Ascending Absurdity Mountain

Conjure up a story.

Then don’t go tell it to the mountain. Go tell Maria.

Seems she’ll believe … well, read on.

Maria works at a store I frequent. Many are our friendly and engaging conversations. Yesterday’s was weird.  Casts Maria in a new light. Went something like this.

Maria: “I heard there was a huge accident on the highway outside of Sprouts.”

Sprouts is a market, the road a fast 4-laner thoroughfare. Accidents due to distracted driving and speeding aren’t unusual. Since it’s the only passage in the area, accidents create nightmarish slowdowns and shutdowns.

Me: “Ohmygod! When was this?! What happened?!”

Maria: “This morning around 10, 11. Joe (too a regular patron) told me. He saw a woman driving really crazy. She hit like 10 cars. I’ll bet it was drugs. Or medical. They didn’t catch her.”

Me: “My God! Was anyone hurt? Killed?

Maria: “I don’t know.”

Me: “I gotta look this up! And this was on the highway? Not in the parking lot?”

Maria: “Yes, the highway, by Sprouts.”

I google it, inputting various key words and combinations. Patiently wait each time through the draggy Verizon network. Because inquiring minds need to know! Because natural but unemployed reporters need to know. Because this is big news in a small-to-midsize town.

Me: “Weird. Nothing. I’ll keep looking.”

Me: {minutes later} “Nothing on the newspaper’s web site either.”

Maria: “It wouldn’t be in the paper yet. It’s too soon.”

Me: “It wouldn’t be published but it’d definitely be on their web site. Breaking news. Everyone goes online. Social media. Not many even read newspapers anymore. They pretty much all have web sites now, including our local paper.”

Maria: {growing disinterested, busy with task} “Yeah? Oh.”

Me: “Nothing on Google. Nothing in the paper. You’re sure Joe said it was 10 cars? In front of Sprouts? This morning? Because that’s huge.”

Maria: “Yes. He said she was blonde. They’re still looking for her.”

Me: noting “that’s specific” and “interesting he could ID her yet escape any involvement.”

Things are not looking good for Joe. Dubious.

They are not looking good for Maria. Refusal to face fact. Or think it through.

While I do not know Joe well, I know him in our encounters to be an honest, sincere, reasonably intelligent and caring. Neither a liar nor a thief. Not a rabble-rouser for the sake of rousing rabble or a gamer, player or roper.

Sidenote: Maria, Joe and I seasoned folk in our 50s, 60s.

Me: {with a nose for news and driving — no pun intended — need for truth and accuracy, I press on undeterred.}

Go online to the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT). Major accidents, road closures, backups, etc. are posted.

Me: “Nothing on the state’s DOT site.”

Maria: “Yeah? Wonder why.” {same as she wondered why it wasn’t anywhere else either.}

“Maria: {staunchly} “Well, I still believe him.”

Me: “Nothing online. Nothing on the newspaper’s site. And a 10-car accident definitely woulda made the news. Nothing on the state’s transportation site. And you still believe him?”

Maria: “Yes, I believe him.”

Me: {pressing on through rugged rocky terrain.} I make two phone calls. Return to Maria.

Me: “I talked to police dispatch. They have nothing. No calls, no reports.”

Maria: “Really?” {shrugs} I still believe him.”

Me: “A huge accident. Nothing on Google. On the newspaper online. On the state’s Department of Transportation. And police dispatch says no. And you still believe him?”

Maria: “I do.”

I barely tamp my incredulity.

I soldier on. I like challenges, true. I aspire toward truth more.

Me: “Are you serious?! You believe Joe over police dispatch?”

Maria: {irked} “I do.”

Me: “You don’t think there’s anything odd in no news of this anywhere? Most notably from the police who would know?”

Maria: “I don’t know why there’s not. But I believe him.”

Me: “If I bring in tomorrow’s paper and there’s no story or picture of this big accident, will you believe it then?!”

Maria: “Yes.”

Me: {knowing otherwise}

Me: {introducing levity in a rather tense conversation and inspired by the inanity} “I’m gonna conjure up a wild tale. No injuries or harm included. You can tell everyone. This is how rumors get started. This could be really fun!”

My mind starts spinning for a yarn.

Maria: {failing to see the humor or message; she’s bitchy and firmly with Joe’s account; I’m frustrated, somewhat amused and wholly incredulous, more tennis-match discussion that leads only to more ridiculousness and dead ends} “I don’t know why you even care.”

Me: {playing dumb} “Because it’s a 10-car accident. There are people injured, maybe dead.  You don’t care there’s an accident?”

Maria: “No.” {now she’s really not thinking. or listening}


Game over. Conversation done. I move along. With no purchases but a priceless insight into Maria.

It’s one thing to stand firmly with a buddy’s account.

It’s another to do so despite abundant credible evidence to the contrary.

Someone very very wise and insightful once said something many years ago that I vividly remember: “You hate Stupid.”

Bingo. Absolutely correct.

Thusly for me our store friendship and conversations are over. They must be. Relegated to a civil cheery wave as I pass. No reason to foster ill will with Maria after all, especially since I’m on good friendly terms with her coworkers.

Though my mischievous self who does loooove a good story is sorry to pass up opportunities to invent and tell it — not to the mountain but to Maria.

Oh well, not a mountain girl, a water baby anyhow. Though talking to her was an arduous climb up an mountain. A Mountain of Absurdity. Hers.

Oh yeah, and not a word or photo on an accident in today’s paper.

I’d tell that to Maria but she’ll refuse to believe.

May need to go to the mountain after all. Better chance of being heard!