Such withdrawals are rare for us. Crazy people love to strike up conversations with us in public, and most of the time we stick them out until their handlers retrieve them or they receive an important telepathic message from their silverware and have to cut things short with us. The Panera crazy was the worst kind of crazy -- the talkative type who's coherent enough to form sentences and informed enough (he had a laptop) to be really dangerous.
From his booth, he told us the following during our hurried, borderline panic lunch:
Educators are fascists and always try to "lock kids up."
Students like the Hickman high school student who's in trouble for trying to make a pipe bomb should be encouraged because they show creativity.
Regarding real estate, this is a seller's market. "I'm making deals on trailer parks and properties! I'm in Panera with a laptop. My family is all working jobs!"
"China has a mountain of wealth, the U.S. has a hole of an abyss"
The U.S. dollar will collapse within one year of today, November 3, 2008.
Doctors are fascists.
Students should be selected randomly in high school, placed directly into medical school, and indentured in the community, working in public health centers so that everyone can have the best health care there is for $10.
Barack Obama is a fascist (this was new; normally crazies call Barack Obama a socialist or a communist)
Barack Obama is part of a sinister plot involving serial numbers and bar codes (this is about the point I darted up for a to-go bag)
So anyway, I'm at our favorite cafe now. No crazies here ... yet. Neesha took off after she got her papers graded. Hey, speaking of fascists, ask Neesha about her students' grasp of the events of the Holocaust. Seriously.
We had a busy Halloween weekend. We rented costumes from Gotcha! earlier last week -- Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Clearly, the Little Red Riding Hood costume is the superior get up. Things I learned from my night as the Wolf:
1. I look pretty disgusting in a dress.
2. A plastic animal nose and cloth ears on a head band do not a wolf make.
3. House shoes in a night club = bad idea.
That's my best friend Andy in the Spartan outfit, and his roommate Nathan (el bandito), his sis Liz (Marilyn) and her bf Kevin (Tony Stark). Halloween was a long night. This is the beginning of it, at Liz's house. The end was of it was Neesha and I on a cold tile floor somewhere. At some point in the middle it looked like Sparta would be showing a cute lady Ghostbuster the secret of the phalanx, until some d-bag cowboy started spilling tequila shots on the Big Bad Wolf's dress. Sparta almost went to war for that, and by the time the conflict had ended, Ghostbuster girl was gone.
Little Red spent most of the next day recovering, and I opined about the end of Opus the penguin. You guys feel me on that.
Later, we climbed into a S.T.R.I.P.E.S. SUV and became rescuers to people like the ones we'd been the night before. That went late -- 'til about 4 a.m. -- but was quiet for the most part. We stayed busy picking up and dropping off, but nobody was rowdy or sick in our vehicle. We suspect they all had the party Halloweened out of them the night before.
Sunday, I somehow made my sluggish lurch to church, and during those sagging moments after communion, when the pastors and acolytes clean stuff up and people shuffle back to their pews, I texted Neesh to see if she'd meet me at Shelter Gardens for coffee.
Shelter Gardens, by the way, is one of the top reasons we like living in Columbia -- along with It's a Grind (and other, lesser coffee shops), Capen Park, Pinnacles, the Big Tree, Chipotle, Lance, Beth, Barack Obama yardies, bike lanes, and the glimmer of diversity.
I was walked around for awhile, trying to find her. She was in the gazebo taking pictures of me doing this. The coffee cups were warm in my hands. The sunlight winked through the remaining leaves and danced through the shedding branches, and I wondered where my fiancee was, knowing I'd find her soon, and I thought, what a good life this is.
Today I've been told I'm about to help elect a fascist maniac president and that the collapse of our national currency is imminent -- both very unlikely in my opinion. Still, I think that without Shelter Gardens and other places I like, without the comfort and hope I feel for getting to vote tomorrow for someone I think is good, without the expensive coffee and the money in my pocket still being worth something -- without all that, as long as there's still Neesha, it would still be a good life.