So I have this neighbor/coworker Tanya who is really strange. Now I will describe the experience I had with her the other day.

I was washing dishes when she showed up at my door carrying a plastic bag; it reminded me a little of Senor Cardgage — was it cold pizza? was it rotten vegetables? or was it the shattered pieces of her former life? Though actually I immediately suspected there must be some kind of drug inside, so I was a little wary. But it turned out that it was just tea. Randomly. Apparently she was bored and lonely and had finally decided to come down and see me at my apartment as she’d hinted many times at work that she was planning to do someday. And drink tea.

She started off by assuming that I didn’t want her there and thought she was weird and strange and creepy for coming to visit me and that I wasn’t comfortable around her. She told me how much she loved this kind of tea and then feared that I thought she was weird for bringing tea over and that I hated it and didn’t want to drink any.

She seemed really out of it — more than usual. She always seems half-stoned, and now she seemed fully stoned — though I don’t think she really was. But I told her that, although I was washing dishes and after that I was going to do other cleaning type things, she was welcome to hang out. At this point she demanded that we go back up to her apartment and watch a movie. I reminded her that I was washing dishes — not that much reminding was necessary, since every dish I own was in the sink and they were excessively visible. She took this answer to mean I didn’t want to hang out with her and I was uncomfortable with the idea of going up to her apartment and that I thought she was weird. I reminded her again that I was washing dishes and suggested that we watch the movie here if it was a DVD. She seemed to be OK with that, but it also seemed terribly important to her that I go up and see her apartment. So, to placate her, I did.

She was talking about how much smaller her apartment is than mine and how tiny her kitchen is and so on… and when we got up there, I saw (as I’d expected) that her apartment is exactly the same as mine. And she has almost no furniture. So I met her cat and confirmed my suspicion that she doesn’t actually do anything; she showed me her posters of Juliette Lewis and talked about how hot Juliette Lewis is, and then completely forgot what she was doing. She set the DVD down three times and forgot where she’d put it. Eventually we left and came back downstairs. There, I continued washing dishes while Tanya forgot entirely that we were going to watch a movie — thankfully, since I really was, in fact, washing dishes. She suggested we listen to Juliette and the Licks, so we did. And she got really upset when I mentioned that the music sounded a little like Melissa Etheridge.

She was there for, like, three hours while I washed dishes and cleaned my apartment. This was how most of our conversation went:

1. One of us would introduce a topic somewhat at random.

2. She would say something completely unintelligible about it.

3. I would make some remark.

4. She would disagree and get upset. Not like she was angry at me, but she would be totally baffled that anyone could have an opinion like that… and she’d get worked up over it.

5. She would go off into a silent, confused, agitated reverie, and we wouldn’t talk for a few minutes.

At one point we discussed our tattoos… hers are all in very visible spots, and she didn’t really have much to say about them. I showed her mine and, when she asked, explained that I respect people who are able to follow their own moral code without question. She didn’t understand.

Her brain seems to be exceptionally fried, and her short-term memory sucks. Among other things, she told me several times that: she likes to talk about things she likes; she doesn’t do drugs; she hates anime, though she’s never seen any; she’s shocked that I’ve never done any drugs; she wants to get out of Colorado, but doesn’t have the wherewithal; she’s done all sorts of drugs and wishes she hadn’t; she hates to read; she doesn’t understand how I can live without a TV; she wished it weren’t Sunday so she could go buy some beer; she’s really a very kind and gentle person who wants to be nice to everyone, even though she doesn’t look like it. And she asked me how old I am, and when my birthday is, about six times.

Everything she said about herself (which was quite a bit, but nothing particularly meaningful) she had to qualify with some sort of disclaimer about how she knew people didn’t think this, or she knew she didn’t look like this to other people, or how she only knew she was this way because people told her. In the same vein, she was very consistently concerned with my impression of her or my reaction to the things she said about herself. I told her I thought she cared way way way too much what other people thought of her, and added with a laugh that that was a rather self-defeating statement. She wanted to know why it was self-defeating. That seemed self-evident to me, but I explained anyway. She didn’t understand.

At one point I mentioned that she seemed lonely, and she was offended; she told me several times in a row that she was offended. Then she went on for about twenty minutes about how and why she was lonely. Several times throughout her visit, actually, she mentioned her family — alternating between how much they’ve fucked up her life and how much she misses them — and her sexually abusive father.

Once she mentioned some movie she’d seen that had an orgy in it, and randomly asked what I thought of orgies and threesomes. By this time I had given up on her understanding my explanation of anything, so I limited my reply to the context of media and said that while orgies didn’t do much for me, I wasn’t against threesomes. She was utterly horrified. How could I think that? That was so wrong and offensive. She couldn’t explain why, however (though she tried), and I didn’t bother to ask her why she’d asked in the first place.

Several times she mentioned that she was going to leave, attaching some self-deprecating comment to the intention. Somehow she never actually left, though, until I managed to scare her away with J-pop. We’d been listening to the Licks the entire time she’d been there, and eventually she commented in a disgusted tone, “Can we listen to something else?” I didn’t bother to point out the fact that this was her music that she’d forced on me, but just asked, “What would you prefer?” “Anything,” she said. “Anything?” I repeated. “Yeah, just put something on; I’ll tell you if I hate it.” So I turned on KIX-S, assuming that she would hate it and eager to hear her deep comments on the subject.

The results were even better than I’d anticipated. She determined about fifteen seconds into the first song that it was “fucking shit” and then spent the rest of the song trying to get me to admit that I was playing some kind of prank on her by putting on music I hated and claiming I loved it. When she finally realized how idiotic that idea was, she spent the next several minutes demanding I justify why I liked this “fucking shit.” “Music is supposed to be touching,” she kept saying. “How can you say in any way that this is touching?” Once she (finally) figured out that I had nothing more to say about it than that I liked the sound of it, she declared in frustration, “Music is not meant to be liked completely.”

Then she finally left, after a number of comments on how much I must be bothered/annoyed/weirded out by/not comfortable with her and her presence, and what a strange and incomprehensible person I was. That was the most amusing part of the entire encounter: her utter confusion with me in general. It seemed like everything she learned or thought she knew about me was a complete mystery, and it was a source of great agitation to her that she couldn’t understand. She even made a comment at one point, in this tone that was confused, sad, and accusatory at the same time, that she’d really thought she could relate to me… but apparently that was not the case.

So that was my hang-out time with Tanya. Which I keep typoing as “Tank.”