If you live long enough, some pretty weird things can happen to you.
I don’t mean big, serious things like finding Sasquatch sitting at the dining room table reading the papers when you come home, and you know danged well you didn’t leave a door or window unlocked and never subscribed to the National Post anyway.
No, I mean dumb stuff. More especially, I mean little stuff.
Something that just sticks in your mind for literally decades, and it often becomes something to refer to. I mean, you wonder about it later.
They’re called anecdotes or something.
It’s something you can compare other weird stuff to in an objective and analytical fashion.
There was this one time, my girlfriend and I were at the home of friends. They were a young married couple with a daughter of about eight months. We were drinking some kind of cheap wine from a trick decanter.
You put the glass up to a certain place, push, and the decanter filled the glass.
We ran out of wine. My buddy and I hopped in my little MGB, and off we go to the liquor store.
We were sitting at a red light, a few blocks from their place. On the other side of the intersection was a big boxy vehicle. The light turned green, and I started going, and the truck lurched ahead, coming towards me. I was just shifting into second gear, when this guy steps out from behind the truck. He must have been waiting on the curb, blocked from vision behind the truck. I can only assume he was maybe planning to go east, or he might have been better off using the crosswalk, i.e. ahead of the waiting cube van or whatever. Sort of like where people could see him.
He would have been better off to wait for the light, right? That is the safest way to cross a street.
I know for a fact that this was no fault of mine, and I had a witness, although we were both under the influence of alcohol…hey, look, I didn't much want to talk to the cops either. I can admit that, a few decades later.
He came from the left side. He was right on me, literally so. He stopped dead. My front wheels missed his toes. He fell forward onto the hood of my car as I screeched to a halt. I had a quick look at a guy with a big sack over his right shoulder, like Santa Claus.
It only lasted a half-second because the gentleman was presently occupied in the act of smacking into my windshield, rolling up and over the roof, which buckled and made funny noises and then there was a quick glimmer of something red dropping away past my glaring brake lights.
I pulled the handbrake, popped it out of gear and went to go help the guy.
I heard laughing from inside the car, which was maybe not all that weird.
Don’t you understand the seriousness of this situation? Some friend, right? That was my initial thought.
Even weirder, there was no sign of the guy. He sort of came from Seven-Eleven, and right across the street is the doughnut shop. He wasn’t there.
Spinning around, there was the guy, walking east on the south side of the street.
I leapt back in, and drove up a hundred feet. My buddy, still giggling, rolled down his window.
“Hey Buddy! Are you okay?”
He looked over, then straight ahead again, plowing on towards whatever uncertain destiny he had.
I pulled twenty-five feet further on. He was covering the ground pretty quickly.
“Hey, man!” (This was the seventies.) “Are you okay, man?”
Didn’t even look around this time! The man just kept his head down and kept walking.
I have always wondered what the hell was in that big sack over his shoulder.
A big bag of laundry might have saved him from some harm, some injury. Yeah, but what the hell? Why not have something to say, right? Most people would have said something.
Whatever was in that bag saved him some bruising from my windshield, among other things. A big bag of dope? That’s one reason to keep moving, I’ll grant you that.
What was he stealing, tea towels? Soft furnishings? Women’s clothing? There were no stereos or cameras or whatever in that bag. Something hard in that bag would have smashed the windshield, or made more noise in the impact, or been broken itself, right?
But I can honestly say that one was definitely weird.
Weird is one thing. It’s bad enough sometimes. Creepy is worse, so much worse.
Many years ago, I was working in another town. I had rented a weekly kitchenette unit at the local motel. I worked days and had to go to work in the morning.
I’m lying in bed, the lights are out and it’s about eleven thirty p.m. All of a sudden the door pops open and some guy walks in. I sit up in absolute astonishment as he sits on the edge of the bed and starts taking off his shoes.
Who in the hell are you?
I find it hard to believe that I would forget to lock my door. It was a new town, a long way from home, and all that sort of thing. It must be possible, because apparently that’s what happened.
Even so, what are the odds of some guy losing his own way, and of course back then I slept in the raw? Bad coincidence, right? It was harvest time and the motel was rocking. Every room and private barrack-type farm accommodation in the whole town was jammed to the rafters.
And in fact, this guy went into the very next unit when he finally did go.
So there I was, clutching my bed-sheets up around my chest, my voice rising higher and higher as I tried to get this guy out of my room.
Yeah, it turns out he’s drunk. Really drunk.
Finally it sinks in that he’s not wanted in my fucking bed—I swear to God, this guy took off his shoes and laid back on the bed beside my own freaking-out self.
“Can’t we just talk for a while?”
“No! Get the hell out!”
Can you imagine that, ladies and gentlemen?
Can’t we just talk for a while?
Imagine having that brain in your head. No wonder you’re a migrant farm worker, buddy.
Finally the knuckle-head leaves and I threw aside blankey-poo and nipped over and locked the bloody door.
You’d think the guy would have enough sense to leave.
Honestly, in a situation like that, weird is as weird does, but leaping out of the bed and beating the crap out of the guy would have only led to further and more serious embarrassment.
I’m firmly convinced of that: Naked Man Beats Off Nocturnal Intruder, and stuff like that in the paper.
I think could live without it, especially since I was working at the paper at the time.
They really loved that story though--what, you didn't think I was going to waste a perfectly good story like that, did you?
You know me better than that.