole I had dug for myself in that conversation.