Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weird Sightings

Lately I’ve seen a lot of strange things around town. At first I thought it probably just had to do with the change of seasons and the coming of spring. But then I realized that I’ve been seeing these types of things for a really long time. No, I’m not delusional, they really do exist. Let me rewind here…

I guess I really need to start about 12 years ago. My husband and I were engaged at that time. Since the wedding was going to take place in my home town and I was living in Utah, I was spending most weekends driving back and forth making arrangements for the big event. By the time spring rolled around, I was pretty tired. These things take a big toll, even when you’re young. So one Friday afternoon I was on my way to Wyoming. The interstate crosses over a small river called the Blacksfork along the way, about 60 miles or so west of my home town. As I crossed the river I glanced down, and though it passed by very quickly, I could have sworn that perched there, on a small island in the middle of the river, in the middle of the Wyoming plains, stood a flamingo. That’s right, the tall, pink, curved-billed, tropical bird that only resides in much warmer climates. By the time I had gotten home, I had convinced myself that I was so tired I was hallucinating. (It has happened before, but that’s a whole different story.) I did tell my mom what I thought I had seen, and after looking at me like I'd lost my mind, she gently reminded me that flamingos don’t live in Wyoming. I told her I knew, but I wasn’t sure I was really THAT tired yet. As it turns out, on her way back from Utah, after a trip down to pick up additional supplies for the wedding, she looked as she crossed the Blacksfork, and sure enough, there was a flamingo on the island. It seems a local resident put a plastic yard flamingo on the island as a practical joke. I expect my reaction is exactly what they intended.

Now we fast-forward a while….

A few months ago my husband, daughter and I were driving along one evening. We passed a building that used to be a corner gas station/convenience store, but is now vacant. Parked under the very tall gas station awning that is over the gas pumps was a semi truck. On top of the semi truck’s trailer was a ladder. On top of the ladder was a man hanging a sign on the side of the awning. There was also a second man standing on top of the trailer, holding the ladder steady. Because, you know, we wouldn’t want that ladder to slip. The man on top could fall and get hurt! My first thought was of those emails that go around with all the pictures of people doing stupid things. One in particular I know of is entitled “Men at Work”, and it seems to me it had several pictures included that this scene could have rivaled. My second thought was “Wonder what OSHA would think of that one.” I have no idea what the sign said.

We continued on our journey up the street, when not two blocks later we encountered this:
I know the picture is not very clear. It was taken in the evening as the sun was setting… from a moving car…through a window…with a cell phone…that has a scratch across the lens. It’s bound to be a bit blurry. So, in case you can’t tell what it is, that is a car (a Toyota for sure, though I don’t know which model) with a set of mattresses strapped to its roof. In addition, the idiot driving had the window rolled down (during the middle of winter, remember) with his arm hanging out and was holding on to the plastic the mattresses were wrapped in with his free hand. As if he could prevent them from falling/sliding off the top of that car just by holding on to them. I’d be more inclined to believe a hefty enough gust of wind would probably dislocate his shoulder before he’d be able to keep those things up there. And now the icing on the cake, (and my favorite part). Though you can’t see it in the picture, the man had on a pair of those black driving gloves with the knuckles cut out of them. Because I’m sure they help him grip the plastic oh so much better. My thought was simply, I’m taking a picture of this one.

A couple of weeks later, as I was driving to work in the morning, I glanced over as I passed a Cadillac doing 25 mph under the speed limit. I nearly snapped my spine doing a double-take. In the driver’s seat of this vehicle was an old lady with a blue beehive hairdo (gotta love that one) who was literally sitting about 4 inches away from the steering wheel. She was sitting so close that she was practically laying across the steering wheel, her arms encircling it as if she had them wrapped around those giant rubber balls you buy out of cages in toy stores. I told my mom about this sighting, and she commented that she didn’t think the car manufacturers should be able to make the seats slide that far forward, for safety reasons. I told her that I didn’t think the seat was slid that far forward. The seat back actually appeared to be leaning forward, like it would if you were moving the seat to allow someone in or out of the back seat of a two-door vehicle. The woman looked almost as if she were trapped between the seat and the steering wheel. My mom also reminded me that shorter people have to sit closer to the pedals. I told her I didn’t think this woman was short, since she was sitting nearly a head taller than the height of the steering wheel. We weren’t dealing with the old lady from Ferris Bueller peeking out from between the steering wheel and the dashboard here! Needless to say, I was pretty happy I was able to pass her without incident.

About a week after that, I managed three strange sightings in one day. Actually, all in one crisp, 48 degree morning. As I was on my way to work, I passed a man on a motorcycle. A green motorcycle. Not just green, we’re talking neon lime green. And it was not just the accents that were green. It was the entire motorcycle. The man, at least, was wearing jeans and a black leather jacket, so for half a second I thought he might be a little bit normal. But then I saw his helmet. On top of the otherwise normal, black motorcycle helmet, there was a mohawk. A green mohawk. A neon lime green mohawk. It was a perfect match. Well, at least he was wearing a helmet.

Once I got to work, I found myself waiting in line to get into the parking garage. Seems an elderly man in the first car had no idea that he had to take a ticket to get the gate to open and let him into the garage. As I waited, I happened to glance into my rearview mirror. I thought I saw an Eskimo. That’s right, an Eskimo. Remember, the temperature at that time was about 48 degrees. I didn’t figure it was cold enough to be seeing Eskimos. I turned around in my seat and discovered that the Eskimo was actually a man walking down the street in a fur-lined parka. With the hood up. While wearing shorts. While I didn’t think it was cold enough for a parka, it sure wasn’t warm enough for shorts.

I should throw in here that while watching the Eskimo walk down the street, I also saw a man in a brown suit and tan trench coat, with a red bowtie and a Rex Harrison hat, riding a unicycle down the street. Ordinarily this would fall into the weird sightings category. However, I happen to know this man, and have seen him riding to work on his unicycle every day for the last five years. Suddenly it’s not so weird.

So once I finally got into the garage and got my car parked, I walked to the building. Standing outside of the building smoking a cigarette and chatting on his cell phone was a man wearing a red fur coat. It reminded me of the fake fur rugs that were so popular in the 70’s. In addition to the red fur, he had short, auburn hair cut in a marine-style haircut, a long, auburn, ZZ Top style beard, black-rimmed Buddy Holly glasses, and ears with multiple piercings from top to bottom. The kicker? I overheard his telephone conversation. He was discussing getting a facial, and how fabulous this certain spa is. I laughed all the way in to my office.

Just two days later, while shopping early morning in my favorite store to hate, Wal-Mart, I saw another strange being. Although this one was not strange at first glance. The woman was a checker in the check stand I chose that morning.

On a little side note, here, can someone please tell me why it is that in Wal-Mart, it can be 8:30 in the morning, and there will be no one else in the entire store, but you still have to stand in line to check out?

Ahem. As I was saying. So I was standing in line to check out, and I noticed the cashier is a very pretty girl, probably 19 or 20 years old. As I was standing there observing, I noticed how very skinny she was. At first I was a bit envious, since, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not particularly excited with my own weight at this particular moment in time. But the more I looked at her, the more I realized she was not just skinny. She was emaciated. Her face was very deceiving, very pretty and not extraordinarily thin. She also was relatively well-endowed in the chest area, generally not something you see on women who have crossed over into the too thin category. However, I began to notice her thinness with her shoulders. They were the pointy type shoulders that have no padding on them whatsoever. As she turned to put the merchandise of the woman in line in front of me in a bag I noticed that her shoulder blades were very clearly defined. She did have a little muscle in her upper arms, but her forearms and wrists appeared to be just skin-covered bones. She, of course, had a very flat stomach, but the effect was ruined by the fact that her hip and pelvic bones were showing through her skin, and, therefore, through her skin-tight pants. I was kind of happy that the counter blocked my view of her from about the thighs down. I imagine she would not be pretty in a swimming suit. Something like this:
but without the wrinkles and minus about 50 years or so. The thing that was so amazing about this is that, even though I’ve seen pictures of people who are just skin-covered skeletons, I had never seen one close up before. It was a bit disturbing. I suppose she could be one of those people who are just like that naturally. But somehow I doubt it.

Then just this week, on my way home from work, I saw one more idiot driver stopped at a stoplight near my house. I managed to snap a picture of that one as well:
Please ignore the dashboard and the newly-formed crack in the windshield, and the Chevron station in the background. I have yet to figure out how to zoom on my new camera phone. If it’s difficult to tell, that is a small SUV of some sort, with a platform attached to the back by way of the trailer hitch. On the platform is a couch, made heavier, I’m sure, by the fact that it contains at least one recliner. The couch appeared to be heavy enough that it was weighing down the SUV’s rear end. For a few minutes I thought the thing was going to pop a wheelie when it started moving forward again. The couch appeared to have been tied down with only bungee cords, and had no covering over it whatsoever. Did I mention it was snowing at the time?

Finally, the weirdest thing I’ve seen in a long time happened on Easter Sunday. There was a picture taken of it as well:
For those of you that don’t know, that would be my husband on the back of his brother-in-law’s motorcycle. That is his bil on the front. I believe they were imitating a scene from Wild Hogs. My sister-in-law tells me that I don’t really want to know what she had to promise her husband to convince him to get on the motorcycle. I believe she’s right, but I don’t think he’ll ever live this one down.

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