As I watched the end of the Guinness Book of World Records-Breaking "World's Longest Volleyball Game" last night at an area church, I reflected on strange things I've seen. Some of those things are mentioned in a post about working in a nursing home. But long term care facilities aside, it struck me that I have, at different times, chosen to be places where interesting things were happening; I have also found myself by pure accident in the vicinity of strangeness. I have also surrounded myself with people who bring the anamolous with them.
So it was that I watched my boyfriend help wrap up the World's Longest Volleyball Game (55 hours - play 3, rest 2). I've never seen a Guinness Book victory before, so it was a first.
I have also witnessed a presidential inauguration. A cold, rainy day in January, 2000, I stood with friends outside the Capitol building to watch George W. Bush take office. The early days, when things seemed rosy.
Once, by pure chance, I saw a hot air balloon crash, having run into
powerlines. Traumatic, yes. Strange, yes. Now I get quite antsy when I see hot air balloons cruising the skies on warm summer days.
In a wedding last summer, I watched a bride come down the aisle. In silence. To no music. Because the pianist had frozen. We bridesmaids shot him dirty looks, hissed, and later one of my friends confessed to the impulse to start humming the bridal march.
A few years ago I went camping with friends in Scotland. We drove around for a week. And on entering a small pub for dinner, we saw Prince William. About twelve feet away, eating with friends and a girl who kept ignoring him until she saw we were watching. Yes, I have made eye contact with royalty. No, we did not pester him. Yes, I was close enough to hear his English accent stand out from the Scottish ones around him. Easy way to keep people away from him: send him to Scotland, where they still chafe at English royalty being present among them.
At a C.S. Lewis conference in Oxford, England, I sat, amused, and observed scholar Peter Kreeft and Watergate convert celebrity Charles Colson line up at a microphone placed for questions to pose queries to the original world famous atheist turned deist Antony Flew. Seeing Chuck Colson stand in line at a microphone was fascinating.
On a more poignant note, I quietly watched an elderly Cuban Catholic gentleman who lived at the nursing home visit with his gay, HIV positive son. I cried later.
Walking up to a concert venue to hear my favorite band, Over the Rhine, I encountered two people who arrived at the door the same time I did. I started as I realized that one of them was Linford Detweiler, half of the band. All I could do was smile. Then I saw two eyes smiling out between a hat and scarf at my reaction. It was Karin, the other half of Over the Rhine. All I could do was grin.
I've also seen a Mongolian camel. In Mongolia. I tried to see the Great Wall, but there were clouds between the plane and the ground. I'm not sure if I saw it from the air or not. I settle for Great Wall Chinese restaurant. Ooh, also in Mongolia, I saw dead, frozen, skinned sheep that someone was getting out of the trunk of a car. I also saw a game of sheep knuckles.
When I was about twelve, I saw an Indy 500 practice. Half my face got sunburned, but there is nothing like the sound of Indy cars. Sends the good kind of chills up my spine.
My parents believed in exposing me to things, so I remember sitting in a university auditorium and seeing Margaret Thatcher give an address. When she spoke against abortion, my dad's claps rang out in the otherwise silent space.
In an intensely personal moment, I will never forget seeing my niece for the first time.
Of course, one strange sight, I shared with all of you recently in this space: the small town, 4th of July lawnmower brigade. Even more interesting were the pictures I snapped of Omar, half Iraqi, gleefully performing the lawnmower drills. I loved the unpigeonholedness of it
So I was a pretty geeky kid, and my early teens were spent devouring figure skating programs and trivia. So it was that my birthday present one year was to go see my beloved spinners and jumpers. Afterwards, we went to the busses, and I saw a young Michelle Kwan and got her autograph. Woohoo!
Well, if you can think of any that I'm forgetting, add it, mention it, jog my memory. Here's to more interesting sights.