Blog by VONNIE DAVIS -- International, Award-Winning Romance Author: Adventurous...Humorous...Amorous.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why am I a Magnet for the Absurd?

I was talking to a friend yesterday, and she remarked how interesting things seem to happen to me. Well, now, I don't know if I'd call them interesting, but they do put me into the category of "Magnet for the Absurd." Or as my co-workers used to say, "Oh, that's vintage Vonnie." I just seem to be at the wrong place at the wrong time or do the dumbest of things without even realizing it. I've been told my mind is in the clouds. Truth be told, my mind is working on a story and I'm not always aware of my surroundings--until it's too late.

Take the day a guy flashed me on my way to work. I'd eased my Thunderbird to the curb in front of a house, got out of the car and turned around to see
the man of said house--naked--standing at the open doorway, stroking himself. I quickly looked away, thinking nah, I didn't see what I thought I saw. So, just to make sure, I turned and took another gander. Sure enough, he was smiling and stroking, posing and pulling, grinning and grabbing...and just like him, I could go on and on with this. So. I squared my shoulders and hurried into work, told my supervisor what I saw and called the police. The phone conversation went something like this. "Ma'am, could you identify him?" And in all my air-headedness, I replied, "Oh yes! If he was naked from the waist down, I could spot him in an instant. I don't know if I ever got a good look at his face though." There was a long pause and I think I heard someone snickering. "Could you give me the address?" When I gave it to him, he sighed and said the guy had a history of exposing himself, but was seeing a court-appointed therapist. Well, lucky me to be there when he fell off the wagon--or out of his clothes.

Once I'd gotten my kids through college, a girlfriend and I took a Caribbean Cruise. Too bad my luggage didn't make it to the docks. There I was, stuck on a ship for seven days with no change of clothes. Having never traveled like that before, I was too naïve to pack my carry-on with more care. In it I'd crammed my camera, jewelry, make-up, curling iron, nightgown and several romance books. You know, essentials. Two weeks after I'd arrived home, my luggage did, too. It had gone to Rio de Janeiro.

The cruise ship was nice enough to give me a replacement suitcase and a stipend to spend on ship for clothes. Too bad the ship only stocked small sizes and I was most definitely NOT small. I bought men's t-shirts and shorts and was relegated to hand washing my one set of undies in the sink every night. Two evenings, cruisers were expected to wear evening gowns or tuxedoes to dinner. Guess who didn't pass dress code? Oh, and flying home to BWI airport from Miami, my new luggage was lost, too. It had gone to Texas. So, my luggage got lost coming and going. What are the chances of that?

Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. While on our cruise, the ship docked in Jamaica. I'd signed up for a day trip to Dunn's River Falls used in many movies, like James Bond's "Dr. No". We climbed the falls, the cold water spray a relief in the steamy heat of the island. Once I made it to the top, I ambled to a series of shacks where locals were hawking their wares. I spoke to a lady selling beads and joked with her about needing love beads since I'd been alone for eight years. Little did I know the man in the next hut was taking in my every word. He had wood carvings and I was intrigued, asking questions as he slowly led me into his hut. What kind of wood was he using? How long did it take him to carve this fish? Did he use the same size knife or tool for all his carvings? Next thing I knew he'd banded his arms around me and pulled me to him. He was fondling me--fondling me, mind you! "Take me to America with you. I'll make you a good man. I'll make love to you until you can't walk." The man was well over six-feet and so was his...so was his....oh, myyyy. I made a fist, put on my "angry Mother face" and growled, "Get your hands off me or I'll deck you." I must have startled him for his hold loosened. I turned and ran for the tour bus.

My sons chewed me out when I got home and told them the story. "Mother (it's always a bad sign when they call me that...kinda like a reverse of me calling them by their first and middle names), what were you thinking of when you went off on your own like that?"

I went off on my own in Berlin, too. Calvin was happily working on his book in a coffee shop, and I wanted to see more of the city. So I set off for parts unknown, taking pictures and enjoying the energy of Germany's capital.

On Rykestrasse, it was the policemen guarding what looked like a church that snagged my attention, and I walked over to what I later learned was Berlin's Ryke Street Synagogue. Nearly 70 years after it was badly desecrated and damaged in the 1938 Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass), Germany's largest synagogue had recently reopened after being restored to its original glory at a cost of 5 million euros (7 million American dollars). Neo-Nazis had made several bombing threats and thus the armed guards. I was unaware of all this as I neared the religious-like structure that chilly March morning.

An elderly couple were there, hugging and sobbing. I approached them to see if I could help. A silly idea, really, since I spoke no German. Luckily the man spoke broken English. His name was Abram and hers, Sarah. They were brother and sister, living in Israel. This had been their synagogue growing up until WWII when their entire family was taken to a concentration camp. Abram and Sarah, being the youngest, were the only two of their family to survive. They'd returned to Berlin to see their childhood synagogue, their family's place of worship, restored--and they were overcome with emotion. I can't recall what I said to them, but in an instant they both had their arms around me, and the three of us cried together, as if we were old friends reunited.

They held my hands and asked me to go inside with them. I declined, telling them I couldn't intrude on their personal reunion with their synagogue. Off they toddled, holding hands, their heads touching as they talked. I waited outside for a while before I entered.

I had to go through several metal detectors and a guard took me aside and spoke German to me. Not having a clue what he'd said, I smiled. Hey, it's the universal language. Right? Right! He repeated whatever he's said earlier. I shrugged. He called over a stern looking female guard. She looked me up and down and repeated what the male guard had said. I told her I was American and did not speak German. In an irritated huff, she motioned me on.

I approached the elevator, admiring it's carved wooden paneled doors and trying to decide how best to tour the building. I decided to start at the top and work my way down. I pressed the button for the top floor and felt I'd entered the hushed embrace of something very sacred. I found the door to a special meeting room and opened it, taking a couple pictures of the twelve ornately carved chairs around a table waxed to a bright shine. I moved on to the next closed door. Now most people would see a closed door as a sign, but not me. I opened the door to the shocked expression of a rabbi. He asked me what I was doing there...at least I think that's what he asked me. Did I mention I don't speak German? He took me by the arm and escorted me to the elevator. Once I stepped on it, he too said the same German phrase. I thought maybe he was asking me if I was Jewish. I told him I was a Baptist. He shook his head and leaned in to press the button for the third floor. That night when we had dinner with my step-son, Kelly asked what we'd done that day while he was at work. I told him about my experience at the synagogue. He asked what phrase they kept saying to me. I tried to repeat it, bungling it, of course. He evidently got the gist of it and gave me a correct version. I nodded and told him that was it. He nearly fell out of his chair laughing. They'd been telling me the zipper in my pants was open.

As my kids would tell you, I'm not fit to be left alone. In fact, Mike told Calvin not to let me go off on my own in Paris or Berlin when we go next month. To which Calvin said, "Why, when your mother has such wonderful, unique experiences?" Even so, he shot me a warning glance. I think I may be grounded...

35 comments:

Angel Nicholas said...

Goodness, Vonnie! Such a wild adventuress! I'm definitely taking you on my next vacation so I can get in trouble with you.

P.S.
It may be for the best that you're grounded. ;)

Joanne Stewart said...

Oh, Vonnie. I'm dying over here. You have such wonderful adventures. Nothing interesting every happens to me, except maybe weirdos like the one who exposed himself to you. Thanks for the giggle. :)

Oh, and I'm with Angel. I'd love to get in trouble with you. ;)

Mary Ricksen said...

And I thought I was the only one to have those kind of experiences. LOL

Calisa Rhose said...

Well, you have me beat, V. My grand experience was at 17 when I took Greyhound to see my brother in Orlando, FLA for two weeks. On my way home I went to the bathroom and there was this little door flapping so I peeked out to see road rushing by...and slowing. The bus came to a full stop and then someone banged on the door. When I walked out the driver started accusing me of smoking pot. It took me several minutes to convince him--in front of that over full but of strangers--that I certainly was NOT smoking pot (though what I wouldn't have given for some just then!). Seems that little door is a trap. People go into the bathroom and smoke so the bus system installed those little flaps as a security measure. Culprits could push them open to blow the smoke out. Only, like me, they had no idea until it was too late that opening that little flap set off an alarm for the driver. Mind you, at 17 I was something of a curious smartass. I slung my hands to hips and glared at that driver, "You need to get that thing fixed so innocent people don't try to look to see what it goes to, with it flopping open like it is, and get accused of something I didn't do!" At the next bus stop the bus was sent in immediately for repairs and I got an official apology from the driver before my next bus took me home. ;)

Calisa Rhose said...

Oh- and I was flashed once too. That's another story... :/

SharonStruth said...

Vonnie, I truly enjoyed your adventures and funny tales! You know, I think they are out there if people are open to them. I talk to strangers, am drawn to a place where others might walk away. Like you, I always have a story about something bizarre that crosses my path, but maybe it's that we're just receptive to all the strangeness in the universe. Not a bad trait for a writer.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Angel, wouldn't we have a blast together? The Dynamic Duo. Whoot!

Niecey Roy - Romance Author said...

I think the Number ONe lesson learned here is that, when going to a foreign country, always make sure to learn "Your zipper is down," in that language. Bwah-haha!!! LOVED this post, Vonnie :)

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Joanne, I'd love to get in trouble with you, too. Think of the giggle fits we'd have...and those wide-eyed moments of "who? me?" Like the time I got caught for speeding and the officer told me I was going 78mph. I gave him an innocent look and said, "You've got to be kidding. I didn't know this heap could go that fast." I got off with a warning.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Mary, do you mean we're Absurd Magnet Sisters? How cool!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Calisa, love your spunky spirit. And you were flashed, too? Oh, do tell...

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

You're so right, Sharon. Being open to the things around us is a trait of the creative spirit in us. We connect to things and people on a deeper level, I think.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Yup, Niecey, that might be a phrase I need to add to my French and German language skills. Can you imagine? I walked the streets of Berlin with my fly hanging open. Oh, gawd!!!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I don't know what to say but I love you, Vonnie.I was laughing so hard my hubby asked me to read your blog out loud to him. We always have things to talk about every time we leave the house, but none quite as unique and I am sure I couldn't give them the justice you do. Huggles!!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh dear, I hope your hubs doesn't think I'm a complete idiot...89% maybe...LOL Thanks for stopping by.

Melissa Snark said...

Vonnie, thanks for the laugh! I needed it. :)

Barbara said...

How funny! Ok, perhaps not to you at the time, but they're priceless events to build stories around.

See, you're blessed :)

Jannine Gallant said...

"I can identify him from the waist down." Honestly, if you don't use that line in a book, I will! Too funny, Vonnie.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Melissa, so glad you stopped by and that I was able to make you smile.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Barbara, you are so, so right. I am very blessed. I think about it a lot about how blessed I've been these last few years. It helps to make up for all the pain of the early years.

Angela Adams said...

Vonnie, this reads kinda like a sitcom -- and I have the title, "Adventures with Vonnie!"(smile)

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Oh, Jannine, can you imagine the policeman's face when I told him that? It never occurred to me how ditzy I sounded until I told my co-workers and they nearly died.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Angela! LOL You're too funny. At times, it does sound like a sit com, doesn't it? Yikes!

Patricia said...

Wonderful stories. What a hoot!
Patti

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks Patricia. There's more...unfortunately. LOL

Chrys Fey said...

Oh this was hilarious! You had me literally laughing out loud. The things that you have gone through seem too absurd to be real! One day you should use these incidents (or ones like it) in a book! I would definitely read a book about a female character who encounters a naked man who his stroking himself, and is told multiple times that her zipper is down in a foreign language. ;)

Mackenzie Crowne said...

Oh bless your heart. I love you, V. I have to go change my pants now. I laughed a little too forcefully.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Chrys, if I made you laugh, I'm tickled. Believe me, all this happened. I just seem to attract weird situations AND people.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

What part got you, Mac? The posing and the pulling??? Love you, too.

Linda Carroll-Bradd said...

You are a wonderful storyteller and made me get teary with this post.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I love telling stories and jokes and seeing people's reactions.

Calisa Rhose said...

You've inspired me, V. Watch my blog for my harrowing experience! LOL

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Ohhh, I can't wait to read it!!

Jessica Terry said...

I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thnaks, Jessica! Come back to visit soon!