Gerald turned and stared at her. “What am I looking for?”
“Do I have a neon sign hovering above me that says, Lunatics, welcome?” Birdie pointed toward her head.
“Not that I can see. Maybe if you’d step over by the window,” said Gerald. “Why?”
“Well, you know how it is when things happen to you that if you were the star of a sit-com, it would be funny, but since you’re the star of your life, it’s not funny, and it doesn’t get worked out in a half-hour? Well, that’s the sort of stuff that’s happening to me,” said Birdie.
She shook her head. “I must have Crazy-bait hanging around my neck. I’ve looked, and I don’t see it, but it must be there. I guess only the Crazies can see it, anyway, but if things keep on going like they have been, I’ll be able to see it before long because I’ll be crazy, too.”
“Settle down,” said Gerald. “A mind is a pretty easy thing to misplace. Just make sure you keep track of yours.”
“I’m trying. But why are the nut-cases congregating around me? I try not to encourage them. Is it my aura? Do I have a crazy aura? See, they’re already having an effect on me. Only kooks use words like aura. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word aura before.”
“Oh, you might have used it before. That doesn’t mean anything,” said Gerald.
“I don’t understand what draws them to me. It can’t be my welcoming vibe. My vibe is distinctly unwelcoming. I’ve made it a point to be unwelcoming. You know how unwelcoming I can be.” Birdie’s voice rose.
“I can’t fault you on your industry in that area,” said Gerald nodding his head.
“Seriously, I’ve gone from just an occasional, intermittent Crazy-encounter to three bona fide, constant Crazies in the last six months.” Birdie held up three fingers and waved them at Gerald. “From NO full-time Crazies to THREE full-time Crazies. That’s a 300% increase, if my math is correct. Even if my math’s not correct, it’s too much.”
“If you’re going to start talking about math, then maybe you have gone ’round the bend,” said Gerald. “Just think. Our math teacher was right when she told us we would use percentages in our everyday life.”
Birdie sat slumped in her recliner. “When it was just intermittent Crazies I could rely on my go-to strategy which is, run like the wind, but you can’t do that when the crackpots are integrated into your daily life. You can’t run from your life no matter how insane it gets.”
“Sometimes, when they’re in the midst of all their lunacy and sharing it with me as if I had asked them to, I’d like to just call a spade a spade, or in this case, call a nut-job a nut-job. I’d like to say, That’s the goofiest thing I’ve ever heard. ” She ran her fingers through her short hair in a quick dismissive gesture.
Birdie leaned her head back and exhaled loudly. “But I can’t, because what my mama taught me shakes its finger in my face. ’Birdie, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ Personally, I tend to believe that if you can’t say something nice, it’s because there’s nothing nice to say, but I keep my mouth shut and practically get a cramp from the involuntary eye rolling that I have to suppress.” She closed her eyes in sympathetic response as she mumbled something about everybody and his duck being absolutely bonkers.
Gerald took the lap quilt that Birdie had pulled up to her chin and tucked it in around her. “There, there, my little loony tune. Save some crazy for another day.”