Friday, February 17, 2017

Weirdness, with a side of snow crab

[Mom has moved out of the hospital and into a nearby rehabilitation center, where she will probably stay until her doctors determine she's had enough treatment to finish convalescing at home. If you're inclined to pray for her, please ask for her break to heal cleanly and her physical therapy to go well. Thank you!]

Last night I was thinking about a little incident I'd almost forgotten, something that happened the last time Jenny came to visit me. We went into Seattle to play tourist for the day, taking in the sights on the waterfront. We also decided to pick up some lunch at a seafood restaurant, and it was there that we witnessed something subtly creepy.

Our waitress seated us across from an older couple, a man and woman who appeared to be in their 80s or early 90s. They were clean, neatly dressed, had unremarkable features. But they were sitting perfectly still and staring into space, looking not at, but through each other. And all the time my sister and I sat there -- talking, laughing, perusing our menus, subtly glancing at this couple out of the corners of our eyes -- they remained locked in that position, unmoving, unblinking, perhaps not even breathing. They might have been statues. We were just starting to wonder if they'd simultaneously died in that position and rigor mortis was setting in, when their waitress arrived with their food. This broke the spell, and they picked up their cutlery and silently began to eat.

Were they having a fight? Trying to win a bet? If it was some kind of game, it wasn't one I'd like to play. The two showed every appearance of being an old married couple, which made me wonder -- how do you reach a point where you're so unmoved, so apathetic in the presence of the person with whom you chose to spend a lifetime that you can't even rouse yourself enough to scratch an itch or change your expression?

I suppose there could be some alternate theories to explain their preternatural lifelessness. Were they aliens who had finally grown tired of blending in with the human population? Androids taking a quick mental road trip to Uncanny Valley? Beings under some kind of malign enchantment that could only be broken by chowin' down on lobster? Maybe they were spy fish in clever human suits, infiltrating the restaurant as part of their assignment to discover what became of their boss, the missing Captain Dungeness. (That dossier isn't going to have a happy ending.)

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