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Friday, August 22, 2003


I got to my apartment last night and there was a traffic jam in front of the elevators, as there often is around 5ish. I sat down on the sofa, instead of waiting in line, being slightly agoraphobic (in terms of crowds of people, not open spaces) and in no terrible hurry. There was an old man sitting on one of the chairs, and a woman standing near him, holding a large box. He was saying something along the lines of "may I help you, madam? I am an adventurer from New Hampshire." Fascinated, I kept watching the conversation, as the woman ignored him. He caught my eye, and suddenly, I had his attention.

"You, sir. Do you know if it is legal or not in this state of Pennsylvania to carry a concealed firearm?"
I shrugged. I don't know. Guns and gun control is not something I think about a whole lot.
"I can tell, sir, from your look that it is not legal."
I tried to say that no, I really didn't know. He didn't seem to care. It was a rhetorical question.
"I was down at Independence Hall, sir, and a woman there was shocked, shocked! when she learned that Americans were allowed to carry guns."
I laughed in semi-agreement. Are our schools that bad?
"Question for you, sir. Do you know who owns most of this country?"
"That's a difficult question. What do you mean?"
"In terms of property, land."
"Ummmmm. . .how about megacorporations?"
"The state of Great Britain, sir, owns more of this country than anyone else."
Really now?
"In second place is, uhhh, oh, I can't remember, another European country. A lowland country."
"No, sir, the next one, you'll get it."
Lowlands, huh? What was it called in Clash of Steel... Benelux. Belguim, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Luxembourg! This was too good to be true.
"How about Luxembourg?"
"No, sir, it's Denmark. And Japan is in third."
Denmark! Curse those Danes.
"Can you believe that, sir? In 1775, we kicked the English out, and now England, Denmark, and Japan own this country."
Test time, I though. "When did we kick the Danes out?" Smarmy bastard I am, but he didn't notice.
"You, sir, will live to see the day, I will not see it, I am dying of cancer, but you sir, will live to regret the day when you do this to the Queen of England."
He made a hand gesture that seemed like a miniature Nazi salute. I'm pretty sure the English don't make gestures like that to their royalty, but I decided not to make an argument of that.
"England or China, sir, will own this country."
Where did China come from? Ah, the crazy old guy, he has his reasons and he's not afraid to share.
"A few years ago, sir, the President of China called America its number one enemy. Number one, sir. In China, if you're the number one son and your father dies, you get everything, sir. Everything. Number one is important to China, and we're their number one enemy. Nobody remembers that speech but me, sir, but I remember it."
Oh dear, how do we stop the yellow invasion? Perhaps our leaders can prevent it.
"But our President, sir, he cannot stop this. He cannot even find Canada on a map, sir. I, sir, I am from the great state of New Hampshire, and I can find Canada on the map, sir. Canada, where they allow the homosexuals to marry."
Wow. This just kept getting better. I was thinking he was ultraconservative Republican, or maybe a crazy Liberatarian, but it was becoming clear that this fellow was his own brand of crazy.
At this point, he started muttering something about God willing, he wouldn't live to see homosexual marriages here, but I would, and I'd live to regret it or something. He then got up to leave, announcing that he "would not, sir, sit and wait like a sheep waiting for the slaughter." He then went to the doorman and said the same thing, then went to search for the stairwell. When last I saw him, he was asking the doorman if the great state of Pennsylvania allowed fire escapes to be locked. Then he said "Good day, sir." and left.

Old man, the world needs more of you. More people willing to engage total strangers in crazy conspiracy theories, more people who are willing to announce themselves as adventurers from New Hampshires, and more people who end conversations in a huff by saying "Good day, sir." You made my day.
- Rowan Kaiser, 11:19 AM
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