Rip Van Angel


I have learned to accept that some questions in life will never be answered. For instance, how can a person consistently pull out fistfuls of hair in the shower and still have a single strand left? Or how is it that in this day of technology when computers are the size of a playing card that our top scientists still haven’t figured out that we need twice as many bathroom stalls for women as we need for men? And my personal favorite, thanks to working in a daycare for two years, how in the name of all that’s holy did the makers of Caprisun ever think that any child with developing fine motor skills could open one of their products without the aid of an adult, a deluge of unsavory language, and a Boppin’Berry stained frock? These are just a few of the enigmas that I have taken into my bosom, knowing that I will only find answers once I cross over into glory, but in June of 2011, I stumbled upon one that has tagged along behind me like an annoying younger sibling. Last summer, I met the Mysterious Motorcycle Man – aka, Rip Van Angel.

I was exiting the library. Now in our small town the library is a modest building tucked away from the main highway, and you only pull into its parking lot on purpose. This isn’t a place you stop to consult a GPS or to make a call in your effort to get someplace more important. If you’re at our library, you’ve either reached your destination, or you’re so geographically challenged that you probably shouldn’t be in charge of a vehicle. So as I crossed the short distance from the building to my car, I couldn’t help but notice the motorcycle pulling into the circular driveway.

The fellow on the Harley was the stereotypical character featured in a film entitled Don’t Take Candy From Strangers. A black bandana encircled his head and did its best to corral the grey mane stampeding in every direction, and his white whiskers were on a career path to reach his toes or die trying. His black sunglasses hid his eyes, but a couple of eyebrows bushy enough to function as stunt doubles for Bonsai shrubs were crawling over the rims. He wore blue jeans with more holes than denim and a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones etched across the front. He gave the impression that Rip Van Winkle woke up and joined Hell’s Angels.

He eased his Harley into a parking space next to my car at an angle that allowed him an unhindered view of my person. The only break in his study of my journey across the lot was to spit tobacco juice to the side. I snatched open the car door, hurled my books into the passenger’s side – a move that would have branded a frown on the librarian’s face – and hit the automatic lock button on the door panel as I landed in my seat. I slipped the key into the ignition and turned my head slightly to the left. He was still watching me, and the fact that his eyes were curtained behind his sunglasses only accelerated my heartbeat. I glanced in the rearview mirror. Was anyone in the library watching me? Would there be anyone in the nonfiction section observant enough to work with an FBI sketch artist? What were the chances I could outrun a Harley with my Corolla? And if my body disappeared for weeks, would they charge me late fees on these books?

I eased out of my space with Motorcycle Grandpa watching. I tried to think of the appropriate scripture to work into the “Please, God, don’t let the creepy motorcycle man follow me” prayer that was fervently resounding in my soul, but I couldn’t think of one. I made a note to check Leviticus when I got home. There had to be a verse for just such eeriness sandwiched in between “Don’t sleep with your father’s wife” and “Stop flirting with animals.”

As I pulled to the stop sign, the motorcycle did a 180 and exited via the entrance. He went his own way without ever going into the library. His sole purpose in visiting the library seemed to be sending a complete stranger into a panic attack. While I’d give him a thumbs up on a mission accomplished, I have filed this episode in my brain under Unsolved Mysteries That Torture Your Soul.

© 2012 – Traci Carver


6 responses »

  1. It sure would’ve been a tragedy if he had abducted you, threw you over his motorcycle, and ruined your good library book checking out name!!!!

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