Tuesday, March 18, 2008
"Oh The Thinks You Can Think!"
Beyond my understanding. That's how I'd describe some of the recent sightings I've come across in my new hometown. I understand that strange sightings happen almost anywhere you live (like my Uncle Shawn's frequent sightings of aliens and UFOs), but I wonder if this area doesn't have it's own, unparalleled version of "strange." I've written before about the oddities of the area, and now I'm going to write about some of the oddities of the population itself.
After dropping $60+ to fill up a tank of gas on recent blustery and chilly day, I was pulling out of a gas station with my mother in law seated next to me. "Oh. . " she expressed with a tone of disgust and horror. I followed her line of sight to a seemingly homeless man walking down the sidewalk towards us. He looked fairly normal to me as far as homeless people go, so I wasn't totally sure what she was remarking about; I wondered if she knew him or if it brought up a bad memory or something. Not certain of how to comment back to her, I returned to looking the other direction to determine when there'd be a break in traffic so I could pull out. My mother in law sighed again with a very distinct tone of repulsion; "Can you believe that?!" she asked shaking her head as the homeless man passed in front of our vehicle. He looked almost angry, but determined as he strode confidently past the van. "What? Is it that guy?" I asked trying to figure out what she was remarking on. Apparently the man had "forgotten" (and I use that term VERY loosely) to zip up his pants, and was casually exposing himself in broad daylight for all the locals to witness. I'm really not sure of the point of this man's expose' aside from to say that he had something to prove. His little x-rated show would be perfectly fine and normal were he in a nudist colony - but, to the best of my knowledge, there are none of those sorts of facilities around (I'm hoping!). It's this type of situation which reminds me of some classic Dr. Seuss lines: "Young Cat! If you keep your eyes open enough, oh, the stuff you will learn!" (the stuff we don't want to learn)". . . SO. . .that's why I tell you to keep your eyes wide. Keep them wide open. . at least on one side." And that is a motto I'd like to live by - keep your eyes open, but only on one side; there's no sense in taking in EVERYthing that's around you; it's far better to only see half of it.
Continuing on with other strangeties I've come across, let's meet another character - this time at the gym. Really I don't consider her so much of a phenomenon to the area as she is more of a staple at every gym. She's been in every single group class I've attended since joining this gym. At first glance, she's just another lady working out; if you saw her before class, she'd just be quietly doing her thing and preparing for the class, but once that music starts and she's warmed up, well look out! She's on a roll! She's the one who actually jumps at tempo through the entire workout (which is at least twice as much as the rest of the class), and performs even more dynamic moves than the instructor herself. When everyone else runs to get a sip of water and towel off their sweat, she's the one who holds her position and continues working out - all the while admiring her capabilities in the mirror. When the instructor calls out the number of reps remaining for any given activity, she'll voluntarily count down for the group at a notable volume with a slight accent: "Foe, twee, two, one." But the point at which I really have to bight my lip through is when the "spirit of the dance" overtakes her and she begins clapping solo to the beat of the music - kind of like Riverdance, but very definitely NOT. Yes, she's in all my workout classes, but I'm sure she's in all your workout classes too.
The final localaty I'll share today is a tad bit more somber than the others. As I approached a busy intersection with the fam in tow, each of us marveling over our Whatasized Whataburger meals, I quite nearly didn't even see him. . . And sadly, that may have been just the way he wanted it to be. He was on a scooter for older people, and he had been sitting in one of those bizarre little medians between the turn lanes and the straight traffic. Whether it was an inadvertent slip of his finger on the remote or if it was intentional I will never know, but his little buggy suddenly lurched forward at a breakneck speed heading straight into oncoming traffic. And then, just as quickly as it had started, the scooter stopped with the man being thrust forward in his seat, possibly causing some whiplash. I swerved slightly within my lane, and hit the breaks. Fortunately, the man had stopped before actually entering the road. I studied the man looking for some clue to his erratic driving as our vehicle whizzed past his. He appeared to be middle-aged, sober and regretful - with his eyes pointed towards his feet, and his head at half mast. I wondered if this feigned accident was in all reality a suicide attempt which he aborted at the last second. Could this have been a mid-life crisis averted by the sight of our family van approaching? Not wanting to harm any children, did he call off his planned final blaze of glory? I'll never know just what this local yocal in a scooter was thinking, but I do think of him often.
While all of these individuals seem to define the new region I live in, I must admit that though each of them is unique and special, there are probably people very much like them in nearly every corner of the world. It seems that this is the brotherhood of man - all regions and groups so strange and different, yet so alike. And so, we are bonded - everyone of us, streaks, workoutaholics, and contemplative souls - this is the human race.