I have a habit of making up stories about strange situations, unexpected things and peculiar people I see, as an explanation for the oddity.
For instance, if I see a woman waiting for the bus with a shopping cart full of boxes of Milk Bones, I try to figure out why.
Maybe she lived alone with her beloved dog and doesn’t have a car. The dog loved Milk Bones and every time she got to the store, she bought a box so she would never run out.
As the dog got older, his teeth got bad so he couldn’t chew the bones. But she kept buying them anyway, out of habit or maybe out of denial that her dog was getting old.
When the poor dog died, she realized she had dozens and dozens of boxes of Milk Bones and looking at them made her sad, so she walked to the store, borrowed a shopping cart and filled it with Milk Bones.
Then she took the cart to the bus stop, hoping the bus will take her and the Milk Bones to the Humane Society so she could donate them.
While she’s there, she’ll maybe even find a puppy to adopt.
Most recently, I saw two painted canvases on the side of the road.
They were small, maybe 18 inches square. The one that was face up looked like a landscape with lots of deep blue sky.
Why would two paintings, works of art that someone obviously spent time creating, be in the street getting all wet and muddy?
I can think of a few reasons.
Maybe a student at the local art studio was biking home after class, carefully balancing his work under his arm, when ferocious dog ran out of a yard and starting chasing him.
While trying to get away, the student dropped his canvases and couldn’t stop to retrieve them without being mauled.
Too bad he didn’t know that the dog was noisy but not ferocious at all. He just wanted his belly rubbed.
Or maybe the artist had just broken up with her boyfriend, the one she moved in with only three months ago. Trying to avoid a confrontation, she loaded all her stuff into her car while he was at work.
The process took longer than she expected and she barely made it out before he was due to arrive home.
Unfortunately in her haste, she failed to secure the rope holding a stack of paintings to the roof of her car and it let go as she turned the corner.
She’s lucky that only two fell off.
Of course, the boyfriend is going to see the paintings as he drives by. That particular shade of blue sky is a signature of hers. It will catch his eye and he’ll stop to rescue the paintings.
Since they had been arguing a lot lately, he’ll intuit what their presence in the road means and the empty apartment won’t be a surprise.
He’ll probably hang the paintings in his bedroom, but just for a while, until he gets over her.
Or maybe the paintings were hanging in one of the rooms at a hotel that’s being torn down.
One of the construction guys took a liking to them (he’s always been fond of pictures of mountains. It reminds him of the time he hiked Mount Washington the summer between his junior and senior year of high school) so he decided to take them home.
He thinks he might even wrap them up and give them to his mother for her birthday.
Then, as he is driving home with his buddy, he looks at the pictures more closely and sees that they are covered in God knows what kind of hotel gunk.
His co-worker, who cleans his truck twice a week and doesn’t allow anyone to even drink coffee in it, starts freaking out that the filthy and probably germ ridden paintings are in his vehicle.
“Get them out of here! Get them out of here!” he yells, as he swerves all over the road.
Afraid that they are going to crash, the construction worker rolls down the window and pitches the paintings out, nearly taking out a little old man out for his first walk after a hip replacement.
The construction worker never even hears the nasty name the old man calls him.
And that’s the kind of stories something like two painting in the street can cause.