People sure do some strange things. As a writer, I love this as it makes my job so easy. I simply have to sit around and watch people and am often given a gift such as Dee and Dum in the waiting room, or the lady with the bible and the dog and the hat in my Starbucks. A friend recently remarked that I seem to have weird people enter my life to an unusual degree. I don’t think so, I just happen to notice the weirdness, and then stare and fixate on what would make someone do such a thing, and then go home and write about them.
A few weekends ago, I took O and met my parents and other family at their little place by the river. O had the best time- he clomped along the shore, throwing rocks, digging, and running around. He fed a duck and saw mountain goats and just had the kind of giggling time that only a 2o month old can have. Saturday night we got a sitter and the adults went and saw Willie Nelson.
Willie is a hero of mine, and of pretty much anyone that has ever lived in Texas or has ever had the chance to see one of his legendary shows. The man is old, and seems to have more energy than I do. His show didn’t even start till 10 pm, my normal bed-time. He doesn’t have the same vocal range as he once did, and I will admit that he speaks the lyrics more than actually sings them, but his shows are something everyone should see once in their lifetime.
So we’re hanging out, at a special VIP table that is really just a metal picnic table, but hey, it’s private, it’s roped off, and we have our own bar. People are milling about, enjoying the perfect spring night. You’ve got yuppies and hippies, old people and and young people and kids and married couples and girls looking for trouble, and boys looking for girls dressed in miniskirts and cowboy boots. And then you’ve got the Siamese twins.
We walk in and I immediately notice two women that are wearing one large Willie Nelson t-shirt. On further inspection, it was actually two Willie t-shirts sewn together to form one large shirt. They each are wearing their own long jean skirts underneath and seem to be shuffling along in great tandem. They are laughing and having a great time. My first thought is that they are in costume and trying to get noticed by Willie. I laugh in amusement and point them out to my friend. Yes, I actually pointed and said something like, “Look, isn’t that clever!”
And then I realize that they are actual conjoined twins and I feel sick. I don’t think they noticed me pointing at them, but really, I have better manners than that. I am embarrassed and sad, that I contributed to a world that stares and points at those that are different than us. My friend and I are appropriately chagrined and move quickly off.
The twins of course are seated at a VIP table right behind us. I sneak peeks occasionally during the show and feel little bursts of happiness at how well they seem to be managing their condition. Yes, I am aware that this is condescending, but it made me feel better. The twins are clapping! Each lady puts up her one good arm and they meet perfectly in the middle, clearly in synch with one another. They twins are socially charming! They laugh and chat and flirt with men. The twins drink from a flask! Watching them pass it back and forth, I feel a bit better, because I see that these women have got it together and regardless of how insensitive I or any others in the world might be, these two are having the time of their lives. They are just like any two other people, kicking back and enjoying the experience that is a Willie show.
And then. The show is over, we are all tired and smiling, and we begin to pack up. I turn and see them. One twin is sitting on one side of the table, while the other is sitting clear on the other other side. Unattached. Each using both of their intact arms and hands quite well. Now I notice that each one is sporting a rather unattractive mullet. Damn it. The long jean skirts and the mullets should have tipped me off, but I was distracted.
They were faking it. The entire evening. And even though I originally thought it was a joke, to realize that they were pretending was not even close to funny. It felt dirty and more than mean. Why would someone do that? A bet? A lark? To see how people reacted? A social experiment? A new reality show for CBS? What the hell, frankly?
As writers, we are trained to take weird situations such as the above, and wonder, and write, and come up with our own answers to why. I still haven’t managed to find my way into that one, though the Flannery O’ Conner story “Good Country People” keeps coming to mind for some reason. Whatever I come up, I’m pretty sure I will most likely never see fake conjoined twins at a Willie Nelson concert again. That’s just once in a lifetime weird.