Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Shinning 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOne of the regular patrons here has a fixation on military history. He also has some sort of mental condition which I have diagnosed as “barking mad.” An older gentleman with duct taped coke bottle glasses and greasy gray hair, he’ll materialize at the desk and hold forth, orating at a volume level like he is addressing the crowds at one of the imperial forums. His favorite topic is the military exploits of Admiral William Halsey and other famous military figures.

(Fun quote from Halsey, spoken to reassure the American people as he surveyed the ruins of Pearl Harbor: “Before we are through with 'em, the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell!”)

Except for startling the Bejesus out of everyone this patron is relatively harmless, and all it takes is one glare from one of the security guards for him to quiet down and slink off. One time I was at the desk musing about one of the many, many funerals I have been to this past death ridden year. This particular funeral was at a beautiful historic cemetery reserved for the descendents of one of the founding families of a small town in East Texas. After the service I explored the headstones with some cousins. One of my cousins, who grew up in the town, commented, “We used to party in here when I was in high school.”

Right after the memory passed through my head, the patron, who was standing about twenty feet away from in the atrium trying to engage some member of the public in a story about Halsey, turned to me and shouted, "I want to party. Party in a graveyard!" He then came up to the desk and asked me for a Yiddish dictionary.

I wonder if that was some sort of coincidence or if I had shared some eerie psychic connection with the patron. Perhaps the insane can pick up on the mental static of those around him. In any case, psychi ability does run in my family. Family lore has it that my great-great Aunt Elizabeth had the gift. She told my grandmother that when she was a little girl she thought everyone had it, but when people reacted strangely to her she actively ignored it until it almost went away. She would still get occasional flashes, but I guess it’s one of those things that if you don’t use it, you lose it. She must have retained some sort of numinous presence because my grandmother remembered people stopping her on the street and asking her if she had the gift. When this happened one time on a train she said to the woman, “Why do you ask?” The woman said, “I can tell from your aura.”

My grandmother said that the only time she felt a spark of precognition was when she visited a relative’s house. She saw some furniture and said to herself, “That furniture is going to be recovered in light green leather.” Sure enough, the next time she paid a call there was the furniture, exactly how she had envisioned it in her mind’s eye. My grandmother, a highly pragmatic woman, was highly disappointed that she never had a premonition of anything useful, like the direction of the market, so she never tried to develop the ability.

The Shinning.

I love the spoof trailer.
That "Party in a graveyard" line gave me chills.
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