Bizarro World, a fictional place in the DC comics universe, is a cube-shaped planet, also called "Htrae" ("Earth" spelled backwards), where society is ruled by all that is illogical and abnormal.
Recently, I went there twice, and my daughter-in-law visited once.
Elise agreed to take Olga, a retired 62-year-old veterinarian, to the airport at 4 a.m. Since she was homeless, we had let her stay with us while she looked for employment. Speaking hardly any English, her green card did her no good, and she remained jobless until announcing “I go back Russia tomorrow.” Nothing like short notice.
At the airport, Elise tried valiantly to explain how to check in on the kiosk. Then the luggage. Since it was overweight, the agent said she could remove items to avoid an overage charge.
Well, the bag was duct taped several times around. Not to worry, Olga whips out long- bladed, deadly looking scissors to cut the tape. The horrified agent says she can’t have those in her purse. Again, not to worry says Olga; they’re for manicures and to get back into her luggage when she needs to. The tape is cut off, and she removes seven pounds of cottage cheese, packed to eat on the three-day train ride home once the plane lands in Moscow.
She re-tapes the bag and puts the scissors along with the cheese in her purse. After several frustrating minutes of Elise showing Olga a picture of the scissors on the No-No display, the scissors are surrendered. The travelers in line behind them are both entertained and annoyed. At the security checkpoint, Olga is still talking about her scissors and voicing concerns that her cottage cheese will be taken from her, and she will go hungry.
With Elise waving a relieved “goodbye,” Olga tells the TSA agent maybe she won’t return to Russsia if her friend will take her back to Destin. At that, Elise makes a hasty exit, assuring Olga it’s all for the best.
My daughter-in-law’s adventure at VPS was definitely time spent in Bizarro World.
Meanwhile back in my little sphere, I’ve discovered the Russian students I hosted for the summer have become the houseguests from Hades.
They’ve destroyed the bicycles lent them by a church member, broken my laptop, scratched the side of the car, and backed up the toilet with paper towels. Their boyfriends, who’ve run over my sprinklers, call after midnight waking up the entire household. Worse, money from my Moldovan students has gone missing from their rooms.
So, when they bade farewell, I was thrilled. As I slept peacefully the first night they left, a voice awakened me, whispering, “Your liquor, your liquor, it’s gone, gone, gone …” Getting out of bed, I went to the cabinet where I kept the bottles (newly purchased after I converted from Baptist to Presbyterian).
I had been looking forward to occasional libations at the end of stressful days, but NO, the girls had consumed every drop! In what strange world was I dwelling when I expected my good deeds would yield good results?
My most recent visit to Bizarro World involved a shoe repair shop. Having located one in Fort Walton Beach, I followed their sign and arrows into the parking area. I get out of the car and approach a young man outside the shop. Since he’s seated at a workbench repairing a handbag, my question is answered immediately about whether or not they repair purses.
Just as I’m telling him what I need, another fellow, older and larger, approaches me demanding “Where did you come from?” I’m a little taken aback so I say “Well, I didn’t come from outer space.”
That answer ticked him off, and he said “You can’t be talking to my employee; he doesn’t know anything.” When he said, “I have to look out for my employees,” I asked, “What did you think I was going to do to him?” He answered, “You never know. I don’t know who you are.”
He ushered me toward another entrance, still going on about how he had to protect his worker and how did he know if I had “just moved in.” HUH? Once inside, a normal lady tried to help me, but she kept repeating they couldn’t sew across leather straps. When she stepped back into a supply room to speak to the strange man, I fled.
It was all too eerie for me. At least a 9.5 on the weirdometer. Funny, they probably think I was the odd duck and are telling their version of the tale just as I am.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident. Her columns are published on Saturdays.