Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”

What doesn’t add up: how our Lady Banks Rose can climb a trellis and proliferate but every orchid I’ve ever owned dies a painful death.

Miles run today: 4.5

Words written in my novel so far: 18,417

Games of gin rummy my 11-year-old beat me at in the past two days: 7

My running partner almost got hit by the Fun & Frolic Fitness Bus the other day while we were out running.

I asked her if I could speak at her funeral and say something pithy like, “At least she was doing what she loved when she got hit by a big dose of fitness.”

She said no.

My parents collect wacky experiences and pass them along like precious gem stones. I can’t remember all of them, but here are some from my own life history:

1. When my sister, the vegetarian, worked at a steak house. She got Employee of the Month. Patrons asked her all the time which cut of meat was the tastiest. Of course, she told them filet mignon. Duh.

2. When your mom won’t believe you about the truth. One day when I was four, my mom sent me out to get the mail. The mailbox was not far beyond spitting distance of the house, but it was a foggy morning.

I returned to the house and said, “Mom, the mailbox is gone!”

She didn’t believe me. In my mom’s defense, I did have a history of living in my own little world. But still. She sent me back out to get the mail.

Still no mailbox. I was perplexed, and my mom was possibly more perplexed.

By the third time, she mustered up some energy (this was before her fourth cup of coffee, I’m guessing) and trailed behind me to where the mailbox used to be. Turns out, some teenagers had knocked it down and thrown in it a heap at the back of the neighborhood.

See? I’m not as crazy as I appear.

3. When my husband, the scientist and computer whiz, puts me in charge of numbers. I handle paying the bills and setting the alarm clock. I don’t know which part of the brain setting the alarm clock uses, but it’s not one my husband accesses easily.

4. When I, the shoe lover, have a difficult time putting shoes in a box. I love seeing new shoes. New shoes on my feet. And new shoes in new boxes. The problem comes when I try to put shoes that were on my feet back in a box. There’s something about the orientation of the shoes that throws me off every time.

And skates? Forget about it.

5. When a tour guide assures you of something  you know to be untrue. One summer, my parents took my sister and me to New Orleans. Yes, in August. Yes, it was hot. But I digress.

On one of my dad’s excursions out to the Back of Beyond, we drove to a place few tourists ever see, about an hour and a half outside the city. A guy with a pontoon boat called himself something like “Alligator Dan.” I think we’d been on other alligator outings, but this one was legendary.

Alligator Dan got those gators to jump way, way out of the water to eat some raw chicken. My sister and I were not completely sure which emergency procedures to employ when and if one of those gigantor gators landed on the front of the boat in a miscalculated leap.

After all, we were Raw People, which to our minds might taste better than Raw Chicken.

We escaped unscathed.

But the next summer, we went to the Everglades. After we got on a small pontoon boat, the tour guide told us, “Don’t worry, the boat looks low to the water, but alligators can’t jump.”

My dad started laughing. And my sister and I moved to the center of the boat.

6. When your kids don’t understand something. We were playing the game “Apples to Apples” yesterday at my sister’s house. It was the adult edition, not the one made for kids.

The adjective we all had to match up with a noun was “Natural.”

We all chose a noun and passed it to the “judge.” Some of the things that came up as “Natural” were “Redwood Forest” and “Caves.”

The next word that came up was “Loan Shark.”

“What?” my son asked. “A lone shark is natural! It’s alone. And it’s a shark.”

My brother-in-law got so red in the face that he couldn’t breathe.

I love quirkiness. And coincidence. And irony. Do you have things in your life that just don’t add up?