I saw the grin on his face when he walked through the door. At first I thought he was just a happy old fellow.
A short conversation later I realized that he was slightly lost and considerably reality challenged. I pointed him towards his correct destination on the opposite side of the parking lot.
He took two steps away then turned back.
“You’re sure a nice lady,” he approached. “My name is Ernie. What’s yours?”
“Pamela.” I told him as I shook his extended hand and attempted to smile; I hoped it did not reveal one of those “Oh dear, this is inevitable” grimaces.
His eyes brightened – and he slipped into the chair beside my desk.
“Oh, that’s a beautiful name,” he gushed.
Then he put his hand over his heart.
“Pamela is my soul-mate’s name,“ he said with a serious face and a deep sigh. “She’s in the Looney Bin. She shouldn’t be there, though. Someone was just jealous of her and that is why they put her there.”
He added a few more sorry facts, and then looked at me expectantly.
“I’m very sorry that happened,” was the best I could muster
His demeanor switched abruptly to the original wide grin and he leaned in closer.
“Have you seen Indiana Jones?” he asked in a conspiratorial undertone.
I was somewhat startled by the subject change but responded appropriately by shaking my head ‘No.” I also mentioned that my husband wanted to take me to see it and then I began to shuffle things on my desk.
He bent his head, arched his eyebrows, and darted his eyes back and forth in a secret agent impersonation.
Very loudly he whispered, “Well, I know that loose lips sink ships… but I just have to tell you … I’m in it!”
“The movie?” I kicked myself for even giving him another opening.
Excitement required him to draw a deep breath before he nodded his head in self-congratulations. Then he excitedly tapped his pointy fingers on his chest.
“I’m him… Indiana Jones.”
“Wow!” I recovered from a brief speechless moment and added, “Imagine that.”
There was more posturing before he eventually shook the hands of two of my younger co-workers, tipped his hat, and walked out the door.
When he was safely away, we all laughed – especially about Pamela in the Looney Bin.
A week later I was away from my desk when I saw him again walk through the door. .
“Hi Ernie,” I called from the opposite end of the room, “you’re on the wrong side of the parking lot again!”
A bewildered expression crossed his face and he was clearly puzzled.
“Have we met?” he queried.
“Yes…. You were here last week,” I clarified.
He seemed more at ease then, and promptly asked for my name. I couldn’t help being somewhat playful with him.
“Aha!” I giggled, “My name is the same as your lost soul-mate.”
Befuddled once more, he scrunched his eyebrows in concentration.
Then he broke my heart with his next revealing words.



ablondeblogger said…
Awwwww! Poor old man. :(

There's a younger, mentally disabled man who works at our local Starbucks. He is so friendly and has a heart of gold.

But every time Amanda and I go in, it's the same routine. He tells us we're beautiful (*smile*) asks us our names, tells us his, then shakes our hands. Every single time.

So we go along and pretend we're meeting him for the first time too. And he makes me smile each and every time.
WT said…
Julia - Pamela, tomayto - tomarto.
ChrisB said…
I guess he's happy enough, especially if he chats to lovely ladies like you.
Jeanette said…
Hi Pamela, That man is proberbly very happy living in his own world ,, bless his old heart...
Ian said…

You can be his dream girl next time. Make his day. Poor old guy sounds like my grandfather before he passed. He had to stay in a really nice facility and thought he was on a cruise. :)
Heather said…
Too funny. Did you ask him which other movies he's been in?
nikki said…
Pamela, Julia, close enough!
Claudia said…
Hi Julia! Nice to meet you. :)
I hope everyone treats him so kindly!!
Kaycie said…
You're such a doll.

Poor old guy. I hope he lives in that dream world all the time; I'll bet he's happier there.
Karmyn R said…
TYPO - you changed his name from Ernie to Bernie 1/2 way through the story. Sorry - I had to catch that.
Jan said…
Jeez, I'm glad you were there to help. We all need help, once in a while.
This story made me smile, beginning to finish. But I do feel sorry for the poor guy...
poor guy. you were sweet to play along with him, though, even if you DID call him bernie.

no wonder he was confused ;-)
Pamela said…
ooopsss.. fixed it back to Ernie.
Karina said…
AWWW…you know, at least he is really happy in his own little world. They say “ignorance is bliss”, and it’s in cases like this that you know that’s probably true.
amanda said…

Thanks, that made me snort.
lisaschaos said…
Oh Julia, I'm so sorry. ;)

If my bio-dad was still alive I would swear it was him, the name was the same and he had schizophrenia. It kinda scares me that I can spell that word. :)
Kila said…
LOL, oh my, that's hilarious!

Reality challenged. I'll have to remember that. We have a few customers worthy of the title.
kailani said…
I wonder what your name will be next week?
swampy said…
Oh, that makes my chest hurt.
DubYaT...your comment reminds me of your post the other day: AHole.
M@ said…

That's one of the best stories you've ever told on your blog. And thanks for having enough sense to set it up that way. Powerful.
little wanderer said…
sad, funny and true well told pamela or is it julia!
Hayden said…
what a wonderful - and wonderfully told - story!
Debbie said…
What a lovely story. And what a sweet man.

A very good read, Pamela. :)
karisma said…
He may be an angel in disguise! He made you smile! Did he not?
dawn said…
That is pretty funny. Sad he didn't remember the conversation or meeting you. Perhaps next time he comes in he will remember your name is Tamara;-). At least his name remained the same.
Amanda said…
Great story Ma. Ernie is lucky to have someone who, at least, remembers HIS name.

Hilarious. REALLY!
judypatooote said…
So Sad....since I've grown old, I seem to cry over old people and breaks my heart to see some old people are so lost in their own dad was always getting lost....and when I watch those darling dogs up for adoption, I bawl....they have those big innocent eyes.... loved your story...I haven't been by in a while, so I have a lot to catch up on.....and I must say, I'm sure you made Indiana Jones's day...even though he didn't remember it....LOL,,, judy
Betty said…
Reminds me of this saying:

"I am in my own little world, but it's okay. Everyone knows me here."

Hope your weekend is going grea.
laurie said…
do you work in a public library?? i used to work in the library in duluth. we got guys like this all the time. they had nowhere else to go.
Peter said…
Hi Pamela, you surely attract some characters... Ernie sounds pretty normal to me though Pamela/Julia.
Congratulation to the old Biker, that's a pretty impressive go-around.
Glad to hear there was a successful resolution to your komputer woes, hope the same can be said for the Kat problem (what are you going to name the dog?)
Sorry to comment on 3 different posts at once... but it saves 2 of the WV hassles.(ajxktfmb.. yuk)
Jenni said…
What a great story and an interesting character. It was good of you to be so kind and give him someone to talk to for a while. I think everyone needs thatk, no matter how crazy or sane they are.
Susie said…
Poor Ernie..Glad you lent him a listening here for a bit. He sounds like a lost and confused soul. Perhaps he has more than one soul mate??
What a sweet interaction. We're reading Flowers for Algernon right now - reminds me of Charlie.
coffeypot said…
It sounds like something I do all the time. Are you sure it wasn't just a senior moment? Was it me? Me? Me, what? What were we talking about? What am I doing here? How'd I get here? I'm leaving now.
Jettie said…
YYou know what>> I think you are so sweet!!!!!!!!!!!! You were so kind to him and let him chat with you and Iam sure that made his day!!
Walker said…
Classic. Another charming story. Thanks Julia.
Gwen said…
Hi Pamela.
That was a loverly thing you done.
Thank you for my B/Day wish,
hope all is well with you and yours
Shauna said…
Wow! Reality check!
Desert Songbird said…
Pamela, Julia - they sound the same to me. Oh, wait...sorry. I just woke up...
wendster said…
We had a neighbor like that. He wasn't even 40 yet, but you could tell that EVERY word that proceeded from his lips was reality challenged.

He sure was entertaining to listen to, though.

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