Guest Post: Jen Doll
Guest Post: Jen Doll // @thisisjendoll
I confess: I love the bizarre. A kidnapping caused by a slap caused by someone eating the last Hot Pocket. A bear, alone on the street, collapsed in a drunken stupor after being laid off from his job (don't worry, it's the best thing that's ever happened to him!). An air conditioner that falls out of a window and very nearly hits someone but doesn't, and instead lands on a pile of dog poo that a snooty-looking woman had been just about to put her Tory Burch flat directly into (she wrinkles her nose in disgust). A family getting lost in a corn maze 25 feet from the exit and calling 911 to get out. Two guys attempting to carry a couch away from a stoop sale, but dropping it on the wrought iron grates of a fence, where it remains, precariously perched, until a third friend arrives and helps them take it down. A woman who, walking down the street, feels something touch her foot and kicks her leg out Rockette-style in response, jettisoning her shoe from her foot; it soars through the air and hits a guy 20 feet away in the back. He returns it to her, and maybe they fall in love, or maybe he quickly moves away from New York, where shoes have a propensity to fall from the sky. (The thing that touched her foot, for the record, was a leaf.) A cat that steals under cover of darkness. A car shaped like a banana. The time you shaved off a stranger's beard, just because. I am inspired by the things you see or hear or read or listen to or do, on purpose or by chance, that incite cliches like "Truth is stranger than fiction!" or "You can't make that stuff up!", though sometimes you can make up the story.This is what I like the most: Finding out what happened, the banal little mystery or human condition or need or want or coincidence that led to the bizarre -- or, sometimes even better, concocting the story for what happened. I have no idea what the story is for this bear. I saw him near my apartment one weekend, and it looked as though others were getting his photo, too. Had they set him there to amuse passersby? Had he plummeted from a window above, or perhaps been tossed out by an angry resident who came home to find him cheating on her with the stuffed, one-eyed monkey? Was he hiding from the paps, in plain sight? Did an aging couple lose him on their way to a Mexican restaurant and, considering him part of the family, are they now plastering signs asking for his return all over Park Slope? Is he a hobo bear, getting a bit of shut-eye until he moves on to the next neighborhood or town? Had he just eaten a slice of pie left by a kindly woman, as well as a turkey sandwich (tryptophan!)? Is he a renegade Occupy Wall Street protester, as some suggested on Twitter when I posted the image? Chances are, we'll never know. He's no longer there -- I just happened to "be at the right place at the right time." But that only makes it more fun. He can be anything and everything we want him to be. He'll answer to whatever you choose to call him. That's the beauty of a bear on the sidewalk.