A couple of weeks ago I realized that if I walk to the train rather than waiting for the bus, I can leave my apartment 15 minutes later. And so I have found myself taking a daily 15 minute walk. Usually this is fine and everything seems normal. I listen to podcasts and have a grand ole time.
Today was different. The walk was still pleasant, don’t get me wrong, but everything seemed weird.
You know at the beginning of horror films when someone moves to a new small town and they start noticing how weird everyone in town is? These scenes always take place with the main character walking down the street, looking around and slowly realizing that something is incredibly off with their new home. Well, today I was that main character.
The beginning was great and I was feeling good about using my feet to get me from one place to another. Look at me, I thought. I’m getting some exercise. That means I can eat cake when I get to work!
And then I started encountering bike girl. She was the harbinger of the weirdness that was to come. When I first passed her, she was walking her bike, which was a pink number and really recognizable. A minute or so later she biked past me and promptly got off her bike. So I passed her again. Three-ish minutes later she passed me again. I thought nothing of it until a couple minutes later when I looked up to see her walking her mike back toward me. She turned into a parking lot but not before she gave me a real good once over. It was disconcerting.
Right after I got away from bike girl, I passed by the Fire Station. Outside sat a firefighter. He had dragged a chair outside which was weird because he had set it next to a bench that was permanently out there. But apparently this bench isn’t good enough for butts, only feet for that is what he was using it for. He was just sitting out there, butt in chair, feet on bench, casually smoking cigar while playing on his smartphone. He felt like he was from two different time periods. I remember thinking, that’s weird but not really thinking much else of it. Looking back, he was exactly the kind of random townsperson that you would see in a horror film town.
This next encounter is where it got weird. I reached a street corner and there was an old lady sitting in a chair. She had brought a chair out to sit on the little patch of grass between the sidewalk and the road. And there she sat, looking like Whistler’s Mother if Whistler’s Mother found herself in 2015 on a street corner in Chicago with a dead and spooky look in her eyes. This woman was even wearing old-timey clothes which just rounded out the weirdness and she was staring straight ahead at nothing. It looked like she had been taken off of the porch of a horror film and dropped into my walk to work. All that was missing was a rocking chair. I might have actually run away if she had been in a rocking chair. Gahh she was so creepy.
Finally, right after I had gotten past this creepy frozen lady, two small children on scooters can rolling at high speeds out of a side street. They stopped at the same stoplight as me and we all waited. When the light changed, I started walking and the kids hung back. I walked on, thinking nothing of them. And then I heard giggling coming toward me, quickly getting louder, and the two children appeared out of nowhere. The younger of the two boys couldn’t have been older then three. He just kept riding, getting further and further ahead until his mother yelled at him to stop. He came to a halt, got off his scooter, and giggled to himself. He became that creepy child who looks at the ground, swimming back and forth, quietly laughing. I was expecting his head to spin around at any second. Why are kids to creepy? I sped up and quickly walked past him.
When I got to the train stop, the street was blocked off because the train had to pass through so there were all of these people stuck coming out of the station. To me, in my horror frame state of mind, they all looked like zombies. And then the road blocks came up, the zombies all attacked, coming toward me as I tried to get to the train station. I fought my way through them and got to the tracks. Once on the train, I realized that I was in a car all by myself. This is how I’m going to die, I thought. King Pigeon didn’t succeed so I’m going to die on this train. But people got on at the next stop and nothing happened. And the same happened at the stop after that. And I got off at the next one and went to work. And everything was fine.
Turns out real life doesn’t always work like the movies, which is awesome! Sometimes I wish it did, like in the movies where you have the person who was awkward in high school who becomes awesome and rich and doesn’t really seem to have to do anything other than be themselves to end up this way. Like in 13 Going on 30 where all she had to do was make a collage like she used to do for fun and everything turns out perfectly. It would be cool if life worked like those movies. But it is days like this when I am glad that life isn’t always a horror film. Sometimes a creepy old lady is just a creepy old lady and not a sign of what is waiting for me around the corner.