I was sitting at the dunkin' drinking a coffee with my son when a news broadcast from 1978 was playing on the flat screen television over our heads. We watched as they explained the groundbreaking procedure of test tube babies and the implication that man was playing God. In a time when fertility clinics and family planning (making it bigger or keeping it smaller) is no longer taboo, the broadcast seemed odd. The look and feel of the images on screen were different than the six o'clock news on any network channel today. I said the words, "This is what the news used to be like," referring to the background color and the non-digital tones behind the mic clipped to the anchors tie. It was something that I couldn't put into words although I think he understood.
Songs were on a radio station from ten years ago as well as ten days ago. He said, "The cashier's eyes don't look right." When i said, "I think she wears colored contacts," he explained, "No; Something about the size and shape of her eyes just don't fit right into her head."
On the tv, some spoke of The Chappaquiddick Incident and then John Dillinger. The news reels seemed to be feeding backwards on the screen and static buzzed louder over the mish-mash of songs playing from the speakers on the ceiling.
"There's ten minutes until the train is scheduled," I said and we left the dunkin' to walk up to the platform I've known for weeks now.
The Steel Heddle building looked down on us and we discovered the abandoned factory once made the small hooks for looms that hold threads for weaving. Down the street, there is an old silk factory that made me wonder if they were partners in the endeavor of making fabrics.
A critter rustled in the foliage behind the tracks and drew my attention as I had only known the space to be still while standing and waiting in the morning. Thick black smoke caught my son's eye and he watched as a small flame burn in the corner of a building to the west. A man walked back and forth on the roof of another building.
At least fifteen people waited for the train discussing the fire and then when we boarded our cars, there was no discussion. Quite honestly, I had forgotten about the fire until just now when I am replaying events for oddity analysis.
Fast forward. Walked across a parking lot to a movie theatre that looks trapped in time but does have new movie titles displayed. Another anomaly of time and space. I expect to go in and find old sticky carpet and broken lights that no one cared for in years; but I found a modern theatre with state of the art features and even an explanation that the movie we were looking to see was only playing one showing because it was not as new as the other titles. Tickets in hand, we would return.
And then the day got weird. We walked into a restaurant and was shown our seat in a booth looking out a window reaching from floor to ceiling. I mention this because folks who were seated just before we left were told they were lucky to get a window seat. But they were all window seats. The restaurant was surrounded by windows. Every booth had its own window.
Rewind. My son asks, "Where is your bathroom?" The hostess became nervous and didn't answer with clear words, stumbling over directions like she was sending him to her home to use the downstairs powder room. I interrupted and said, "Is it there under the red light reading restrooms? She laughed and said, "Yes, from here it's hard to explain." I nodded unclear as to what I was affirming for her but the gesture was enough for her to leave and that was all I was looking for.
While my son was indisposed, Andrew came over to introduce himself. He asked me for a drink order. Iced tea and a soda. He asked if he should come back. I smiled and said, "yes," unclear why he wouldn't come back with our drinks and then take our order. My son returned. And as promised, Andrew came back and asked what he would like to drink. "The cola is for him," I explained and then wondered internally and aloud if he thought I had ordered two for myself.
We ordered a quesodilla, a burger and a lobster roll. I have a growing shellfish allergy and know better, but something kept pulling me to the lobster roll with super slaw.
Andrew dropped the drinks and returned with a basket of three breadsticks and then asked if we needed anything else. "Well, the food we ordered."
Andrew circled the restaurant and each time he walked by he said things like, "Our appetizers are taking a bit longer to cook than we expected;" and "We will have our order in a few minutes."
The quesodilla was placed on the table and my son noticed it was cut into three triangles asking, "What's with the three in this place?" I looked around to see the patterns he was noticing and saw nothing. In fact everything next to each other was completely out of sync with everything else next to it. Two tin lamps, then one stained glass one, then four gas lanterns. A complete hodge podge of things, including led pipes used as coat racks on each booth (Although my son swore it was antenna for contacting the mother ship for these characters surrounding us in people suits.) Black and white photos were hung on the wall showing a man holding a fish over his head, another smithing metal and a woman who could have been singing, but appeared to be screaming for help. The photos were black and white. It was the only thing that made sense. The images in the frames were greyed out like the fields on a form not meant to be changed. The people featured were stuck in time and space. They were trapped in weird and stuck up on a wall where they couldn't ever change.
And then I saw Andrew's name on the napkin my drink was resting. I pointed to it to show my son and in seconds Andrew was at our table with excitment. "Our food is ready!" Let me clarify that statement - Andrew walked up to our table and said, "OUR food is ready," as the plates were set before us. Our? We? Us? Andrew was real familiar with his pronoun usage. My son noticed too. In fact he and I laughed and asked, "Is that why there were three breadsticks? Three pieces of the quesodilla?" It occured to me he thought I ordered two beverages and returned for the third because he thought he was joining us. I considered the negotiation for cola was his preference and not because Root Beer wasn't available as well. Andrew did in fact mark the space with his name on a napkin.
Power lines surrounded the hilly visage just outside our window seat. More tools to call upon the alien homeland? His burger was tasteless and my lobster didn't make my cheeks flush or cause labored breathing. Again, I must reiterate; a fatty, bacon and cheddar burger with red onions, lettuce and a pickle was free of flavor. Lobster did not cause the slightest reaction within my body. Andrew asked thirty seven times if we were satisfied with our food and finally let us escape.
The movie theatre was dark. (no lights on at all until the show began?) And the five patrons that came in after we were seated sat behind us for a moment (when the whole theatre was empty) and then moved their seats.
On the way home, we met someone named Tomorrow. TOMORROW.
Now, the last time I went out with my son and noticed some odd things we were at a library. I was reminded of that today and at some point we were laughing and wondering how others were so myopic they didn't notice how weird things were around them.