Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Goblins Go Home

Did you get through Halloween all right? We did. The trick or treating didn't start until 7:00 p.m., which is late for our local kids. We like the ones who come with their parents, the real little kids whose parents stand on the sidewalk while the kids come to the door. We don't like hearing "Trick or treat!" yelled out in voices deeper than mine. Older kids, stay home, willya? You come late, you come without costumes, you're smartasses just bugging us for candy. When I see you coming I will break out the cough drops and you'll have your choice: Halls, Luden's or Smith Bros. Grow up.

We drove from work to visit Mom in the nursing home. Mom was in the dining room in what looked like the tail end of a Halloween party. Some visits to the nursing home are better than others, and this wasn't one of the better ones. Maybe everyone was in the throes of a sugar rush after all of the sweets, cakes and ice cream they'd been served. One woman was wailing that she wanted to get out of there; not the dining room, the whole place. Another was telling us my mother was a liar, that this was her home and "her attorneys were working on it, so get the hell out." That poor woman was apparently off her meds.

Another one was having hallucinations about something she called "scrunches" on a tabletop. We didn't see anything on the tabletop, much less scrunches--whatever scrunches are--but she said, "There are lots of scrunches on there. You can see them."

While those women appeared to be off their meds, my mother seemed to be on a full course. She was nibbling away at cake but was also completely docile. There wasn't any recognition in her eyes or on her face. We could have been scrunches.


My friend, Dave, whom I'll be visiting in a couple of days at his home in California, had an interesting couple of days before Halloween. Dave works in the banquet department of a large hotel. I asked him for permission to share his e-mail.

"I have had a weird couple of days. It seems Halloween goblins are doing their work. I'll keep it brief. Friday I saw an old man in a motorized wheel chair at the grocery store, in the parking lot. He was stuck behind 3 shopping carts and kept backing up and slamming into them to free himself. I was across the street in my car and kept hoping someone would come to his aid, but no one was around or pretended not to see. I finally felt guilty enough and ran to his rescue, but felt bad that I had sat and watched him for about a minute before helping.

Later that same day I was driving along the water front coming home from work and saw a body sprawled out on the ground. Drunk, dead or just passed out? I never found out and just kept driving. I don't have a cell phone and figured someone else would see him and make the call. I added to my guilt.

When I went back to work a couple hours later for my dinner shift, the chef told me that an old lady in the restaurant had "taken a shit in the dining room" just after I left! Turns out this old lady got up and made a fast walk to the bathroom, which is very far away from the dining room. As she did this, she would stop every few feet and shake a turd out of her pants leg, all the way to the bathroom. Then she took a dump in the sink.

The next day some customer went ballistic on the staff and me. Everyone was very nice to him, but he couldn't have a breakfast buffet at 1pm. It is removed at 10:30 and it is menu only. He was livid and complaining to everyone he saw. One manager told him he could eat off the buffet I had set up for a private party. I had been told not to let anyone in the restaurant use the buffet as it was private. I told this to the manager and guy stormed out and claimed that I had thrown him out of the restaurant. Turned out he is a Diamond customer and supposed to be treated as a VIP.

Later that day my co-worker had a customer go ballistic on her and criticized her over and over for no good reason. That same night my manager went ballistic on my co-worker.

It all was making me think something really bad was going to happen before the day ended. I drove home and actually feared something would happen. It is a short drive and sure enough, I passed a head on collision on the way, my car stalled in the street when I tried to park and a car almost hit me in the dark.

I just wonder why so many things happened in a two days? Weird. That will serve as my Halloween story this year and it is all true!"

I'm sure the story of the woman shaking turds out of her pants leg will enter into urban legend, but you read it here first.

Lately I've been reading the book, Things That Go Bump In The Night, by Louis C. Jones, published in 1959. This is a collection of ghost stories, most of which we'd now call urban legends. The book is fun and entertaining.

The book reminded me a story from 1970, when we stayed with my friend Tom and his family in an old mansion in Vermont. The first night when we finished our visiting and went to bed I asked Tom, "Anything I should be aware of?"

He said, "Just watch out for the lady with her head in a basket."

Ciao for now, El Postino

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