Friday, July 27, 2007

Five For Friday

Could be I don't post again until The A's return from their voyage to the beach. Here's an interesting one to keep you thinking until then:

Five of the Weirdest Things That Have Ever Happened to Me

1.Remember those days in school as you approach a vacation or the end of a semester or the school year where the teachers kind of give up? These throwaway days were filled with movie watching or study halls, or in the case of my eighth-grade math teacher, board games. My dear friend Charles and I sat down on just on of those days to play Mastermind (You know, where one player comes up with a pattern out of colored pegs behind a little screen, and the other player has so many chances to guess what it is.). I put together my pattern of pegs, Charles took one long look at me, and on the very first go laid out the exact pattern. Fluke, we thought. So we tried it again. And again. And again. Each time, Charles would look at me, think for a moment, and then recreate my pattern exactly. I even made him turn his back to me and covered my pegs with a book. But he still got it on the first try. My now cynical 30-something self is positive there was a trick to it,and Charles was just goofing on me. But as a fourteen-year-old naif, I was incredibly freaked out.

2. After a performance with my church's youth choir somewhere in South Carolina, a woman from the audience approached me and told me with great sincerity that she had looked in my eyes and could tell that I had the power to see demons on earth. Judging by the expressions on the other parishioners faces within earshot, this lady was the resident lovable kook. It did not, however, dampen the weirdness of the experience for me. I had the eebie-jeebies for weeks. Still to this day, I am waiting for my Constantine moment where I look over at a women on the bus and she's really a corpse-faced demon. Ewwwww. Shudder.

3. While on a trip to Atlanta with my youth group (Seeing a trend here?), my friend Kim and I were sitting and talking on the balcony of our hotel late at night. Suddenly, from above the trees in front of us appeared an object that resembled a glowing loaf of bread. It silently floated across the sky and then dropped into the trees. A moment later, it reappeared in another part of the sky, zig-zagged, and then flew out of our view. A UFO. Feeling a wee bit uneasy, we attempted get back into our room, only to discover that we'd somehow locked ourselves out. No locked glass sliding door was going to keep us stuck outside with freaky flying alien Wonder Bread. We pulled it off the tracks.

4. My sophomore year in college my friend Barbara and I had a series of bizarre misadventures using involving substances, B&E, and general mayhem. However, one night takes the cake. On this particular occasion in the wee hours of the morning, we were out and about on campus, and Barbara got a craving for coffee. The closest place serving coffee 24/7 was Dunkin Donuts. We walked over there and into a scene straight out of Twin Peaks. There was a lone customer sitting in the corner with his back to us. The music playing in the store sounded like a record on slowest RPM. There was no one behind the counter. After standing for a moment, listening to this bizarre music, and the lone customer who did not move, an employee appeared from the back clearly rousing himself from sleep. His face was red and splotchy maybe from acne or maybe from sleeping face-down on a desk. His hair was a total bird's nest. He wore super-thick glasses. He said something unintelligible, and Barbara blurted out an order for coffee. The dude behind the counter paused for a moment, then started for the donut case. "I want coffee, " Barbara repeated, "No donut." He stopped and took an unusually long time to absorb this statement. Meanwhile, The Other Customer in the corner still hadn't moved; I was watching him intently and wondering if he was a crazed madman or vampire waiting to take us all out.

Donut Dude's synapses finally fired enough for him to process the coffee order and poured Barbara a cup. We sat down at the table closest to the door. I continued watching The Other Customer even though that meant I had to turn completely around in my seat. Weird slowed-down music still playing on the PA. Barbara takes a sip of her coffee and bugs out her eyes. "It's cold, "she whispered. "Maybe you should ask for your money back, " I respond. We both look at Donut Dude; he's behind the counter, having fallen asleep standing up. "Let's get out of here, " and I can't agree more. I am about to jump out of my skin. On the way out the door, I glanced back at The Other Customer. Still not moving. I wondered if he was even alive. Now, Barbara didn't spook too easily, but she was clearly disturbed by our brief visit to the Twilight Zone. I wanted to go lie down in the comfort of my bed.

Instead we walked to Denny's. Which was at least a mile away. Did I also mention we were under the influence?

5. One of the great pleasures for Adrian and I during our dating years in college were our random late evening strolls through Colonial Williamsburg. Our favorite spot was on a little raised berm at the end of a shrub-lined path. Sitting on the benches there, you could look through the trees and see the windmill. It was quite romantical, really. On this particular occasion, I can't remember if we were walking to or from the benches, but in the middle of the path, the creepiest feeling crackled all over me. I hadn't heard anything nor seen anything weird. It was dark and the shrubs on either side of me grew above my head. I was suddenly overcome with a strong sensation that Something Was Wrong and Something Bad was nearby. My body kind of spasmed in this way that made me feel like I was either going to weep,vomit, pass out, or piss myself. None of those occurred thankfully, and I managed to keep my wits about me enough to tell Adrian, "We need to get out of here. NOW." Adrian said later that the look on my face scared him enough to hustle with me to the end of the path and out into the road.

Later that year, we took a ghost tour where we learned that on that very path a notoriously gruesome fratricide had occurred during the Colonial era. The murderous brother had been hanged for his crimes.

It took me a while to return to that path, even in the daylight.

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