THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
One of the reasons I write this column is that I live a life where I’m constantly amazed and I figure that by reporting this amazement I’ll find out if it’s just me…or if the world seems wacky to everyone.
This week, Gwen the Beautiful and I had not one, not two, but three small but mighty This Can’t Be Happening! It’s Impossible! moments, all in one lunch and some shopping at Walmart.
It started in the Mexican Restaurant right here in Paradise. We eat there at least once a week out of sheer gratitude for having found a place that gives us the exotic flavors we used to love back in L.A. without making us have to go back there and put up with everything else that we didn’t love at all.
What happened was that I finished my coffee and decided not to bother Lyndie the Waitress, who already had her hands full keeping up with the packed room. Instead I picked up my cup and walked to the coffee urn, where I poured myself half a cup and started back to the table.
I took what I think of as a “Great Circle Route” and didn’t go back the way I came. But about halfway back I saw two women frowning at me.
“You spilled,” said one. She pointed to the floor near where they sat.
Sure enough, there it was, a splotch of coffee. With another beyond it, and another, all the way back to the pot.
All I could do was shrug. “And here I was trying to make life easier on a wonderful gal,” I said, and continued to Gwen.
As I sat down, I realized something. I looked back behind me. The spilled coffee spots weren’t on my trail from the urn. They were on the one to it.
The path I’d walked with an empty cup. My return path was spotless. I hadn’t spilled a thing.
Because I’d had nothing to spill.
Gwen’s not all blind, only half. She saw the look on my face, asked what was wrong. I told her, and she turned her attention to the spills.
“Something’s wrong,” she said. “Your cup was empty when you walked over there.”
“Ah,” I said. “Good. Then I’m not crazy after all.”
A little later when I went over to the counter to pay I fished around in my pants pocket for some change. When I didn’t find any I left a ten dollar bill, and Gwen and I continued on out.
It bugged me, though. I clearly remembered dropping way too many quarters into that pocket when I’d put on my jeans that morning. So when we got to Walmart I checked again as we walked through the parking lot. Sure enough, the quarters were there, along with a few almost useless nickels and dimes.
Where were they just fifteen minutes ago?
When we got home and I took the bags from the truck bed I discovered I’d hit the trifecta.
Gwen’s fifty pound bag of wild bird seed was nowhere to be found.
Wondering how I could’ve left it behind, I carried some cleaning supplies over to the storage shed, but when I opened the door the first thing I saw was the bag of seed, fat and sealed and ready for its mission of mercy.
Yes, I know. Each of these experiences has a possible explanation:
The coffee was spilled where it shouldn’t have been? “Probably my cup wasn’t as empty as I thought and it slopped over.”
I had no change in my pocket—and then I did have change? “Probably the coins were blocked by a fold in the fabric the first time I looked.”
The bag of bird seed was put away before I took it out of the truck? “Probably I brought it in earlier but got distracted and forgot.”
All those explanations are reasonable. But to come up with them I had to ignore the evidence of my senses. I had to assume that what I saw, felt, and remembered was wrong.
That seems to me to be going to a lot of trouble just to hew to a rational view of the universe that’s not necessarily any truer than—well, than what? I haven’t got a clue.
How about it, readers? Any strange experiences like this you’d care to share? Better yet, any explanations of what’s really going on?