Odd People (Human, But Strange: Cranks; Eccentrics; Nutters; Etc.)

Min Bannister

Possessed dog
Joined
Sep 5, 2003
Messages
5,372
I always had dozens of friends, every holiday I would cook up a huge feast and just everyone would come over and spend the day. We were invited to everyone's barbecues, and they were all invited to ours. Those were great times.
I visited an old friend recently, and she picked up her phone to call someone as I was talking.
We were having our car looked at the other day, around the corner from an old friend of mine who I haven't seen lately (because of the virus), and I told her I would stop by just to say hello, she said don't bother, I won't be home.
And it's not just me - Mr. R says the same thing, now we don't visit anymore.
I think things change, and people get a bit strange, as time goes on. :)
Have they been very isolated during the pandemic? I remember going back to work in June 2020 after three months of lockdown. Four other colleagues were there and we were all talking over each other and interrupting and all apologising because we had kind of forgotten how to interact with other people. It was very strange. If people have been like that for even longer then who knows how it has affected them?:(
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
Have they been very isolated during the pandemic? I remember going back to work in June 2020 after three months of lockdown. Four other colleagues were there and we were all talking over each other and interrupting and all apologising because we had kind of forgotten how to interact with other people. It was very strange. If people have been like that for even longer then who knows how it has affected them?:(
Yes, definitely the interruption in all our lives from that virus has had horrible effects.
 

Sollywos

Studying for finals of Grumpy Old Lady degree.
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
895
Location
In the enchanted library.
Same here, I don't understand it either - to me it seems that everyone is in their own little world and doesn't give a hoot.
And since the virus, it's worse, as if many have become housebound, working from home, etc., and you just don't see them.
There are people living on the next block from us, who I have not laid eyes on in more than a year!
I have given up calling most myself.
Almost at the same time as you were writing the above I was having a very similar telephone conversation with my friend I'd not spoken to for a while. She lives in rural Wales and I'd imagined what with so many still working from home her village would have developed a good community feel but nope not a bit of it if anything things have gone into reverse! She imagined that living in a small town things would be less lonely for me ... wrong again.

As @Min Bannister says the measures we were encouraged to take to deal with during the height of the virus have affected us in many ways. As a retiree I didn't have a job to go back to, it was interesting to read about how people were reacting to each other. It's not just a case of picking up where we left off as if nothing has happened.
 

Victory

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
1,984
Location
London
I agree with @Ronnie Jersey and @Sollywos

In the UK we have had relative social freedom since late February.
Though into late March we had very high infection rates.

But since they have declined in May, my social life has been very quiet.

I have tried to get people to make arrangements, but they won't.

I cannot understand , because we currently have warm evenings, which for London are rare, and it is wise to make the most of them.

I am puzzled.

Perhaps people are really also worried about spending money?

But the activities I suggest cost very little.
( A walk, a couple of pints sitting outside.)

I can only guess people got very psychologically damaged by the lockdowns, and society at large doesn't realise it yet.
 
Last edited:

Lord Lucan

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
4,204
Not sure that this is 'strange folk' in the Fortean sense, but has anyone ever met someone who seems to disagree with everything you say even if it's pure fact and in any case it's something that you have experienced for yourself? Almost like they'd say it was day if you said it was night?

(I'm not speaking of two people who just happen to disagree on a certain topic/belief or are telling someone they've seen a ufo/ghost etc).

I've had incidences with at least two people who fit this description and it really is annoying to say the least.

One was a young Egyptian woman. We were talking about the Suez canal and I mentioned how, on the second time I'd crossed it, (at night) years before, we didn't use the tunnel, but instead, the bus got onto a rickety old ferry and we crossed that way (I just thought this was the usual practise at certain times of day, as I'd only used the tunnel once before, in daytime a couple of weeks earlier).

She replied that ''No, you wouldn't have done that- why would you have done that when there's a tunnel''? I told her I didn't know why *(I do know now), but that's what we did. ''No, you're mistaken'' she said, ''that wouldn't have happened''..... I gave up with her in the end and left her to her opinions. A very infuriating person.

*(The reason was that the tunnel had sprung a leak).

Some people just have to be right all of the time. My wife and I operate a retail shop and have done so for the past ten years. Generally, we take Tuesdays and Wednesdays off as our weekends. Sometimes however, it's necessary for us to work those days if one of our staff is ill or away.
There are customers who only come in on those days and will say to us ''Are you new owners?'' and when we explain, no, we're not, we simply don't work on the days they come in, they will not accept that answer, insisting that our manager on those days is the owner.
At the end of the day, their opinion makes no difference, but you could argue with them until the cows come home and you still wouldn't change them.
 
Last edited:

Iris

Justified & Ancient
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,498
Some people are like dementia patients, it's easier to pretend to agree with them.
One former friend, more of an acquaintance now, comes out with things I know cannot possibly be correct and cannot be dissuaded ,so I just bite my tongue now and we only communicate occasionally now by phone.
 

skinny

Convict
Joined
May 30, 2010
Messages
8,394
Location
Glions
Some people are like dementia patients, it's easier to pretend to agree with them.
One former friend, more of an acquaintance now, comes out with things I know cannot possibly be correct and cannot be dissuaded ,so I just bite my tongue now and we only communicate occasionally now by phone.
I now work retail after nearly 20 years as a teacher in various capacities. I have learned to bite down hard on my acid tongue. The general public seems very fucked in the head. I LOVE when a normal person engages with me - we seem to be a diminishing minority, us brainy folk. This is not cynical. I think the demographic is diminishing by the month. It's fkn sad.
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
I now work retail after nearly 20 years as a teacher in various capacities. I have learned to bite down hard on my acid tongue. The general public seems very fucked in the head. I LOVE when a normal person engages with me - we seem to be a diminishing minority, us brainy folk. This is not cynical. I think the demographic is diminishing by the month. It's fkn sad.
I look around and wonder to myself where all the hard-working, ambitious, go-getters brimming with intelligence have gone?
 

Sollywos

Studying for finals of Grumpy Old Lady degree.
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
895
Location
In the enchanted library.
I look around and wonder to myself where all the hard-working, ambitious, go-getters brimming with intelligence have gone?
I think potentially they are still there, Going by my community page on fb there are a lot of youngsters and indeed older people, coming up with ideas, willing to work hard and give it a go. But it's not easy in the current economic climate, No matter how much support they are given on line when it comes to the bit there is just not enough spare cash around.
The general public seems very fucked in the head.
Well I wasn't going to put it quite like that but I think I know what you mean.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
32,598
We've still got Swifty at least.
My 2nd best mate (I don't time grade friendship, he was just the second in order of friends you become tight with) came to my Mum's cremation .. this was a big deal to him he told me .. my Mum used to look after him .. this was during lockdown so I told him I couldn't promise he'd even be allowed inside: "I don't care. I'll stand outside if I have to!" .. fortunately he was allowed inside ..

Two years later, after restrictions were lifted, I invited him to her ashes burial. He didn't answer, still hasn't after we did that .. I haven't sweated him about it because not everyone wants to bury someone twice (I know I didn't) ..
 

ChasFink

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
2,210
I look around and wonder to myself where all the hard-working, ambitious, go-getters brimming with intelligence have gone?
I think potentially they are still there, Going by my community page on fb there are a lot of youngsters and indeed older people, coming up with ideas, willing to work hard and give it a go. But it's not easy in the current economic climate . . .
The general public seems very fucked in the head. I LOVE when a normal person engages with me - we seem to be a diminishing minority, us brainy folk. This is not cynical. I think the demographic is diminishing by the month. It's fkn sad.
For some time I have been of the belief that we are slowly heading for a future like the one described in C.M. Kornbluth's 1951 story "The Marching Morons": ignorance of science and of the obvious detrimental effects of overpopulation has led to people of low intelligence reproducing at a much higher rate than medium-to-high intelligent people. The two groups are growing more distinct and the ratio is increasingly favoring the "morons".

In Kornbluth's story this led to a tiny minority of overworked and exasperated intelligent people throughout society, surreptitiously steering things to keep the wheels turning and avoid a total collapse of it all. We're not anywhere near that point yet, and I don't think any of us would want to face the serious moral decisions that would have to be made if we were. But maybe we can all find little ways to make it better for everyone.

Getting back to the main topic of the thread, but keeping in line with both the above and with the recent conversation about contradictory and socially anomalous people, I can think of two I have met:

In the 1980s or so, I would often speak with a woman at the laundromat. She was obviously in a low income bracket, living in a nearby residence hotel, and had the types of problems you would associate with that. She blamed all her problems - and those of society at large - on "them". Any entity that wasn't an individual she knew was part of "them", even if their goals were at odds with each other: The government. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. Big Business. Small business associations. Mainstream media. Alternative media. Libraries. Book banners. The DMV. The IRS. Landlords. Labor unions. All of these were part of some big amorphous THEM, and I don't mean she had some grand conspiracy theory; she literally could not discern that these were separate entities.

At around the same time, I worked for a studio that did photography and video of weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc. We would often arrive at the venue quite early to set up, particularly if the ceremony and party afterward were in the same location. On one extremely hot and humid day, we arrived at the location to find the air conditioning had been set so high that the place was at near-refrigerator temperatures. This is not unusual; catering halls know that a room full of dancing people will raise the temperature significantly, and usually chill the place down in advance. However, in this case I got so cold that I was feeling pain, and was beginning to feel like my body wasn't functioning well. I decided to step outside for five minutes to warm up.

After a while one of the guests who had arrived early stepped outside and almost immediately started talking to me: "Oh my God! It's so hot I'm going to plotz! You shouldn't be out in this. Come in. You need to come inside." She was insistent that I follow her commands, as if I was either subservient to her or too stupid to come out of the heat. She didn't back down until - a minute or two later - I did come in of my own volition.

Come to think of it, I have encountered several people like this - insistent that I do as they say, as if it were insane and dangerous to do otherwise, and not taking no for an answer.
 

Coal

The Ultimate Skepticus
Joined
Jun 27, 2015
Messages
9,446
For some time I have been of the belief that we are slowly heading for a future like the one described in C.M. Kornbluth's 1951 story "The Marching Morons": ignorance of science and of the obvious detrimental effects of overpopulation has led to people of low intelligence reproducing at a much higher rate than medium-to-high intelligent people. The two groups are growing more distinct and the ratio is increasingly favoring the "morons".

In Kornbluth's story this led to a tiny minority of overworked and exasperated intelligent people throughout society, surreptitiously steering things to keep the wheels turning and avoid a total collapse of it all. We're not anywhere near that point yet, and I don't think any of us would want to face the serious moral decisions that would have to be made if we were. But maybe we can all find little ways to make it better for everyone.
I think it's subtly different in reality. The trend in the UK (I believe) is for those people who are a bit smarter than average (and have a weak degree to prove it) but are not smart enough to realise they don't actually know what they’re doing, gradually insinuating themselves into positions of authority and then making dumb decisions. Think hospital administrators and admin/HR departments generally, multiply damage by two for public sector employees.

I call this the 'goldilocks attitude'; just smart enough to sneak in, trash the place and eat the food, too stupid to realise they're just entitled vandals and thieves. And they've forgotten the bears outnumber them at least 3:1...
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
For some time I have been of the belief that we are slowly heading for a future like the one described in C.M. Kornbluth's 1951 story "The Marching Morons": ignorance of science and of the obvious detrimental effects of overpopulation has led to people of low intelligence reproducing at a much higher rate than medium-to-high intelligent people. The two groups are growing more distinct and the ratio is increasingly favoring the "morons".

In Kornbluth's story this led to a tiny minority of overworked and exasperated intelligent people throughout society, surreptitiously steering things to keep the wheels turning and avoid a total collapse of it all. We're not anywhere near that point yet, and I don't think any of us would want to face the serious moral decisions that would have to be made if we were. But maybe we can all find little ways to make it better for everyone.
You've hit the nail on the head, in my humble opinion.
This overpopulation thing is rampant in my area, which was always hard-working, intelligent people who had high respect for each other and their property, which was kept clean and beautiful, with respectful, well-spoken children. We lived happily with each other and watched out for all the neighborhood children, resulting in a feeling of safety. None of us had to worry about leaving our homes to go to work, because the 'neighborhood watch' was always looking out for all of us.
And that was only a few years ago. That happy environment, and the feeling of working to get ahead and live a good life is now gone forever, sadly. At least in my area.
 

Sollywos

Studying for finals of Grumpy Old Lady degree.
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
895
Location
In the enchanted library.
Well I wasn't going to put it quite like that but I think I know what you mean.
I don't regard myself as particulary clever so I didn't know if it was just me getting old and cynical but it certainly seems to me as if the folk around me are just getting ... well dumber.

Is it about social media, mass entertainment, or even IT itself? Is it the education system? Being told what to think so they don't have to do it themselves?

When I was still working in the university library it really seemed to me as if the student intake every year was getting less clever. I wondered how some of them were even going to get a degree, but get them they did. Partly I think because of the modular system that was brought it. Students did a certain amount in their core subject and could pick a variety of others to widen their education. Word soon got around about which were the easiest to do. I looked into a couple of them, they were 'O'level standard (not sure what the equivalent for the USA is). Of course there were still the bright students who would have been universtiy material in my day, there were still people who worked really hard. (I didn't go to university myself by the way, had seen it as out of my league) But overall it just seemed that standards had slipped. Some of the academics I knew were also getting disillusioned.
 

ChasFink

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Messages
2,210
I think it's subtly different in reality. The trend in the UK (I believe) is for those people who are a bit smarter than average (and have a weak degree to prove it) but are not smart enough to realise they don't actually know what they’re doing, gradually insinuating themselves into positions of authority and then making dumb decisions. Think hospital administrators and admin/HR departments generally, multiply damage by two for public sector employees.

I call this the 'goldilocks attitude'; just smart enough to sneak in, trash the place and eat the food, too stupid to realise they're just entitled vandals and thieves. And they've forgotten the bears outnumber them at least 3:1...
You've hit the nail on the head, in my humble opinion.
This overpopulation thing is rampant in my area, which was always hard-working, intelligent people who had high respect for each other and their property, which was kept clean and beautiful, with respectful, well-spoken children. We lived happily with each other and watched out for all the neighborhood children, resulting in a feeling of safety. None of us had to worry about leaving our homes to go to work, because the 'neighborhood watch' was always looking out for all of us.
And that was only a few years ago. That happy environment, and the feeling of working to get ahead and live a good life is now gone forever, sadly. At least in my area.
I don't think the mechanisms are necessarily as simple as my summary of the Kornbluth story. There is, for example, the tendency for people who did not feel a need for intellectual curiosity, classical education, and "book learning" to pass this trait on to their children, despite the intelligence of the parties involved. And in the U.S. there has been a trend toward having colleges and universities pumping out the kind of graduates Coal describes: the tendency to measure success by the number of graduates employed in their field (even if some postpone that so they can learn more); the well-intended practice of giving college credit to advanced high school students, which has devolved into giving college credit to anyone who can pass the associated high school courses; standardized grade school and high school testing leading to "teaching to the test" rather than teaching knowledge of, and passion for, the subjects themselves. Overall, the concept of a broad liberal education with a healthy dose of the humanities - something that was recognized as having lasting intellectual value in my day - is, while still touted as an ideal, being replaced by the idea of college-as-trade-school.

These are all factors feeding into what Ronnie Jersey described, but I think there's more there. Economic strains can not only accelerate the turning away from intellectual endeavors, but can also lead to distrust of others. In our increasingly online lives we begin to think of our community as not the people who live around us, but rather the people who think like us...

...like the online forums we frequent.


EDIT: What Sollywos said.
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
I didn't want to say this, but lately there is a string of heroin overdoses right here in my immediate neighborhood, something unheard of not so many years ago.
So things have changed, and not in a positive way.
 

Sollywos

Studying for finals of Grumpy Old Lady degree.
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
895
Location
In the enchanted library.
Whilst more and more young people were being encouraged to go to university the universitys were being encouraged to ensure the pass rate was being kept up. It had become all about the money not the learning. Hence the disillusionment of many of the academics. My ex husband being one of them.

He'd mark as dilligently and fairly as possible and then he and the others would get called into a meeting where the head of department would ask them all to reasses and find a few extra marks. It would even get to the stage that they were being begged 'could one of you please please find an extra mark for students x y and z, half a mark would do if two of you could do it, so that we can pass them! No one wanted to lose their job so ....


I didn't want to say this, but lately there is a string of heroin overdoses right here in my immediate neighborhood, something unheard of not so many years ago.
So things have changed, and not in a positive way.
What a waste, so sad but why are so many people going down that route? Wealth inequality and feelings of worthlessness has to be one of them. But as @ChasFink said there are so many other factors to take into account.
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
What a waste, so sad but why are so many people going down that route? Wealth inequality and feelings of worthlessness has to be one of them. But as @ChasFink said there are so many other factors to take into account.
Well none of the residents of our former neighborhood were 'wealthy', but we were all hard-working and ambitious. And happy.
I have the feeling that it has something to do with class, lack of ambition and direction.
As in your post, feeding people their 'education' and life does not really help them.
 

Sollywos

Studying for finals of Grumpy Old Lady degree.
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
895
Location
In the enchanted library.
Having a job you can take pride in and which gives you enough to live on is a great recipe for happiness, You can find yourself in the wrong industry at the wrong time and everything can go to pot overnight!

Anyway we are veering off 'Strange people'.

So I really ought to be phoning an old school friend and I'm having to steel myself. Her heart is in the right place but her strangness from my point of view is her concern that I'm no longer a believer in a religion that we once shared (briefly on my part) ie Plymouth Brethren, and she's really worried about how I'm going to feel when I see so many people being 'raptured' and me being left behind. The problem is I know her religion has been her life and no way will I dis it in any way, so beyond repeating that I no longer believe I'm not going to labour the point! She just can't get her head around people that reject her beliefs!

So I guess we are both 'strange' to each other! :)
 

Mythopoeika

I am a meat popsicle
Joined
Sep 18, 2001
Messages
48,483
Location
Inside a starship, watching puny humans from afar
He'd mark as dilligently and fairly as possible and then he and the others would get called into a meeting where the head of department would ask them all to reasses and find a few extra marks. It would even get to the stage that they were being begged 'could one of you please please find an extra mark for students x y and z, half a mark would do if two of you could do it, so that we can pass them! No one wanted to lose their job so ....
That is pretty widespread and it's been going on for so long now that it's caused 'grade creep'. We keep hearing that young people must be getting smarter, because the average grade has been going up, year-on-year. This is utter hogwash. They are teaching people how to pass exams without engaging their brains and they are manipulating grades to achieve results. Universities have become money-making rackets.
It should not be allowed. Every university must be inspected yearly (and, if necessary, investigated) for such corrupt practices.
 

Iris

Justified & Ancient
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,498
I always thought it strange when my oldest was at university that they were put in groups to do assignments.
Those few like my daughter did most of the work but all got the same marks.
Even further back when I was doing extra subjects for my bachelors and trying my best with assignments the lecturer announced that he was giving everyone the same mark.
 

Coal

The Ultimate Skepticus
Joined
Jun 27, 2015
Messages
9,446
I always thought it strange when my oldest was at university that they were put in groups to do assignments.
Those few like my daughter did most of the work but all got the same marks.
Even further back when I was doing extra subjects for my bachelors and trying my best with assignments the lecturer announced that he was giving everyone the same mark.
I've not only had this experience, so has the eldest Coalette and the lad. Everyone gets the same mark, even the skivers. The lad has literally done the bulk of work himself to ensure he got the marks, while others were simply 'awarded'.

It happens good bit in real industry tbh. Team members who never actually pull their weight, but the current zeitgeist is that a happy team is the most important thing and the most productive, and that there are no bad team members.

Both of these things are incorrect for the most part.
 

Ronnie Jersey

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Nov 22, 2021
Messages
2,095
I know this sounds unbelievable, but I met a man years ago who had graduated high school at 18, and could not read or write, not even his name. Turned out that he was just 'pushed ahead' each year to the next grade. Have no idea how that could even be possible, but it's true.
 

JahaRa

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Aug 23, 2021
Messages
504
Location
Albuquerque, NM,U.S.A.
Not sure that this is 'strange folk' in the Fortean sense, but has anyone ever met someone who seems to disagree with everything you say even if it's pure fact and in any case it's something that you have experienced for yourself? Almost like they'd say it was day if you said it was night?

(I'm not speaking of two people who just happen to disagree on a certain topic/belief or are telling someone they've seen a ufo/ghost etc).

I've had incidences with at least two people who fit this description and it really is annoying to say the least.

One was a young Egyptian woman. We were talking about the Suez canal and I mentioned how, on the second time I'd crossed it, (at night) years before, we didn't use the tunnel, but instead, the bus got onto a rickety old ferry and we crossed that way (I just thought this was the usual practise at certain times of day, as I'd only used the tunnel once before, in daytime a couple of weeks earlier).

She replied that ''No, you wouldn't have done that- why would you have done that when there's a tunnel''? I told her I didn't know why *(I do know now), but that's what we did. ''No, you're mistaken'' she said, ''that wouldn't have happened''..... I gave up with her in the end and left her to her opinions. A very infuriating person.

*(The reason was that the tunnel had sprung a leak).
I am related to someone like that. I mentioned to someone else that I had bought a new toilet and was planning on having it installed once my bathroom was redone. She said "Make sure you go buy a wax seal." I responded that it came with the wax seal kit and she went all over me like I had told her to "piss off". And insisted that I was arguing with her loudly proclaiming that she knew what she was talking about. Another day at her house she asked why our cousins are not coming back from Australia and I said because they are both ill and have no health care in the U.S. She insisted that they could get medicare (one isn't old enough and the other didn't work in the U.S. long enough to qualify for medicare). At that point I should have just gone home. Contrarians are so difficult to be around. No one knows anything but them and I consider it a mental illness.
 

Iris

Justified & Ancient
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,498
Ronnie Jersey I used to talk online( until he died) to a chap from Ohio whose son graduated by having the questions read to him.
He couldn't read and wasn't accepted by the military, took drugs, and his father was forever having to get him out of trouble.
He blamed himself because he came into contact with agent orange in Vietnam and thought that was why his son was like that.
 
Top