Dear Ursula: I come from a small town and Madison is the first big city I ever lived in. I've noticed that there are these people who walk down State Street and talk to themselves. They also wear odd clothes and do not look very coordinated. My roommate (she's from Milwaukee) says that every city has its characters, but I get flustered when I see them. What should one do when approached by one of them?
Perplexed on State Street
Dear Perplexed: The "characters" you are referring to could easily be your next-door neighbor or college professor. People walk down the street talking to themselves all the time here---it has something to do with Madison's political climate. And since the ozone alert this summer, it has been all the worse. I can tell you haven't been in Madison very long. If you find it unusual that people wear odd clothing and look uncoordinated, wait until you see the real characters. Madison has a great collection of street people. They are harmless and help make State Street the piece of Bohemia it is. Enjoy them---it will broaden your horizons. And there will come a day when you won't even look twice.
Dear Ursula: I met a male friend for a drink the other night and he had a friend with him that I had never met before. The three of us got real drunk and then went back to my place to smoke some dope (some people don't know when to quit). Well, to make a long story short, I ended up in the bed with both of them. You can imagine my surprise, or should I say panic, when I started to sober up. I didn't know how to get out of the situation gracefully. I just started talking and laughing a lot until they got the hint, grabbed their pants and left. Did I do the right thing? Now I'm embarrassed to see the friend again.
Three's a Crowd
Dear Three's a Crowd: One gets out of situations (or should I say messes?) like that by not getting into them in the first place. If you can't drink, smoke and handle yourself, hang it up. It's a tough world out there, honey. If you can't take care of yourself, no one else is going to.