Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Curious Incident of the Blue Bowls in the Nighttime

Yesterday was a curious day. 

First, there was the incident of the bird at my neighborhood grocery store.

Just as I arrived at the check-out line of my favorite cashier Marcella, she left her station & went to the only other line open & began chatting with Catherine at that register & a young woman from Wells Fargo Bank.

On the arm of the Wells Fargo employee was perched a very large, gorgeous white bird.  I don’t know much about birds, but I think it was a Cockatoo.  It looked very much like this, only more beautiful:

I wish, like Catherine the cashier, I had pulled out my phone & captured a picture of it.

When the man in front of me finished paying for his groceries, he reached over & took the creature & placed it on his shoulder. 

I wondered if it was his service bird.  I wondered if there was such a thing – I was familiar with service dogs & cats & equine therapy, but birds?

Yes, Jaki Jean, there are service birds.

The incident was curious, but the sight brought a smile to my face & to my soul.

This morning, I discovered the curious incident of the blue bowls in the nighttime.

As I was passing the back door, I looked out its window panes & spotted a blue object in the middle of our yard.  At first, I thought it had been dropped by the lawn maintenance crew yesterday afternoon. 

Annoyed, I went to retrieve it, only to discover dozens of blue Solo bowls scattered around the two trees near the back fence.  It would have been impossible to miss them yesterday.

Had the squirrels who believe our trees & yard are their personal territory been hoarding plastic bowls in preparation for the winter?  Where did the blue bowls come from & why? 

The bowls were neither clean nor dirty.  No food remains – just bits of sand as if they had been used as a shovel in a sand box or at the beach.  

While I do not know the family who lives in the house directly behind us, I do know our neighbors on either side.  Mr. Israel & his late wife Nora, & Juta & Deitmar both bought their homes 1971, when Jack & Jean bought this house.

Littering a neighbor’s yard with sandy plastic bowls is not their style.  The placement of the scattered blue bowls was suspicious – between & surrounding the trees near the back fence.

But I am curious – why blue bowls?  Why scatter them deliberately in someone else’s back yard?  Why my back yard?

The blue bowls did not cause damage & cleaning them up did not require the amount of work caused when children or young adults toilet paper houses & trees, egg cars or front doors, leave a lobster in the mailbox during 95˚ heat, spray red paint on the back of a new car, let the air out of tires, toss tampons & sanitary pads coated with ketchup across the front yard or scatter bags of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish on the front porch & sidewalks because your youngest son’s nickname is Fish.

All of these things have happened here in the yard of the house Jack & Jean purchased 45 years ago.

Perhaps the motivation behind the curious incident of the blue bowls in the nighttime is similar to the motivation behind messy vandalism.

The idea of crossing a line, transgressing without getting caught or answering for one’s actions.  To see if you can cross the line & transgress without consequences.  I don’t know – in my first youth I never egged or papered a house or left a lobster in a mail box during 95˚ weather. 

However, during my high school years at Coronado High School in El Paso, my friend Colleen Tubbs & I saved all the straws from drinks at the Charcoaler Drive-in Restaurant & when we collected enough, we would toss them in the front yards of several Coronado basketball players & one alumni from the football team.  We also used to leave giant lollipops on the front seats of their cars.

Littering a yard with plastic blue bowls makes about as much sense as straws & lollipops.

But blue bowls don't smell like a lobster left in a mailbox in 95˚ weather.  And blue Solo bowls are recyclable.  

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