WTF moments with strangers.

Heh, my wife and I got this treatment all over Indonesia when we were backpacking there (many years ago): many of the oriental tourists, inexplicably to us, wanted to have their pictures taken with us in front of famous landmarks like Borobudur. Of course we oblidged, but I always found it puzzling.

Must be a cultural thing.

A few months back I went out to a bar after work with a number of my co-workers as we do most Fridays. On this particular occasion, it worked out that I was the only man in the group. We were seated at the outdoor tables so the smokers could smoke. So we’re all laughing and talking and having a good time when this fellow about my own age comes up and asks me for a cig. I give him one and he thanks me and takes a seat at a nearby table. Then he commences to angrily ranting at me for being there with “all those women.” Some of it seemed to be resentment that he was single and unable to get any dates and I was unfairly hogging up all the pussy. Some of it was that I must, obviously, be a “faggot.” This bar is in the same town where I work and is also where I hold informal meetings with administrators, so decking the guy wasn’t an option. I asked him to cool it a couple times, but at that point he’d pretty thoroughly killed everbody’s buzz and we all just left. He was still sitting there simmering. I’ve seenhim there a couple times since, but he hasn’t repeated the performance.

I had an angry woman claiming to be an officer from a bank calling me and insisting I stop lying to her about the location of “Petyr”. I pointed out I knew no-one of that name and that bank officers usually do not call Sunday morning at 7.

When I was in college I walked into town to go to the drugstore. It was an old building with a narrow door, and when I opened it there was a tall, skinny, blonde, weathered-skinned man coming out. I moved aside to go around him and he moved in the same direction, blocking me. I moved to the other side and so did he. We were doing that little dance you sometimes do trying to get around someone when you both go the same direction.

Then his eyes got really wide, he got a creepy smile and said, “What did you expect, then?” and strode away. I was all ???

It was my “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” moment.

Going through the TSA security checkpoint at MIA, I, dressed casually in jeans, am in line just in front of a chatty, well-dressed woman wearing stiletto boots. Get to the trays and remove my Vibram FiveFingers to go through the metal detector. Get to the other side waiting for my shoes in the last of my trays to come through the x-ray. Chatty woman notices that the TSA worker does a double take at the monitor just before my FiveFingers emerge and the woman pipes up, “They *always *think my boots are weapons.” :rolleyes:

As I’m putting on my FiveFingers, another TSA officer nods at them and asks if me if they’re comfortable. I’m accustomed to inquisitive strangers commenting on my funny-looking shoes, so I happily replied that they are like being barefoot all the time and, in fact, I love them. What I didn’t expect was being insulted by Ms. Ego right behind me as she loudly proclaimed, “But they sure are UGLY!”

After I recovered my lower jaw, I casually replied, “Not as ugly as the bunions those heels are going to give you.”

My brother had this happen to him and his family when they were in China. He happily played along to the point of reciprocation. He now has a stack of photos of his family with assorted Chinese families.

Back in 92 or so, waiting in line at the Amtrak window at Grand Central Station to purchase a ticket (it was often faster to do that, than to go over to Penn Station and wait there). The B Team was clearly on staff that day, however - he was taking 5-10 minutes per passenger to handle the ticket sales.

A woman came up to each and every person in line and begged to be allowed in front of each of us because she was in a hurry…to buy a ticket for the following day. :rolleyes: She was quite nasty when everyone refused.

Many years ago, at a pizza place in NC, Typo and I were eating when a single woman at the next table rather obtrusively started up a conversation with us, asking our plans for the evening etc. And rambling about how Jesus was really sort of the first lawyer… We were basically trying to wolf down our pizza, thinking WTF and mumbling nonresponses. We were terrified she was going to follow us to the movie theater.

I have so many of these but I’ll just share two.

Back in the 80s I lived outside NYC, and acid and other ugly wash jeans were in. I had taken a pair of black jeans and run them through a bleach bath so that they turned out sort of gray with white streaks. One day I wore them into the city, which in the 80s was full of homeless people passed out on the sidewalk and wandering around. While I was walking down Broadway a homeless guy looked at me from his seat on the sidewalk, got up, pointed at my jeans, and said “Those pants make you look fat.” He then turned around and sat back down. The thing is, he was right. I never wore those horrid jeans again.

Also back in the 80s, my husband had left me and I was visiting my parents in Florida at their home on the Gulf. I was taking a long walk in the early evening to try to snap out of my depression and was approaching a house with a few junk cars on the lawn and Harleys parked randomly all over. A few burly, mean-looking guys were sitting around drinking beer and working on one of the car engines. I was in my 20s and blonde and for a minute got a little nervous about walking past them, because sometimes men would say things to me that made me uncomfortable. Sure enough, one of them turned to look at me, looked me up and down, and then pointed to the sky and said, “Would you look at that sunset? Isn’t it gorgeous?” and smiled. I smiled back and we stood there for a minute, watching the gold and orange sky as it reflected onto the Gulf, and then I said “Sure is,” and walked on, feeling so much better about myself and people in general. That burly biker has no idea how much that one little line meant to me.

Japanese girls took their picture with my friends and I (Americans all) in St. Peter’s Basilica. We were baffled - and since none of us had any languages in common, it took them quite awhile for them to convey what they wanted to do. We thought they wanted us to take pictures of them together with their camera.

I’m in a number of photos with complete strangers in India, too. I wonder what the heck those people will think when they look back at those photos someday. “Hey, it’s the white girl we saw in the park that time!” :confused:

I used to ride the el in Chicago and had a number of weird conversations with strangers. Most memorable was the time a guy tried to introduce me to the brilliance of Lyndon LaRouche and got really really really upset with me when I brushed off LaRouche as a nutter.

Freezing cold dark night in February. Couple comes in, states they are living in their car with their kids, they have social services, they need a place, they are desperate.

Agent: We have a place you can move into right away. I just need to verify payment.

Woman: Where is it?

Agent: On XYZ Avenue (street two block from where I was living).

Woman in a very haughty voice: I’m not living there.

I’ve posted this before but it’s probably the best WTF moment I’ve ever had.

There’s a big poster at work of two elderly women. It’s labelled “Helen Keller and her friend Polly Thompson.”

A woman stopped at it and said “That’s a great picture! But why are there two of her? Oh, I get it. In one, she’s not wearing her glasses.”

About two years ago I was in Venice on vacation. An elderly Italian man tapped me on the shoulder.

Old Italian man (shouting): Hey, where you from?

Me: America

Old Italian man: USA?

Me: Yeah USA

Old Italian man (still shouting at the top of his lungs): Yeah USA!

He then pumped his fist triumphantly in the air, smiled and walked away. I guess he really liked America?

In Barcelona, a few years back, staying at a hostel with my two best friends.

It’s a pretty typical hostel, in an old college-dorm style, with rooms with double bunk beds and bathrooms shared between two rooms.

We came in pretty early that night, tired off our asses from walking all over, and a leeeetle overcome by the many rounds of Sangria that passed for our hydration.

By around 9 pm, I was in bed, about half-conscious, one of my friends had headed out to find us something to eat in the room, and the other one was in the tiny little bathroom, taking a shower.

This strung-out looking young man comes in, looks around and does some obvious mental calculations about the occupants, throws his stuff down on the one empty bunk, looks over at me and nods. Then he turns to head into the bathroom, and opens it to see my other friend wrapped in a very short towel.

His reaction? “Dude… You’re a GIRL!”

Priceless. He got even more confused when my other friend came back. I’m pretty convinced he thought he had ended up in a porn flick - “Heck yea, sharing a room with three chicks! Hot damn!” Poor dude was sadly disappointed.

How old? He might perhaps have memories of WWII that made him pro-USA.

I’ve got a suggestion for where he came from

:dubious: The US and Italy were on opposite sides of WWII.

Read more.

Very funny and yeah, sometimes its refreshing to hear someone express something like that - it sounds like it should be wrong, but there’s really nothing wrong with it and it has a quirky charm. Been there (although, not as a white girl…;))

Or he might just have won a bet with his friend over which country SecretaryofEvil came from. I sometimes like to play the “guess which country the tourist comes from” myself, and Americans and Japanese are usually the easiest ones to spot:cool:

Years ago, I (black male) was walking down the streets of San Francisco with a white male friend. As we pass a man leaning up against a building who appeared to be homeless, he says, in a very friendly way, “There go the REAL Salt & Pepa!” We cracked up, and he laughed with us. That was the entire extent of our exchange. No idea what prompted him to say that, but it was hilarious and still makes me laugh when I think about it.