Bizarre Reactions

People are strange. Yes indeedy.

Based on Sublight’s recount in this thread of a coworker that drove too fast around a corner and reacted by freezing up, covering her eyes and starting to laugh uncontrollably, I invite you to share your stories of bizarre reactions to adverse conditions you’ve witnessed in the past. Heck, make it bizarre reactions to any situation.

I’ll try and get the ball rolling here.

My wife tells of when she was about fourteen and her sister, Lisa, was twelve. They both hopped into the family van and tried to back it up off the driveway so they’d have room to rollerskate. My wife (not then, since she was fourteen) proceeded to back it right into the metal basketball pole. Blam… little sister Lisa was off like a shot. Just threw open the door and started running. No place in particular she meant to go, she’d not done anything wrong, they weren’t about to get punished but still blammie! There she goes!

Now, cut to about six months ago. Lisa’s now thirty two. She was at our house for a week visiting, and it’s equipped with a security alarm. Lisa gets up early one morning to go for a walk, unlocks the door, opens it and sets off the alarm. Blam! There goes Lisa.

My wife and I hear the whine of the door telling us the alarm’s been tripped and call to her to tell her the code but there’s no answer. We look out the window and there’s Lisa hauling ass down the street, a grown woman, legs pumping high into the air like a freakin’ sprinter and mothers with baby carriages scrambling to get out of her way.


She’s a cute girl, really a sweet gal, but boy howdy does she ever freak me out.

Anyone else?

My mentally ill wife.

When we first got together, I’d be working at my computer in the basement while she was upstairs watching TV. Then she’d come downstairs to the laundry room. She’d (obliquely - from almost behind me) see my face, as I was deep in concentration on my work, and suddenly go into full hysterical sobbing. “I see that look on your face! YOU HATE ME!” Which of course, caught me off guard, wondering where the frelling heck this came from, as I was deep into my work and it had nothing to do with her.

For a long while, she got much better. But about two weeks before our final fight, we were sitting on the couch watching a rented DVD. I was staring straight at the TV when she suddenly cowered (literally) at the other end of the couch and asked, in an extremely frightened, shaking voice, why I was mad at her.

Holy shit, woman! I was watching the movie! Where did this come from? For that matter, I don’t believe that I looked even slightly angry. I honestly have no idea what brought that on.

The sign of the end, as her illness was raging back to swamp her mind and carry it to the depths.

I was flying to New York when the plane hit some serious turbulance. People were screaming as the plane dropped a great distance in a short amount of time. I looked at the woman sitting next to me, who was screaming bloody murder, and began cracking up. It lasted about 10 or 15 seconds, and the stopping felt just as bad as the dropping.

I felt very uncomfortable for the rest of the flight, and pretended to sleep. I stared RIGHT at her, and laughed in her face. A stewardess got nailed by something, and was bleeding from her chin, but otherwise, everyone was okay. It was a pretty serious situation. And I laughed. I still don’t know why.

When I was a kid, President Kennedy was shot. The teacher told us the news and a girl in my class burst into hysterical laughter. I’ve heard of nervous laughter before, and that’s what I think Nurse Carmen and my schoolmate exhibited.

For my mom’s birthday, my dad wanted to buy her a ring, since the wedding/engagement set she had had been her great-grandmothers, and he hadn’t been able to buy her one at the time.

I was home for Canada Day weekend, and the party was two weeks later (I drove the 8 hours then too), and my dad asked me if I had time to meet him at the mall so I could help him and my sister choose a ring. While I was willing to do so, I didn’t know that I’d be able to get away from the lunch we had to go to, get to the mall, and then get to the supper I was scheduled to be at without tipping off my mom. Visits home are always packed with visiting friends and family, and I told him that I wouldn’t know until after the lunch, since it all sort of depended on whether it was an early or later meal. He told me what time he was going to be at the mall.

My dad, being who he is, reminded me many times throughout the day, to which I always told him “I don’t know, I’ll see what I can do”. This wasn’t a point of argument between us, just the way we talk to each other (he likes to repeat things multiple times).

My sister, on the other hand, decided that I was being mean, and saying things like "Don’t you want to help dad? Don’t you want to how mom how much we love her?"etc. I told her yes, but that due to other things I had to do, it just made things very VERY busy for me, and that I would try to make it if I could.

This wasn’t good enough for her, it seems, since she proceeded to cry and scream things like “You’re the worst daughter ever! You’re the worst SISTER ever! My FRIENDS don’t even like you! You hate me, you wish I was never born!”

at which point she stormed out of the house to walk the dog.

Needless to say, I was stunned. My SO, who had heard many stories of how hysterical she could be, had never actually seen her like this, and he had no idea what to say, other than comment about how he understands me and my opinion of my sister a bit better!

By the way, she was 18 at the time, I was 20. I love my sister, but MAN can she ever overreact!

I did make it to the mall afterall, as the lunch host was my aunt, and my dad had cornered her to get us to eat early so we could all go. We chose a beautful gold ring, 5 diamonds, 50 points each. The party (a surprise) was fantastic, and my sister has not been that hysterical towards me since, though that’s likely because I don’t live at home!

When my mother told me that she and my dad were getting a divorce, my first response was to burst into laughter.

My boyfriend cracks when we cross the border together. When he’s alone, he’s fine. Throw me in the passenger seat and he loses it.

The first time they asked if we had anything to declare. I mentioned some duty-free we had just purchased. Border-guard nods and asks: “Anything else?”

“Yeah!” says Boyfriend. “A suitcase of food!”

No idea where he came up with that one. We had nothing of the sort. Luckily the border guard found that amusing and let us through without any fuss.

Another time, we drove up to the border guard and the first thing he said was: “Who’s she?” and pointed at me.

Again, the boyfriend panicked. He looked at me blankly, his mouth moving soundlessly. I just started laughing.

I prefer to cross the border alone now.

Heh. My mother & sister were both a little weird in the hospital right after I gave birth to my first son.

My mother, upon being informed by the nurse that it was a boy and all was well, burst into hysterical laughter, grabbed my sister in a headlock and began jumping up and down. Apparently she refused to let go for some minutes. My sister told me later it was a real brain-rattler.

Maybe that explains why, upon first seeing me on the gurney being wheeled into my room a few minutes later, burst into tears and screamed “Oh my GOD! Your hair looks STUNNING!”

Ooops. The hair-comment outburst was my sister’s, not my mother’s.

A few years ago, I was in a head on collision with my now ex-husband’s boss. It was on a rather narrow dirt road, on a hill covered in ice, and he was speeding so that he could make it up the hill over the ice. He lost control and veered into the other side of the road, just as I rounded a corner coming down hill. Everything seemed to go into slow motion, and I knew we were going to hit, no matter what I did, but I tried to pull the car off the road anyway. It didn’t work, and we hit head on. At the moment of impact, I saw his head hit the windshield, saw the spiderweb effect as the windshield cracked, saw blood radiating outward in a spiral kinda fashion, and immediately (I’m ashamed to admit it) started laughing. I was saying to myself “Oh my god, he’s dead. He’s got to be dead.” and I was laughing uncontrollably, unable to stop. I couldn’t get out of the car to go help him because I was laughing too hard. Thankfully, he wound up with only a concussion and some bruises on his chest from the steering wheel. His brother and fiancee, who were also in his van, had been wearing seat belts, and were alright except for bruises from the belts. His fiancee, who’s a nurse, took my laughter in stride, thankfully, but his brother was none too pleased with me.

Mr. TeaElle and I found out that I was pregnant, back at the end of 2001. We’d been married for 21 years at the time, had gone through fertility treatments to no avail, and were pretty flabbergasted that all of a sudden, there I was, knocked all the way up! Since it was the most outrageous news ever, we went home to Mississippi to inform our extended families. We gathered the family around for a big dinner and we dropped the big news.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, my mother, my incredibly solid mother, a woman who stood up to a corrupt system to help register blacks to vote and faced police dogs and firehoses on marches with courage and aplomb, looked at me, looked at my husband, made a gurling noise and slid right out of her chair, down to the floor in a flat faint. It took about ten minutes before she was back to normal.

I guess it’s not so odd in the grand scheme of thing but that’s the only time in my entire life I ever saw someone faint in happily surprised shock.

Another quickie – on her 21st birthday, my college roommate went on a pub crawl and, as expected, got stinking drunk. She came back to our place around 3 a.m., walked in the door, sat on the floor and started praying in tongues. (She – and I – were raised Pentecostal, we know from tongues.) However, I only knew that’s what she was doing, as opposed to babbling incoherently without purpose, because every minute or two she’d jump to her feet and shout “Hallelujah Jesus!!” at a an extreme volume, then she’d sit back down and pray some more. Religious fervor, fueled by cheap beer. Blech.

Surprisingly enough, I didn’t find this through a vanity search.

My freshman year in college, my friends had a roommate with some rather odd behavior quirks, including breaking into inappropriate hysterical laughter when he was stressed out. The first time it happened, he and I were in a non-class lecture together when he suddenly started cackling loud enough for the entire auditorium (including the professor) to turn and look at us. This was during orientation week, so I guess he was feeling stressed over being on his own for the first time.

A few months later, during our first exam week, my friends and I were following Gulf War I on TV while we studied. One of the TV reports was about Iraqi casualties, and they started showing pictures of dead and wounded Iraqi soldiers. Once again, roommate started laughing, nervously at first, but steadily louder and louder. Creepy.

Years ago, I worked at a grocery store as a cashier. I had a long line of customers one day. Standing in front of me was a woman, holding the hand of a little boy, and a man standing behind her. I smiled at her, and grabbed the first item off of the belt to scan.

She let out a piercing shriek. I dropped the twelve-pack of Coke I was holding, and gasped out, “What’s wrong?”

She pointed at the man behind her, shouting, “You rang him up before me!”

At the moment, there wasn’t much sense in explaining to her that I had just grabbed the first item, assuming it belonged to the next customer in line. I hadn’t noticed the bag of donuts she was clutching to her heaving bosom. (Hell, she could have saved us all the turmoil by putting them on the belt to claim her place in line.)

I sure noticed the bag of donuts after she screamed, because she threw them at me. I had the presence of mind to dodge, and they splattered on the board which seperates the side of the register from the next line.

I was flecked with cream, but otherwise unharmed by the missile. Shaking, I bent over, picked up the donut bag, and threw it in my garbage receptacle. The woman didn’t even pause to note my reaction. She bolted from the line, screaming as if being stabbed. Down and up the row of registers she ran, emitting wordless shrieks. The little boy she had left behind started sobbing. “No, Mommy! Not again!” he wailed.

The woman came back to my register, shaking her finger in my face. “Give me my donuts!”

“But, ma’am,” I stammered. “You threw them at me. They splattered.”

"I did not!" she said in an outraged tone of voice. “You ate them, didn’t you?”

“Lady, you need to take your pills,” the man who had stood behind her in line said mildly.

She bared her teeth at him, like a dog, grabbed the little boy roughly, and stormed out.

Pretty odd reaction, eh? But she’s not really the one the story is about. My manager’s reaction seemed even odder to me.

My manager came up then, red faced. Through gritted teeth, she told me to lock down my register and report to the break room. I couldn’t believe she looked angry at me. Just a young thing was I, and like a lot of young things in such a stressful situation, I burst into tears and fled the floor.

As I went back to the break room, the security officer came out of his room, and handed me a cold drink. He told me to calm down, that he had seen the whole thing. He would explain to my manager that it wasn’t my fault.

She would have none of it. Steadfastly, she maintained that ultimately it was my fault. The customer had left unhappy after an interaction with me, and now probably had a “bad image” of the store. Not only that, but other customers had seen me make that woman so infuriated. She did agree, after some persuasion, not to fire me, but to just put a write-up of the incident in my file.

Just a young thing was I, and through my haze of tears, I barely read the statement she wrote before I signed it.

When I told my father about it that night, he told me to get a copy of the statement. He told me that, legally, I was entitled to a copy of anything I signed. The manager saw it differently, and flatly refused me a copy. She said she would “write someting out” for me if I insisted, but would not even let me see the statement.

To this day, I have no idea to what I admitted. I have a vision of my future biographer coming across this document, in which I admit to beating a customer over the head with a bag of eclairs.

I have nothing to contribute to this thread at the moment. But I do this exact thing. I think I am going to be insane later in life.

My best friend and I got into a big argument last weekend, and we were both a bit drunk so it was very over-the-top…

When all of a sudden she just starts laughing. Not like, “Ha ha! Let’s get over this silly thing!”

No. Just sitting there, nervously laughing at me.

It was horrible. Imagine being drunk and upset and having somebody sit there and just titter at you, without smiling, like a freak.

She later (when we were both sober) admitted that one of her reactions to stress, or uncomfortable situations, is to laugh like a tiny, nervous hyena. Apparently I’d just never before seen her sufficiently stressed or uncomfortable enough for me to witness it.

Still pretty damn annoying, I say.

TeaElle, that’s just about the coolest story ever…even if you had to endure a fainting.

And Lissa, your story was hilarious! Those eclairs splattering on the wall will be etched in my mind for a while.

Am I the only one who was expected lists of things like Diels-Alder, Grinard, and Wittig reactions?

Lissa I think we’ve had the same customer! One day, about two weeks after being hired at a locally owned pet store, I was running the cash register myself, the only other employee in the store was the bookkeeper, who was in the back room, where the security monitors were conveniently located.
There were maybe three customers in line waiting to pay for their stuff, and I think one customer with a dog in the self-service pet wash area. The second customer in line was a large woman with a neckbrace. Neckbrace woman was making conversation with the person behind her, and loudly commenting on neckbrace she herself was wearing. The person behind her asked in a sympathetic tone of voice if she’d been in a car accident or something. Neck brace woman started screaming that it was none of the person’s business why she was wearing the neckbrace. The person behind her looked startled and didn’t say anything else. I finish the transaction with the first customer, and neckbrace woman is now at the front of the line. She hands me two small cans of catfood, priced at fifty cents each, and a coupon for two free cans of cat food. I ring up the cans, subtract the price of the cans, and tell her that her total charge is seven cents. She looks at me like I’m crazy, and says “but, they’re free!” I tell her that the seven cents is sales tax. She looks at me like I’m crazy and says, again, “but, they’re free.” I very politely explain that yes, they are, but California state law says that we must charge sales tax on every item that we sell, regardless of whether or not we actually give the item away. She starts screaming at me, saying that I’m harassing her, and I’m going to make her miss her disability bus, and calling me names. I’m frantically trying to back out the transaction from the register (remember, I’d worked there for two weeks at this time) and kept hitting the wrong buttons, because she was screaming in my face. Finally, she shrieks “FINE, I don’t want the stupid cans of catfood, you can keep them!” and then hurls them at my head. Fortunately, I managed to dodge them, and she stomped out the front door, while the rest of the customers just stared after her in shock. I’m shaking, I pick up the cans and set them behind the counter, and ring up the next person. Neckbrace lady comes stomping back in, shouting that she’d changed her mind and that she did want the cans, after all, and where were they? Why weren’t they on the counter, where she’d left them? I pulled them out from behind the counter, and said “because you threw them at me, ma’am.” To which she screamed she did not and she was going to tell my boss about this. She leaves again.

The other customers in the store offer to sign some sort of statement or leave their phone number, in case she tried to claim the incident was my fault. The bookkeeper actually saw the whole thing, on the monitors, and why she didn’t come out and say something I’m not sure. I called my boss, crying, and told him what happened. Two weeks later, she came into the store while I wasn’t there, and proceeded to tell my boss that I’d harassed her, I caused her to miss her disability bus, and that she was going to take her business elsewhere. His response was to point at the cameras, and say “See those cameras? I saw the whole incident, on tape. There were several witnesses, including my bookkeeper. You yelled at my employee, threw catfood at her head, and she called me, in tears. Please. Take your business elsewhere.”

Yay good bosses!

Does anyone else feel profound sympathy for the little boy in Lissa’s story?

I hope donut woman got some professional help, for his sake.

I feel sorry for the donuts. I mean, why should innocent baked goods have to suffer?

My former roommate went into hysterical laughter while telling me her best friend had just been killed in a car accident while DUI.