The other morning a family came off the trail. I believe they were a father, a mother, and a young adult daughter. I have no recollection of what the man looked like. Both women were average size; both were pale and freckled; and both had bangs and long, straight hair down nearly to their waists. On second thought, they could have been sisters, but I feel confident they were related.
They approached me and had some questions I couldn’t answer, things like which tree on the trail was the tallest and which one was the biggest around. That information is not included in the brochure we give visitors, so I sure as hell don’t know.
As their questioning ended, my co-worker returned from whatever he’d been doing, and the older woman said, I just wanted to let you know…We saw a man on the trail, and he was just…odd.
My co-worker and I looked at her with great interest. An odd man on the trail? Such a situation could add some excitement to our day.
I told him good morning…,she trailed off, not telling us if he had responded by ignoring her or telling her to go fuck her mother or in some way between the two extremes.
My co-worker and I waited for her to describe some odd behavior.
He had grey hair in a ponytail and a beard, and he was wearing a white shirt, she went on (un)helpfully.
Maybe he had come from the campground and was just out for a morning walk, she speculated, still not explaining what she found so odd about the guy.
Then the man (husband? father? brother-in-law?) with the women said that as the guy walked over the bridge, he had hit on the railings.
This behavior did not strike me as odd. Unusual perhaps, but not really odd. There was no report that the man was talking to himself or invisible others. They didn’t say he was fighting invisible monsters/mobsters/dragons/aliens. They didn’t complain that the man was exposing his genitals. What was so odd about him?
We just wanted to let you know…He was just…odd.
Had these people never been to a city, never seen any real oddness?
They certainly didn’t realize that my co-worker and I are probably two of the oddest characters they’ve ever met. We’ve just learned to hide it pretty well during short, public encounters.
I spent the rest of the day hoping the odd man would emerge from the trees so I could meet him, but I never noticed anyone fitting his description.