What the Hammock?

IMG_3992 (1)On an early morning a couple of weeks ago while my dog, Zoey, took me to retrieve her pee-mails we came across something unusual. Suspended from a large wooden pergola by four bungee cords hung a hammock. It was odd that one would be hanging in a public area in the first place, but it was early, and I could make out a body inside the pea-pod shape. A red car was parked close by, which I assumed belonged to the swinging sleeper.

Immediately my mind spun an ominous story; this person was running from someone, maybe an abusive spouse, perhaps from hired thugs because they uncovered company secrets, etc., etc. Anyway, he or she was in such a hurry, and they couldn’t get the money together and had no place to stay for the night. While driving aimlessly, they came across a lonely pergola on a hill and remembered about the hammock they’d recently purchased and left in their trunk…

Such over the top theories often run amuck in my head. But in truth, I had no idea what this person’s story was. Were they homeless? Runaways? Or did they decide the night before, hey, wouldn’t it be fun to sleep in a hammock—could it have been that easy? Could someone lack so much drama in his or her life? It’s more likely the case than a scenario of running from the mob like a John Grisham novel. Could it be that someone simply wanted to sleep in a hammock outside?

If so, I’d have to agree; it would be fun falling asleep to the hum of crickets or by a gentle rocking breeze. What about the fresh air? The moonlight? Seeing the view of the entire Salt Lake Valley from one spot, dangling five feet off the ground? Or maybe they were lured there for once, to wake to the sunrise and not to the set, beep, beep, beep, of angry electronics?

I realized then the strangeness of seeing a hanging bed wasn’t that it was there, but that my knee jerk reaction to it led me to think of something so dark.



Single and Looking For A Mate

cropped-img_3382.jpgI often follow a trail that meanders 3.2 miles around a lake by my house. It’s a manmade lake, peppered by inlets of sand beaches and wooden boat docks that have gone to the birds—literally; the ducks have taken over the waterfront!
Last week on my walk, I started noticing a single flip-flop sandal here and there—out on the shore, in the middle of a patch of grass, next to a bench, or at the bottom of a slide. It wasn’t a pair of shoes, but rather a series of one flop without it’s flip.
The shoes varied one to the next, big ones, floral ones, Dora the Explorer ones.
I saw some with diamond sparkles and some that strapped to the ankle. There was a teeny-tiny red and blue foam one and one that could have fit Shaquille O’Neil.
I counted sixteen singular sandals along the trail as if a stampede of pedestrians had been forced to evacuate, each leaving a piece of their hurry behind. What was going on? Was there an enormous amount of single footed people living in my area? Or was it some sort of summer equivalent of an Easter egg hunt? I had no idea.
As I rounded the lake’s final bend, I saw a bench off the main path lined with shoes, and some had mates! A thin and tanned woman marched across a stretch of beach in front of me. She had gray hair spilling from her bucket hat and held a handful of flip-flops. She stood over the bench eyeing the cache with the ones she kept in her hand but did not make a match. She slid some shoes over and placed her latest find.
I nodded to the matchmaker. She didn’t respond—she was busy assembling finds with those that were lost, so I left her alone.
The whole way home I thought about this woman; who was she? What compelled her to collect orphaned shoes? I certainly wouldn’t have. In fact, I didn’t, although it wouldn’t have been hard to grab one and put it in a singular location to await its owner. Why didn’t I? What does that say about me?
It wasn’t until I got home that I thought about taking a photo of what I’d seen—what that was, I’m still unsure—but if you’re searching for your sole mate, check out Northshore Beach. Who knows, a lady in a white bucket hat with rivulets of gray spilling from underneath, may have found one for you! To point you to the right location is the least I can do.

The Fruit Man and The Naked Chick

I wonder if people who are married to a fat spouse wear, what are the equivalent of Beer Goggles? I ask because my husband was once married to an overweight woman, me, and had no idea! He was clueless when someone pointed out that I looked exactly like Liza Minnelli, but not the young, 1970’s Liza…

Brian thought the comparison had to do with both of us having short, dark hair. I, on the other hand, was not confused. The non-1970’s Liza was extremely overweight and sported a pixie style haircut. Me, too.

My big weight loss came after a particularly humiliating morning over seventeen years ago. My husband, daughter, and I had recently moved into a new house in West Jordan, Utah. I had just gotten out of the shower when my then two-year-old, Lorrin, called out that someone was at the door and she was letting them in. I threw on my robe and wrapped a towel around my head and emerged from my bedroom.

Standing inside the frame of my open front door was a middle-aged man selling oranges. He was friendly enough pitching to me while slicing an orange for me to sample. I didn’t want an orange, but I also didn’t want to be impolite, so I let him continue with his spiel.

Benjamin, my longhaired Chihuahua, seized an opportunity and bolted outside. My daughter trailed after him still wearing a diaper and nothing else. My undeveloped neighborhood was full of vacant lots brimming with rocks and with sticker bushes looming large.

I tried excusing myself, but the farmer continued whittling at sections of orange to feed me. He said something about his twelve-year-old daughter and something else about his twenty-one-year-old son who had freshly returned from a Mormon Mission. However, I wasn’t paying attention. Instead, I was looking for my streaking child and my dog. With my apologies, I stepped around the man and hurried down the street, barefoot, robed, and towel-turbaned.

As I ran, I spotted the man’s missionary son as well as his daughter selling fruit nearby. And then, sprinting down the pavement, I saw Lorrin crying and in pursuit of Benjamin, our dog. Lorrin had fallen, and I could see bloody toe prints on the sidewalk.

When I caught up with her, blood streamed down her leg and off two toes. I swept her up, but Lorrin was stubborn and began screaming for the dog and bucking to get down. I held her tight and began hauling her home when down the street I saw a streak of black fur near the farmer.

“Stop that dog!” I yelled over my hollering child. As I came closer, I noticed the missionary son was mid-stride with a box of oranges in hand facing me. His little sister was doing the same; watching me, mouth opened, eyes bulging, and frozen.

I was struggling, holding my child with one hand and trying to keep my towel turban from sliding off. When I was almost in my front yard, I saw that the farmer’s face was white and he was staring at me. I looked down.

My robe was open. The whole front side of me was visible; breasts sitting sunny-side up, stomach mounding, and then there was my Netherlands—everything was exposed. Surprise!

The fruit guy stepped quickly forward and handed me my dog, in which I positioned strategically slightly below my waist. Embarrassed I dashed into my house. The fruit man followed. I synched up my robe and ended up buying an entire box of oranges just to get rid of him. I guess I have the fruit man and his family to thank for my sudden urge to join Weight Watchers.

Years later, the orange farmer returned, though, I had lost over sixty pounds and had grown out my pixie cut. When the man finally did recognize me, his pupils retracted and he didn’t argue when I told him, no, I wouldn’t care for any oranges, today. I remembered the oranges as being bitter—though I didn’t tell him that. The man left. He practically ran from my porch.