There is a good deal too strange to be believed, nothing is too strange to have happened.
photo credit Robert Couse-Baker
At the end of my workday, Mr. Stuck called to tell me to meet Number One Son at the local college so I could pay for this quarter’s books. When I got off work, I called my son to let him know I would be there in about 10 minutes. I arrived and parked my car near his, and after some initial confusion, we made our way toward the bookstore.
On the way we saw an outdoor trashcan, the kind with the dome on top, that was decorated with what appeared to be a brightly colored, crocheted doily tied to the ‘roof’ of the trashcan. Passing through the courtyard, we saw crocheted items everywhere: wrapped around tree trunks and park benches; dangling from shrubbery; draped artfully over a wall; and wound around stair railings. There were ‘granny squares,’ scarves, odd-shaped needlework, and unidentifiable, shapeless knots of color.
photo credit Twilight Taggers
It wasn’t until I was putting this post together that I realized what I had seen: “Yarn bombing.” Don’t know when or where it began, but what it boils down to is people covering inanimate objects with pretty yarn things. Sign poles, fences, bicycle racks, park benches all get decorated with yarn. Some lucky statues even get warm scarves! It’s a fun fad, and I’m glad to have seen it.
At the bookstore, which also offers clothing, snacks, and school supplies, a nice lady pointed us to the back wall, and we set off to find the right math book. Shelves of what appeared to be the same textbook stretched before us, but in the place marked for his class unit there were none. I scanned the tags on the shelves again; following a hunch, I looked on the bottom shelf, where I found the book right away. Of course, it was exactly the same book and edition as those on the other shelves.
We picked up a couple of notebooks on our way to the cashier. She started ringing us up and asked for his student ID. He pulled out the temporary card that listed his registration number. She said she couldn’t process the rental without his actual student ID card. I asked where we could get one, and she pointed us down the hall and said she thought they were open until 6 p.m. We hurried in that direction, but few lights were on, and it appeared to be empty of people. A sign said, “STUDENT ID CARDS” and another sign said, “HOURS: M-F, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.” It was 4:35 p.m. Number One Son was matter-of-fact; “We’re too late,” he said.
“Wait a sec,” I told him. I continued around the counter and encountered a young, Hispanic-looking man in a flat-brimmed cap and a red, fuzzy, Santa suit. Not exactly what I expected, but in my life, what is?
photo credit Wonderlane
He was putting things away and shutting the computer down. I smiled hopefully and said, “Is there any way he (pointing at NOS) can get a student ID? The bookstore won’t let him rent a book until he has one.” “Sure,“ he said, “we can do that for you.” I thanked him, relieved. He smiled and said, “I’m Santa, after all.”
Santa turned the computer back on and went into the storage room for his equipment. He returned with a card printer and a camera on a tripod, both with several cables attached. While he connected the cables to the computer, a woman came out of a nearby room and offered him some suggestions. She was a forty-ish woman in khaki pants and an untucked polo shirt, and she had that rather mauve-ish hair that sometimes results from a bad home dye job for a wanna-be redhead, or when old ladies want to dye their poodles to match.
photo credit psyberartist
She looked like a gym teacher. She guided Santa through the process, and when he was frustrated that the camera wasn’t working, she pointed out that the cable wasn’t connected.
Once the cable was connected, everything worked. Number One Son signed his name on the electronic pad and stood before the green square on the wall, and in about three minutes, just as the bookstore lady said, the shiny new card came out of the printer. Thanks, Santa!
We hurried back to the bookstore. I told the lady that we were lucky that someone was still there after closing at 4:30. She stared at me and said, “It’s ONLY 4:30?” and slumped with an exaggerated sigh onto the counter. We laughed. She was able to finish our transaction, and NOS walked out of there with a bag full of books and a new ID. He offered to walk me back to my car, which was nice, but I told him to go ahead and do what else he needed to do, and I would go home.
The rest of my night was boring in comparison to Santa, the mauve madam, and trashcan doilies.