Monday, May 13, 2013

I Spy Something Bizarre

Every so often I see something that makes me either laugh or shake my head in consternation. Sometimes I do both at the same time.  And sometimes I even have to wonder if I really saw what I think I saw. 

Like, for instance, the other day I was driving home from work. I was still on a side street heading toward the freeway.  Once the light turned green, I made a left and noticed a motorcycle slowing down for the red light. The rider looked – to me – like your typical biker. Big black boots, heavy denim pants. His shirt was sleeveless since I saw a lot of ink covering his big biceps. And he even had a handlebar mustache.  So in that brief flash I thought, He’s not a guy I’d want to mess with!

Not that I would “mess” with anyone – let alone a biker dude, so I’m not really sure why I had that particular thought.

And then in the next instant, I burst out laughing.  Because he had a big teddy bear strapped to the back of his cycle. It was sitting up and facing front and everything. At first I thought it was a live animal – possibly a brown dog.  But then I realized, no, it was in fact a stuffed toy.  And an extremely dirty one at that. I figured it must have logged in an awful lot of road miles to get that filthy.

Why this tough guy had a stuffed animal on the back of his bike is something I’ll never know.  Had someone he loved and lost cherished that teddy bear? Was he just lonely and figured he’d look a little less crazy talking to a stuffed animal than he’d look if he were seen talking to himself?  Was it a sign that only other bikers recognize – or some sort of initiation rite to get into a biker club?

I don’t know – but it was a little bizarre.

And then a few weeks ago when we were in Chicago I saw a sight I’m still puzzling over. We were sitting in the shuttle van at the airport waiting to be taken to our hotel. The van driver had let us board and then he disappeared. While we were cooling our heels, I started people watching, which is what I do when I’m bored and I can’t reach my iPad. The first person to catch my eye was a professionally dressed woman wheeling her suitcase into the airport. Well, that wasn’t the bizarre part. We were, after all at the airport. But nestled inside her purse, which she was cradling with her free hand, was a big leafy green plant.

Now that is a little bizarre, I thought. Since she was walking into the airport rather than toward the parking garage, I deduced that she planned to board a plane carrying that plant. (Hey, I’m good at this deduction stuff, aren’t I? I mean, who else could’ve figured that out??) But the plant did not look exotic in any way. It simply looked like your regular garden-variety (ha) plant that you can pick up just about anywhere. 

Was she hoping to purify the air on the plane? Was it her lucky plant that always accompanies her as she flies the friendly skies? I will never know.

But then I wondered (a) if the plant would make it through security, and (b) was she putting it in the overhead compartment – or shoving it under the seat in front of her? Either way, I couldn’t imagine that there wouldn’t be significant soil spillage.

Airport security is not very consistent these days. For example, I had dutifully packed my liquids in my plastic Ziploc baggie and intended to put the bag in the bin to go through x-ray. But while we were standing in line waiting to reach the conveyor belt, I couldn’t find said baggie of liquids.  So I gave up looking with the understanding that I might be pulled aside to be searched more thoroughly because I wasn’t following the “rules.”  But…nothin’. I sailed right through security. Later I found that baggie of liquids inside my carry-on bag. Tsk. Tsk.

On the other hand, Vince’s bags were pulled off the assembly line and more thoroughly searched because he tried to get a half-filled bottle of drinking water through security. See? Not consistent.

Thus, I couldn’t imagine what sort of search would be required for a green plant. Would they have to dig through all that dirt to make sure there wasn’t anything hiding in there other than a little Miracle Gro? 

Ah well. Bizarre sights simply add some diversity to our everyday lives. We get to stretch our imaginations a little bit as we speculate about the bizarre sights we spy. And, if nothing else, it makes the evening commute or the wait in a shuttle van a little less mundane.

So as my own little act of public service, I think I’m going to strap a big fake alligator to the roof of my car tomorrow. Just to entertain my fellow commuters.

Why, yes, I AM a little bizarre.

Oh, and to those bored commuters on Route 71 tomorrow?  You’re welcome.

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