John is pretty perplexed that no one seems to want to share his love of trains, isn't he? As team_kelpfroth pointed out, it doesn't seem to have ever occurred to the man that dressing like an old-time railroad engineer might just be a bit of a turn off. Your average joe might just see ol'Choo Choo Johnny as being off his rocker. Remember the episode of the Simpson where Homer became Mr. Plow and his encounter with Adam West? Everyone in the neighborhood is probably muttering 'Back away slowly. Keep smiling. Don't make eye contact.' by now. Even when he's not all gussied up, he and his family stil dress to repulse. I've noticed a consistency in the way the main characters dress in that they're all twenty to twenty-five years behind the fashion curve. No one quite knows to make of someone who seems to conduct a twice-yearly raid on consignment stores because of her antipathy for current styles. They either think Elly and the others are too cheap to buy up-to-date clothes or the Pattersons are living light-years beyond their means. Either way, they have the distinct impression that this is a family with a dangerous inability to spend money wisely and thus avoid them.