I love that everywhere I go, I seem to find the ‘other ones’ out there. By other ones, I mean the freaks of the world. Thank you freaks of the world for always finding me. I love you. We gotta keep this would-be straight-edged world just a little skewed.
We arrived to the Charlotte North Carolina International Airport last night to find that our connecting flight was delayed. So doing what any good traveler would do, we headed straight to the airport bar. Just as we order beers and get settled, I notice a tiny little old lady with a sparkle in her eye and a rather glitzy hat sitting at the table next to us, picking at chips and salsa like a little bird and looking around at everyone.
She caught my gaze and yelled, “I love your hat!”
“I love yours too!” I called back. Her purple hat was covered with little Vishnus and glittery gold trim.
“Wanna trade?” she asked.
“OK,” I said. And I was serious. I would have traded, was ready to trade, was about to jump off my stool and grab her hat. It wasn’t that I liked her hat better than my own, it’s just that a spunky little old lady asking if you want to trade hats is a special and uncommon occurence worthy of a no-questions-asked swap.
“No,” she answered. “I can’t really do that. But you can still give me yours!”
Bobbie is her name. She hangs out with us for awhile, flitting around between our table, the piano player and sometimes, she traipses behind the bar to hug the bartender, who is clearly nervous about the patron-grandmother.
“I missed my plane on purpose!” she exclaims with the glee. “I want to stay here and party! You know, I come from a small town where all they do is tell you what you are doing wrong . . . ”
Indeed. “What makes you different than all of them you think?” I ask.
“My grandmother,” she said. “I’m just like her. My grandmother never would tell her age to anyone. She marked out her birthday in the family bible so hard that she ripped the page. And do you know, my adopted grand-daughter always tells me ‘Bobbie, you are too old. You need to learn to act right.'” She erupts in tinkling little giggles that float up into the air like the toasting of wine glasses.
Bobbie runs off to dance near the piano again. The bartender comes over and explains her concern about the little old lady. “I mean, I love her spirit and all,” the bartender said, “But I’m scared that she’s a little nuts. If something isn’t right with her and something happens to her, they are gonna blame me. She’s told everyone in the bar that she missed her plane on purpose!”
The Charlotte airport is close enough to Columbia that Matt’s parents came and picked us up. By then, Ms. Bobbie had already flitted on, partying in her own way.
God bless the freaks, every one, young and old. And especially the young at heart. I love you, Ms. Bobbie.