It was a weekend afternoon, and my co-worker had left for the day. A car pulled into the entrance to the parking lot, and I approached. The driver, the sole occupant of the car, was a very plain looking man, probably in his early 50s. I gave him my standard little talk: This is the parking lot. The trail begins across the street. The parking fee is $5.
With extreme seriousness, the man asked me if I were going to carry him on the trail.
Sometimes people (particularly male people) ask me questions, and I have no idea if they are serious or just trying to get a reaction (shock, laughter, outrage, a slap across the face—who knows?) out of me. I try to keep my reaction to such questions what I think of as no-nonsense pleasant. I pretend they are asking a serious question (even when the question is obviously ridiculous), and I answer their question in an equally serious manner.
So I said something along the lines of Oh, no sir. I won’t be carrying you. I did not smile, smirk, or giggle. Why should I pretend a question is funny when it’s really stupid? It’s much more fun (for me, at least) to pretend the question is for real.
He pursued his line of questioning. I wasn’t going to carry him? Really? He had to pay $5 and still walk? His expression never changed. For all I know, he was serious and he really did want me to carry him. There are a lot of weirdos in the world.
But I stayed pleasant, yet no-nonsense, detached. No sir. I won’t be carrying you.
He finally coughed up the $5 and drove away to park his car. He must have gone out on the trail, but I didn’t see him, and I didn’t think about him again until he returned to the parking lot after walking the trail. He stopped to ask me some questions. (I don’t remember now what his questions were.) He was very calm and seemed entirely serious. He hung around me for quite a while, for so long that I was getting uncomfortable. At one point I even walked away from him in mid-sentence so I could collect the fee from an incoming car. I thought he’d be gone when I turned away from the car, but, alas, he was still standing next to my chair.
We talked about the trail and the trees some more and finally—finally!—I could tell he was wrapping it up and would soon leave. He said he’d enjoyed himself, but really, it would have been better if I’d carried him.
Nope. Never going to happen, I told him.
If the joke (if it were a joke) had ever been funny (which it hadn’t), it had now moved into creepy, and I was glad to see him go.
After he left, I wondered if he had some kind of R. Crumb fetish where he fantasizes about tall, big-breasted, big-thighed women giving him piggyback rides.
(According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Crumb,
R. Crumb, is an American cartoonist and musician. His work displays a nostalgia for American folk culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and satire of contemporary American culture. His work has attracted controversy, especially for his depiction of women and non-white races.
I guess my thighs might qualify me as an R. Crumb type fantasy woman, but I’m not tall, and my breasts are not nearly big enough.)
I really have no idea what that tourist guy was all about. Maybe he gets off on being carried around by women in brown polyester-blend pants. Maybe he’s a man baby and wanted to pretend I was his mommy.
I don’t know what his story was, but I was glad to see him go.