“Hurry up! We’re going to miss our train,” my friend yelled as we were making our way to the West Boulevard-Cudell RTA station in Cleveland.
“What are you doing?”
"I’m taking a picture. It might not be here when we get back from the Indians game."
She rolled her eyes, and I didn’t blame her. It’s hard to justify what I was photographing but it’s a habit I’ve had for some time now.
I like to take pictures of things that are completely out of place and must have a good story behind how they got there. I love the mystery behind it.
My favorite is the random shoe you see in the oddest of places, such as a wingtip on a highway on ramp, a loafer in the coffee shop parking lot and, my favorite, a perfectly good and nearly new lone Chuck Taylor red high top outside of Disneyland in California. Did the person lose it going in or coming out of the happiest place on earth?
I always wanted to make a coffee table book out of these random shoe sightings and then publish a second volume to include random things like the recliner on I-77 and the shrubbery on the inner belt. Once, while walking my dog, I found a pair of adult-sized underwear on a sidewalk. I didn’t want to know the story behind that one, nor would I include that in my book.
So it had been awhile since I had seen something so mesmerizingly out of place. Yet here it was, on a sunny Tuesday in Cleveland, laying still and silent on the sidewalk like a long black snake. Yet, it was no snake. It was, in fact, a black braided ponytail that was a good 12 inches long and had mysteriously landed in the middle of the pavement.
How did it get there, I wondered?
When I was a news anchor at WKYC in Cleveland, I would randomly see hair weaves in the middle of Lakeside as I drove in to work.
"Was there a street party last night and someone danced their hair off?" I would wonder to myself.
That’s not completely out of the question, you know. One of my mom’s all-time favorite stories was about that very thing. She was working at a radio station and one year at their company Christmas party, the morning disc jockey’s wife had a little too much eggnog and Watusied the wig right off of her head. Without skipping a beat, she scooped it up and put it on. Except she put it on backwards. As all the short hairs were now over her forehead and the longer hairs were in the back, my mom said she Watusied with renewed vigor right over to the punch bowl.
It also has occurred to me that maybe the hair pieces I have discovered here in Ohio were perhaps blown off. That’s not out of the question either.
Years ago, I was on a cruise with a dear friend of mine who is beautiful, glamorous and always red carpet ready when her hair piece was blown off by gust of wind. Like every one of us who has ever dropped an important paper or a dollar bill outside, every time she bent over to pick it up, the wind would take it and the hair piece would pick up speed.
To fellow passengers on that deck, it must have looked like she was chasing a long-haired guinea pig, which would be only slightly more unusual than seeing a woman chase her hair to no avail.
In the end, it was a combination of the movies “Titanic” and “Last of the Mohicans” as we stood together on the bow of the ship and, in my best Daniel Day Lewis impersonation, I yelled into the ocean, ’I will find you!’ Sadly, it was just “Gone With the Wind.”
I wondered what the ocean creatures must have thought as the blonde ball made its way to the ocean floor. Or the deep sea fisherman who could reel it in after a long night of fishing. “What the? Maybe there really are mermaids.
Stephen Hawking said, “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.” That may be good advice, but think of all the things you’ll miss, including a best selling coffee table book.