Weird Encounters of the Third Kind


Christmas Day, Anne and I went biking in the Park.  We went biking in the afternoon, between Christmas brunch and preparations for Christmas dinner.  We did 15 miles.  It was cold and windy.  As we neared home, I remembered seeing a nearby paper mache dragon that someone had posed on their front yard.  Anne continued home and I turned off to photograph the dragon. 

I started taking a picture when I noticed a women on the front porch.  She was looking at me so I waved.  As she started walking towards me, I took my picture.  She asked, “What are you doing?”  I said, “I’m taking a picture” and held the camera up so that she might she it more clearly.  It dawned on me that the tone of her question was somewhat accusatory, so I asked, “Do you live here?”  She said, “No, but I know who does.”  It was now apparent that she was a visitor and was now in the process of getting back in her car.  I took one more picture, kicked my leg over the bike and started to leave.  She stood by her driver side door and watched and waited for me to leave.  Now mind you, I had been standing on the sidewalk all this while and the dragon was posed on Clayton Road, now a major part of the I-64 detour.  The thought attractive nuisance came to mind, as I rode away.  I probably would have never used the picture, if she hadn’t made such a big deal of it.

Today, Anne and I drove over to Illinois to bicycle some of the Madison County bike trails.  We had planned to get 25 miles, but when our route brought us back by the car we both decided to cut if short.  We got 15 miles.  Returning to the car, I observed a guy sitting on a park bench, his bicycle lying on the ground.  As we were loading our bikes on the car he approached us.  Looking him in his weather beaten face, it became apparent to me, that he was homeless.  He asked for a dollar.  I obliged.  At which point, he felt compelled to tell us his story.   Except that it made no sense.  Most of what he said was unintelligible.  The few phrases that I could decipher were stock phrases of lunacy, “Star Trek”, “alien abduction”, “space aliens”, etc.  I thanked him and we walked back to his park bench.  He did have a very interesting face and the thought occurred to me to ask to take his picture, but I couldn’t summon the courage.

We drove home, detouring through the Park and eventually onto Clayton, passing the dragon again.  It is going to be a long year, living through the I-64 construction.  I decided that I needed another 10 miles.  So after we had unloaded the bikes, I launched  towards the Park.  Shortly after I crossed Clayton, sirens erupted.  Usually the regular cavalcade of emergency vehicles are caused by something up at St. Mary’s Hospital, but this time their sound didn’t seem right for that.  Reaching the Park, I called Anne to reassure her.  It sprinkled a little.  The pavement got wet.  I decided that after the ride, I would have to clean the bike chain.  Anne was right about one thing, the number of cars detouring through the Park was annoying. 

Returning home, I decided to stop by Mesa Cycles to pick up some chain cleaner.  Approaching the store, at Big Bend and Clayton, all the emergency vehicles whose sirens I had previously heard, were parked in the middle of the intersection.  A single vehicle had crashed.  The sole occupant had died.  It was not discernible whether the vehicle had been a car or a truck.  It did appear as though the crashed vehicle had been headed west bound on Clayton.  Just as we had, some fifteen minutes earlier.  There will be no pictures.

Life is strange.  Sometimes it is funny, like the dragon.  Sometimes it is tragic, like the homeless man.  Sometimes it is just incomprehensible.  Sometimes, sometimes, …

3 thoughts on “Weird Encounters of the Third Kind

  1. I think that it was perfectly legal for you to take that picture *and* post it. If people don’t want other people taking pictures of their yard (from the *public* sidewalk), they should think twice about putting big green dragons out there.

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