Thursday, July 01, 2010

Random acts of randomness

After rambling yesterday about the maddening quality of repetition and sameness in life as we age, I was remiss in not pointing out that the occasional encounter with a random thing does break up the mundaneness of it all. Point in fact: I was driving to the train station this morning on my usual route encountering the usual traffic at the usual places and stopping at the usual lights when I noticed a watermelon in the gutter next to the road.

This struck me as odd. One might expect an apple or an orange perhaps, cast off from a passing car. But you don't normally see a whole watermelon just sitting there down and out in the gutter wondering why part of its ambitions to be part of a summer picnic had been thwarted. This was a whole, unscathed watermelon, mind you. It hadn't been tossed in the gutter. It had been placed or perhaps rolled there. The only thing odder fruit to be found just sitting in the gutter would be a coconut or perhaps a pineapple. But even those could have accidentally fallen out of some one's grocery bags. Watermelons, however, don't just happen.

Now granted this watermelon was in the vicinity of a real estate office that is surrounded by life sized fiberglass models of animals. There is a life sized elephant, a giraffe, a gorilla and I believe a zebra. It is a virtual Noah's Ark of fake animals staged for some unknown reason under a tree in front of the office. But these have been there for several years and have merged into the sameness of my everyday experience driving to the train station. The watermelon is a new anomaly.

I am actually quite fond of random things. They spice up the mundane. I was in a lawyer's office with my family the other day signing some papers when a transient looking gentleman popped in the front door and proclaimed that there was a live opossum outside and he just wanted us to know about it because we had small children with us. The lawyer thanked him and returned to pointing out where I needed to date, initial and sign a document. I had to resist the urge to jump up and say, "Hey kids, let's go out and play with the live opossum. They are lots more fun than the dead ones we have at home."

I work in downtown Seattle so I am actually pretty used to random things. One of my co-workers was waiting for the bus outside our building a couple of years ago when a man wheels up to him with a shopping cart loaded with hams and asked him if he'd like to buy one. I debate sometimes whether this was a random thing or just odd. This is a fine line we are talking here.

Since I am contradicting my post from yesterday anyway, I must say that I find any movie done by the Coen brothers an exception to the rule when it comes to breaking out of the hackneyed plot realm. I love their films because they epitomize a sort of organized randomness. It is refreshing in a "I don't really understand it, but here's something I haven't seen before" way.

Kind of like the watermelon in the gutter this morning.

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