Defining Normal

A few weeks (??months??) back I mentioned this girl. Very nice girl. Very different girl. I don’t know her name. But she has approached me a lot since our initial conversation. She seems to feel comfortable starting random discussions with me. Last night after body pump I was filling up my water bottle before I headed out to my car. She appeared at the water fountain in the classroom as if in stealth mode. I didn’t even see her there until I turned to walk away with my full water bottle. She commented that she had run out of her protein drink and needed to refill her container with water. I mentioned that I have never really cared for protein drinks, unless of course, you count chocolate milk as a protein drink, which I totally do! She looked a little confused as to why I would think chocolate milk was a protein drink. I have that effect on people – causing a bit of “dazed and confused” in the middle of conversations.

As I headed out the door she was on my heels discussing all the different ways that she liked protein drinks. I never knew there were so many. I’d nod and politely respond as we left the Y. I told her to have a nice day as I turned towards where my car was parked. She said goodbye, but before I’d gotten two steps away, there she was talking about something else. Workouts. Sports in general. Anything, I think, to talk to me. A normal person. We spent nearly half an hour in the parking lot visiting about nothing in particular. I didn’t need to rush home, but I was ready to be home. Instead. Chit chat. As she talked I could tell how much she needed to have somebody to visit with. So I stayed and continued my polite nodding and interjecting words when I felt she wanted me to interject words. It was all a bit… odd.

After a time, she seemed done with what she needed to say, and said she’d see me around. I told her to have a good day, and I walked to my car.

I kind of chuckled as I drove home because this isn’t an isolated incidence. It seems like my whole life people that we, as a society, would define as “not normal” have had a tendency to migrate towards me. They have felt comfortable with me. It’s like I have a sign on my forehead that says “Hey, talk to me, I won’t bite.” My mom calls it my “soft spot for the underdog.” At times in my life I’ve called it irritating. At times I’ve called it a blessing. Most times I just wonder if maybe I’m one of the “not normal” people, so I seem familiar to them. But really…who’s to say what normal is? We’ve all got our peculiar little quirks that would seem odd to one person or another. So I hang out and visit with random strangers. Those a little left of center. Those who seem to need a friend.

Maybe next time, because I’m sure there will be a next time, I’ll ask the girl what her name is. That seems like a normal thing to do, right?

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