Recollections That Keep Me Awake

We have strange experiences on the road…In a diner near the Indiana/Ohio state line: ‘See that pretty lady up there at the bar?’ our hefty waitress with Coke-bottle lensed glasses asked. ‘She’s my mama. And we’d like to invite you two boys to stay with us tonight, ’cause we’ve had our eye on you sumpin’ fierce since you ordered them eggs ‘n hash browns, and tomorrow we’re all four of us headed out to the bowlin’ museum in St. Louis, nice ‘n family like, you know?’… At the desk of a motel in Flagstaff one morning, a female guest became completely discombobulated, screaming at the clerk that he had deliberately put evil chemicals into the hot tub the night before, because just look (and it was true!) the bottom half of her long fall of lovely blonde hair had turned a vivid electric green where it had hung down into the water…At the un-airconditioned home of some friends outside Oceanside, California one hot summer night, I slept not a wink because my host kept an incessantly barking German shepherd dog in the tiny yard outside my window, while the insomniac host himself used the yard for periodic bouts of chain-smoking throughout the night…At an extremely remote ranch in northern New Mexico, an adventurous friend gave me some prettily painted Anasazi pottery shards she had gathered on a hike. I felt uneasy about them, however, thinking they might be cursed, and was sure of it by about midnight when my room was invaded by strange swarming insects which instantly vanished as soon as I had deposited the shards on a rock far from the house…On that same ranch, at the bottom of a long river canyon cut a thousand feet deep into the rock, I was taking a quiet walk accompanied by nothing more threatening than the buzz of cicadas, when an enormous pitch-black fighter jet appeared out of nowhere with a tremendous screaming roar from an adjoining canyon, pulled itself up seemingly inches from the sheer rock cliff toward which it was headed, then dematerialized as swiftly as it had appeared…More or less imprisoned during the day at the home of some acquaintances in San Antonio one infernal week in August, literally the only reading material in the house consisted of half a tattered comic book in Spanish found beneath the coffee table and the labels on cans and boxes of food in the kitchen, both of which resources I quickly, though gratefully, exhausted…Stopped in my car at a railroad crossing in Mexicali, I was appalled to watch hundreds of locals, not content to wait for the train to pass, crawl over and between and even under the train cars in the 115 degree heat…I taught a crash course in Law Enforcement Spanish at the police academy in Salt Lake City one time, and awoke one morning at the end of the week to find a police officer’s car keys in the pocket of my pants, though I couldn’t immediately imagine why…We have strange experiences on the road.

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2 comments on “Recollections That Keep Me Awake

  1. dappled says:

    And well they should. Fodder. Fecundity.

  2. leifhendrik says:

    Well, it was rural Indiana, and a long time ago.

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