I like mysteries. I think we’ve established that. But what you may not know is that I like mysteries in real life, too—or at least I seem to.
I went out to dinner with Greg and our neighbor-friends last night and it was revealed that both the females in the group prefer to sit in restaurants so that their backs are to the wall.
In case of a mob hit, you see.
That was her reasoning, anyway (she got the habit from her dad, who was a cop). Mine, when I had to qualify it, was that I am a nosy parker and needed to be able to see all the people in the room. I needed to see all the stories in the room.
Revelatory, although it shouldn’t have been. I’m not necessarily the world’s worst eavesdropper, since sometimes I’m hoping NOT to hear what people at other tables are saying (and they always thwart me). But I do like watching people live their own lives. They’re like little mysteries, each and every one.
The other day I was waiting for my car to be serviced and spent the time at a (chain) cafe. Within the hour and a half I was there, I witnessed not one but two bad relationships a table away. It was like the table itself had bad juju. And when I say bad relationship, in one case I mean a possibly abusive one. After the second weirdness, I started to think I was on one of the TV shows in which they stage awkward situations and see what people will do.
Apparently what I will do is gape and then remind myself not to stare. And then try not to stare but fail. Someone else was braver than I was and, after Bad Boyfriend #1 stomped out, gave the girlfriend some advice (“get out now, trust me, I’ve been there”) that she will likely ignore.
The Mystery of the Jerk at Panera, I fear, has just begun.
Come along with me, however, on the Mystery of the Bumper Stickered Car.
So you see how I get caught up in other people’s drama in public places. (Yesterday, I got caught up with the deaf couple in front of me in line at a sub place. I was very anxious that they have an easy time ordering, but it required lots of team work behind the counter, and that’s not really what I’ve come to expect from sub makers.) These little mysteries must be solved to my satisfaction, or I give them too much free rent in my brain.
A while back, one of these free rent situations took up lodging when I noticed an aqua car with lots of bumper stickers idling on a street near my house as I walked the dog. The car had out-of-state plates, and the driver sat inside. I didn’t think I had seen the car before, but whatever. On our first encounter, that’s all I noticed. No biggie. Lots of reasons to pull over and idle in a neighborhood.
But I kept noticing this car, idling, driver inside, day after day. Same approximate location on the same street. Then one day the car passed me (and Ursa pup, who is a sloooow walk) and took up idling residence a second time, further down the same street. We passed her twice, driver in the car, idling. This happened a few times, and it would not leave me alone. Why is she hanging out in her car this early in the morning, and for so long? Why move and idle some more? Is she picking someone up? Then why move?
It didn’t keep me up at night, but every time I saw the car, I wondered all over again. I thought to post the mystery here so that you could all posit scenarios for me. If only so I could stop trying to come up with scenarios myself.
And then last week I walked the dog later than normal, and I saw what happened next. She parks at one end of the street, idles and phones/texts for a while, and then moves up the street and idles/phones for a while. And then she turns off the car, gets out, and goes to the house on the corner where it looks like she’s the damn nanny.
Mystery solved. She’s probably a college student (out-of-state plates) and gets there early on certain days (wasting of time pre 8:30 a.m.).
Yeah, it won’t be the central mystery of any Sherlock Holmes reboot, but at least now I don’t have to wonder.
That’s how my brain works. I need to face the room, so I can make up the scenarios that will explain you all.
Next, let’s figure out the Mystery of Why My Car Alarm Went Off in the Garage By Itself This Morning.