Here are some things you almost never see:
- Teenagers skipping. I saw this after school the other day and was amazed by such blatant high spirits, blatantly displayed.
- Guys getting pedicures. You see guy getting manicures sometimes but only confident and cool guys. Guys getting the soles of their feet sanded and buffed? Not so much.
- Squirrels lying down. You see squirrels cavorting, leaping from branch to branch, bunching in furry balls and just generally vibrating with excitement over whatever it is they have clutched in those little paws but you never see them lying down.
- You rarely see swans one by one. Swans come in pairs. They’re twin ships, sometimes facing in the same direction like the Niňa and the Pinta making for Cathay, and sometimes facing prettily away from each other, like bookends. I saw a lone swan only once, standing incongruously at the bottom of the Post Office steps. So charmed was I by a moment seemingly straight out of Disney I extended my hand – and got a good hard bite for my trouble.
- You rarely see cats in those satellite-dish collars designed to prevent an animal from getting at some below-the neck wound or affliction. You see dogs in these collars all the time and your heart just goes out to them, the way dog so stoically accept their fate. It is another way with cats: I had never seen a cat in such a collar until our fifth kitty Abraham had to be buckled into one after some surgery. With his grave expression and that stiff white cone encircling his face he looked like some stern nun or else like a mightily annoyed husband whose wife made him dress like a nun for Halloween.
And speaking of Halloween and rare sights, here is another thing you rarely see:
- Snow on trees that are still in full leaf, and yet that’s what we got around here a year ago: a true Nor’easter that howled around the corners of my ghostly galleon of a house like the banshees described by my Irish great-aunties. A record 32 inches of snow fell in one New England town. They even postponed Halloween in some communities, the least moveable of all feasts in the eyes of the nation’s children.More examples?
- You don’t see many tutus worn over snowsuit bottoms – unless it’s Halloween night and freezing out, and the wearer is under six years old.
- You don’t see bras worn on the outside rather than the inside, though you couldn’t prove this by Madonna or Lady Gaga.
- You don’t see many people using a blender to mix fabric dye and now I personally know why. (You have to hold that top down HARD.)
- You don’t see duct tape used much for the patching of window screens, but I know for a fact that it is used that way, and who can blame the user when you consider the versatility of this wondrous substance?
- You don’t see many women affixing clip earrings to the collars of their blouses just because they look so sweet there, but of all the memories I have of my Aunt Grace from the last year of her life, the memory of her delight in this new accessorizing style remains among the most endearing I have of her.
I could go on. Anyone could. The rare thing crossing our path unsettles us all at first – until we learn to relax and appreciate the unusual just as much as we appreciate the sameness of the comforting day-to-day.