Friday, May 30, 2014

Strange Ducks

Today I had an exchange with a colleague which prompted me to write back to him saying that if decisions were made logically we could anticipate a certain verdict on a university matter. However,  I continued, given the illogic that is pervasive here and everywhere, it is unlikely the certainly wise verdict will be as we would like.

I then took a walk to get something to eat. Gorgeous day here. About sixty degrees, sunny, sweet breeze. And I passed this person and that wondering--given my recent comment--if this person or that was dealing with all 52, or missing a card or two. Suddenly an event surfaced from my past which, sadly, I do not think is especially anomalous. The details are, but the bizarre wiring that seeded the behavior I think is more normal than we typically think.

It was winter, probably February of 1970. I was going to drive from Albany New York to Rochester. A woman I knew very peripherally overheard that I was driving thataway.  She lived in the dorm next to mine and told me that she wanted to see her boyfriend who was going to school just east of Rochester.  And she asked if she could get a ride.

This was fine with me. The weather was horrible and having someone to talk to would be welcome. Also, the drive from Albany to Rochester is just flat and boring.  Most of New York State is drop dead gorgeous. Not this stretch.  So, again the company would be welcome.  She was very appreciative. She had not seen her boyfriend in a stretch and this would be a good time for a surprise visit.

As I wrote, I did not know this woman much at all. I saw her in the cafeteria occasionally and she was in a sorority that would sometimes share a beer keg with us fraternity boys on a Thursday evening.  I don't think I knew her name then and I certainly can't remember it now.

Anyway, we agreed that we would leave at a certain time, say it was 2 pm.  She asked me if I could come up to her room and help her with her suitcase. Not a problem. I pulled my car up to the dorm and went to her room.  The next part of this may sound as if this woman was attracted to me and I am boasting. Not the case on either score.   I knock on her door. She opens it and is in a tee shirt and her underwear.

This was the early seventies and there was a whole lot of shaking going on, but this had nothing to do with shaking.  She told me that she was a little late getting packed and dressed. Okay I said, but I did want to get moving because I didn't want to drive so much of the way at night.  She said she understood and then proceeded to sit on her bed and not get ready and tell me about her boyfriend whom she could not wait to see.

After hearing about how wonderful he was for a spell, I said as diplomatically as I could since I did not really know her, that if she was so crazy about the guy, why not pack the suitcase, put on some jeans and let's get going.

Oh, she said, as if this was a novel thought, "that's right. Let's get going"

So we finally put her suitcase in my beat up Chevy Impala and started driving toward Rochester.  Very bad driving conditions. Scary bad. Twice we skidded on the Thruway and twice hit the guard rail.  I was very flustered by the time we got close to her exit.  While her presence was comforting given the bad conditions, I also wanted to unload her because I'd heard just about as much as I wanted to hear about this fellow she was about to surprise.

The campus was a few miles from the Thruway exit. She located the frat house where her boyfriend lived.  My very fuzzy recollection is that she had a letter from him and it was on the basis of the return address that we located the building.

We walked in. She dying to introduce me to the guy and I kind of interested in saying hello as long as I was lugging her suitcase into the dorm.  We get to the first floor. There is a balcony of sorts and a staircase leading to it. A fellow walked out from a room onto the balcony.  I can't remember the boyfriend's name. Let's say it was Johnny.

She sees the guy on the second floor and lets out a yelp, "Johnny!!" She runs up the staircase and bearhugs the guy who seems puzzled.  They unlock, has her arms around his waist. The guy speaks in a startled monotone, "I'm not Johnny." he says "You want Johnny Smith?"

My rider says, "You're not Johnny?" The guy calmly says, no, but he'll go get him.

My rider turns to me and says something like he looks like Johnny.  I think I have been riding with a crazy person.  Out comes the real Johnny. She gives him a bearhug.  He does not seem all that excited about the visit, but at least he is the right guy.

I get out of that place very fast and am fine about smashing into guardrails as long as I have rid myself of this fruitcake.

Point of the anecdote is this.  I don't think this woman is that much, if any type, of aberration.  I think they are out there. Crazy people, adopting a persona that is not theirs and living it.  She had this boyfriend, Johnny. Not.

They are out there.  We work with them. We play tennis with them and have drinks with them. They run businesses. Some are wealthy.

A lot of bad wiring in the neighborhood of planet Earth.

1 comment:

  1. This is sexist, but it seems there are more functional female wackjobs out there than males. And I say that as a father of four wonderful daughters and three strange sons.