Thanks for the (magic carpet) ride

I’m riding the bus in Portland, Oregon. A man in front of me turns to his neighbor as he proclaims, “This is our air-conditioned magic carpet.”

Thinking of characters on a city bus in general, and on a city bus in Portlandia in particular, you may make some assumptions about what sort of man would make a statement like this. In this situation, it was a tall, grey-haired man in conservative clothing who was winded after a long walk and who appreciated a cool place to sit and ride. He had a commanding voice with an American accent and clear diction that sounded from another era, from classic Hollywood. Our local Douglas Fairbanks turned to the driver and said, “Thank you for driving our air-conditioned magic carpet.”



Little Grey Singing Wolf

A friend and I were walking and chatting at the Faerieworlds festival in Oregon. Our conversation was suspended as we both glanced up to see a self-possessed little girl dressed in a wolf costume. Actually, we heard her before we saw her, as she was singing to herself as she strolled in the woods. Dressed in her wolf cape with a cap in the shape of the animal’s head, she sang:

“Ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive,
Ah, ah, ah, ah” — and with perfect timing —
“Stayin’ alive–ive—ive—ive”


When life gives you lemons

On Sunday evening, I picked up some Brussels sprouts from the store, and when I got home I realized that I had forgotten to pick up a lemon that I wanted to cook with the vegetables. The next morning, I thought I would stop by the store to pick one up on the way home from work. Later, during my morning break, I stopped by the employee fruit bowl at work for a snack, and there on top of the apples, bananas and oranges were bright yellow lemons. When life gives you lemons, make Brussels sprouts. Or something like that.


Skeleton bones

A prankster in Portland, Oregon, hung toy phalli around town. Out on a sunny stroll, two young children pointed up at the toys hanging from the wires over the street and asked their parents what they were. Their mother said, “um…they look like… they look like skeletons.” The father added, “yeah, skeleton bones.”


Mata Hari wouldn’t wear a hip scarf

I stop in the restroom of the building where I take dance class. My hip scarf jingles when I move, and a woman on the other side of the low wall comments on this.

“I hear a belly dancer!”

I chuckle and respond, “Yes — my hip scarf gave me away!”

As we both approach the mirrored area by the sinks, she jokes, “Mata Hari must not have worn a hip scarf when she was spying!”


The perfect pair

I board a city bus in Denver and walk past riders to my seat. I spot an open seat right behind an older couple serenely sitting together. They seem humble, yet they sit effortlessly straight in their seats and have relaxed and dignified expressions. When I catch their eyes as I pass, I notice that their eyes are lively and engaging, though their bodies have a comfortable stillness.

I sit behind them. The man wears a pageboy hat, and the woman’s hair is covered with a colorful scarf tied under her chin. Both wear classic coats rather than the ski jacket styled coats that most people are sporting in the cold weather.

A young woman sitting at the front of the bus looks over at the couple before motioning to get their attention to ask them, “Excuse me, are you a couple?”

There is a slight pause, and she again enquires, “Are you together?”

They nod gently.

“Because you two look perfect together.”


Flowers for free

It’s a sunny but chilly day on the CU campus in Boulder, Colorado. People are bundled up, and there is still some snow on the ground from the last snow. It’s the last week of school before Thanksgiving break, nearing the end of the semester and heading into finals.

In front of Norlin Library, a young man stands in front of a large plastic bucket of bright carnations, announcing to passers-by, “Free flowers!”

A young woman approaches him and asks him why he is giving away flowers.

“Because…..” He dips his head slightly in a humble gesture and smiles. “Because, it’s Monday.”

“Aw,” she replies, smiling back at him.