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My Sister’s Stories

posted at 12:01 pm
on Jul. 6, 2003

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My sister is always getting herself into the vicinity of trouble.

Not in trouble, mind you, just near enough to where it makes for some really interesting stories.

In one story she tells me, she once worked at a telemarketing company that had a big flat parking lot outside it windowless offices.  One of her co-workers was approaching the building when, off on the other side of the parking lot, she saw a man commit suicide by shooting himself in the head—this, as she’s walking into work for the day.  My sister didn’t know who the person was, but he wasn’t an employee of her company.

In another, two-part story, my sister Virginia (she’s the youngest one) tells me that she went up to a natural hot springs located “just off the main road” near Santa Barbara.  Several miles off the main road, in fact.  She was headed up there with a friend, and at one point, they had to drive across a small stream that crossed the road—there was no bridge.  They got through in their truck with little trouble, and continued on their way.  At the hot springs, there were three other people—two young men and an older fellow. The two guys beckoned them over and said, “hey, can you give us a lift back when you go?”

“Sure,” said my sister.  “How come?”

“Well, we had asked that other guy for a ride back, but he seems a little crazy…”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, he keeps muttering about killing everyone and making gun noises.”

[Just as a side note, I sure wouldn’t have stuck around to find out the second part of this story, as my sister did…] Well, the older fellow comes by and settles in the hot springs and, my sister swears, sure enough, they talk for a little while about nothing in particular and he seems just fine, but when the conversation falters after a bit, he mutters, “Two in the back of the head, pow pow. Two in the head, two in the head.”

Luckily, this IS enough to convince my sister to leave, so they all hop in the truck, and she asks the two guys why they got a ride up with him to the springs in the first place.

“Oh,” one says, “we didn’t.  We drove up.”

“Well, where’s your car?” she asks.

“It got stuck in the creek.”

“We didn’t see it when we crossed.”

“Well, it’s there, I’ll show you.”

And sure enough, when they get back to the creek, he points out the roof of his car, just barely sticking above the water off to the right of the crossing.  Apparently there’s a bit of a dropoff on one side, and when they drop the two guys off at the forest rangers, the ranger says several cars a year go skidding off into the pool.

“Could have been worse,” said the ranger at the station.

“Yeah,” said Virginia to me later, “they could have gotten a ride back with that other fellow.”

Overheard

“The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.”

...who said it?

“Almost every American I know does trade large portions of his life for entertainment, hour by weeknight hour, binge by Saturday binge, Facebook check by Facebook check. I’m one of them. In the course of writing this I’ve watched all 13 episodes of House of Cards and who knows how many more West Wing episodes, and I’ve spent any number of blurred hours falling down internet rabbit holes. All instead of reading, or writing, or working, or spending real time with people I love.”

...who said it?

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

...who said it?

“I play with variables constantly.”

...who said it?

“Only the person who has learned Continual Love coming from a heart of Gratitude/Worship can effectively deal with the problem of loneliness.”

...who said it?

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