I’m going off the rails on a crazy train!
Those were the lyrics that greeted me the moment I started the engine. My vehicle’s radio blasted the unwelcome words at me at nearly full volume, as I never have quite learned that the mood I was in when I put the vehicle in park is never quite the same as when I put it in drive again.
It seemed a bit ominous. Being just a wee bit superstitious, my guard was up. The fates had just announced that craziness was on the horizon. I buckled my seatbelt with care.
I kind of wanted to cover my eyes like this, but I needed to drive.
Having changed the radio station to something benign, all seemed well for about fifteen minutes into the drive. The sun was shining, there was not a cloud in the sky, and not a crazy thing could be seen within my vision field. Until…
I Stopped At A Red Light
Standing across the street was a relatively young man. He was dressed in your typical young man way, with his hair cut very short in the typical way, and his body of a typical build. However, atypically he threw a punch at the post holding up the crosswalk sign. It didn’t seem to faze either of them. The man then began to shout at it, or maybe he was shouting at his hallucination that was standing immediately in front of that pole. Suddenly he spun around.
His jacket fell back from his shoulders as he held up his arms in a fighting stance. He beckoned aggressively toward the string of cars waiting at the red light next to him. For an instant I had a vision of his arms turning into the little forelimbs of a pachycephalosaurus that was preparing to charge its dome-like head into its imagined opponent—the metal door of a car.
But then the crosswalk light lit up, and he casually made his way across the street. He was acting very natural, like the epic battle of dinosaur vs. car door had not nearly taken place. Who knows what would have happened when he crossed the street entirely, but my light turned green. I breathed a sigh of relief. I felt that the “crazy train” premonition had been absolved. All was right with the world.
Nope, Wrong Again
My drive concluded at my son’s karate class. I did the typical scene of dropping him off, then stood quite typically in the hallway to wait for his class to be over, while doing the typical holding of the tot, who typically pretends that she is “too tired” to stand. However, atypically the tot plucked something from the shoulder of my sweater.
“Look!” she shouted as she waved the odd little black ball less than an inch from my eyes. Upon examination, it was a small ball with little flexible rods sticking out all over it. It looked almost exactly like one of those hitchhiker seed pods that is designed to latch onto things like Velcro so that it may be deposited onto new land. The atypical thing was that it was plastic.
I examined it suspiciously. I had a vision of someone stealthily depositing it on my shoulder during a “casual” brush by me in a busy hallway, planting this little spying device into the fertile ground of my sweater.
My God, I’d Been Bugged
Upon further examination, there was a tiny “B” printed on the center of the little ball. Rapidly turning into a spy, I searched my mind for the name of the villain that would mark his spy gear with that letter. I couldn’t think of any.
But I suddenly had a new vision of trees being seeded with these man-made balls, so that passersby could collect them on their sweaters unknowingly and bring them into their homes and cars and workplaces. This was bigger than a random villain infiltrating my life—this was a project of mass proportions. Big Brother was after us all.
Then the lyrics came back to mind: I’m going off the rails on a crazy train!
I decided instead of a spy ball it was probably something that fell into the unsolved mysteries category of life.
This image is elucidating going off the rails, in case it wasn't obvious.
The tot began to joyfully place the little fake seed ball onto any part of me that it would stick. The sweater, ten different spots on my hair, and she even tried my nose just for good measure.
A little while later in the parking lot there were children making odd squawking sounds. On the drive home there was a large electric road sign with words flashing across it completely out of order. Clearly there was something crazy in the air.
We Made It Safely Back Home, Back To Where We Started
When the tot stopped playing with the little fake seed ball, I put it in the outside trash…just to be on the safe side.