Strange Encounters

Bellingham definitely has its own cultural aura. I moved here because I love its funky, hippie-grunge feel, even though (a) sign-carrying protests on street corners make me laugh a lot more often than they make me think, and (b) there are some things no woman should do with her hair. I love it that they show movies in parks in summer, rain or shine. I love it that a pirate band can march through WalMart with an accordion.

Occasionally, though, the live-in-the-raw mentality makes for some very... well... unique experiences.

Tonight my sisters and brother-in-law and I went out to a little restaurant downtown. Bellinghamites know the downtown cafes for the personality as much as the food, and it seems expected for the staff to joke back and forth with each other, have lively, lighthearted conversations with the customers, and otherwise make the dining experience fun.

The cook at this particular cafe, a guy probably in his twenties, busied himself making burritos and in the process found out that his four customers were related. "Ah," he said, "I had a weird feeling about you when you came in." This made us all laugh.

Having ordered last, I waited behind for my plate as my family went outside and chose a table. As I strolled back toward the counter, the cook spoke again.

"Yeah, I got a really weird vibe from you all. Are you witches?"

I smiled and said no. "Well, is one of you a baker?" he asked.

My youngest sister, I told him. "Well, that's one. Is one of you a seamstress?"

None of us really like to sew. No, I told him, still smiling.

"Well, usually I find that when I meet three witch sisters, one of them's a baker, one's a seamstress, and one is all about the dudes."

At this point I didn't know whether to laugh or try to take him seriously. How does one respond to that? Excuse me while I go untangle my eyebrows from my hairline? Or maybe "Yeah, you can usually find me sewing and cursing." Instead, I smiled, took my food and thanked him, and went outside, where of course I told my family. By the time I got to the end of the story, Beth and I were laughing so hard we could barely speak.

What a funny world...

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