I am a storyteller.
I don’t just observe, I embellish.
One of my favorite activities is creating stories while people watching, especially at airports. That’s not a couple from Cincinnati going to visit their grandson in California. They are long-term lovers, finally deciding life is too short, so they cleaned out their respective bank accounts, left their spouses, and are flying to Costa Rica to start a new life. An angry abandoned wife will soon be in pursuit, and there will be an exciting confrontation.
I interpret meaning into things that are, in all probability, just coincidental, and I perhaps read a bit too much into happenstance. It makes life a bit more interesting when I can believe that someone is behind something, and it’s not all random. I am certainly not a conspiracist, but perhaps a sunnier, funnier, less well-armed participant in the paranoia parade.
It’s mostly the little things. I like to believe that the letter I received that clearly stated “Do Not Bend” on the envelope was intentionally mangled and purposefully bent by a vengefully disgruntled mail carrier. I want to hold with the thought that the box marked “This Side Up” going up the cargo belt into the plane was read and intentionally placed on its side.
Is it possible that jury duty letters are sent out by a vindictive committee that actively seeks people already deep in strife, perhaps culling from hospital admissions or accident reports?
Do grocery stores intentionally make it difficult to find smaller carts because they don’t want you to use them and possibly buy less?
Wouldn’t it be amusing if the heavily accented customer service person you called isn’t really in India at all, just a guy in Texas who is messing with you? How many times are you disconnected from your pizza delivery order on purpose, perhaps a bet among employees as to how many times you will persist?
Another frequent pastime is looking for subliminal messages in commercials. My newest favorite is a vignette for a smoking cessation drug, can’t come up with the name (fail!) that has the recent non-smoker happily strolling hand in hand with his wife into a barbecue joint whose marquee reads “The Smoking Pig.” The smoking pig? Coincidence? I don’t think so.
But perhaps I am giving too much credit to the basic intelligence of the American public. Exhibit A, the popularity of Donald Trump. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.