Monday, May 19, 2008

Happy Annniversary, Baby, Got You On My Mind

Gloria and I had our eleventh wedding anniversary on Saturday.

We each picked out two cards to give to each other. Here was the first card Gloria gave me:

Well, that was lovely and incredibly thoughtful. Here was the second card:

Those were all little colored stones on the card, by the way.

It's at this point that I was reminded of the difference between women and men.

Gloria started to open her first card, "Oh...foxes," she said.

"Cartoon foxes," I said helpfully. "He's about to fall off a ladder."

"Um," she said.

"That was the high-brow card," I said.

"High-brow," she repeated. "Foxes are the high-brow card."

Here was the second card:

The look on her face said this (with apologies to Sir Arthur Eddington): men are not only stranger than we imagine, but they are stranger than we can imagine.

We had dinner at Shoreline Grill, which is right on Town Lake, and walked down to the path by the lake after dinner to see the bats come out. Austin has the world's largest urban bat colony from May to October, and at times there are over a million bats living under the Congress Avenue bridge.

If you've never seen a million bats , it's quite impressive. And smelly--or, at least, it's quite smelly underneath the bridge.

This is one of those things that seems to be on every tourist's list of "things I must do," so in addition to the locals, the path is usually jammed with people who are there because it was mentioned in a guidebook. Where we were standing, people were walking down from an ultra-expensive hotel with their glasses of wine held just so, and they turned what's kind of a joyous natural event into a bit of a snobfest.

My favorite lines:
--"what time do they come out?" Quite a few people expected them to keep a by-the-minute schedule, as if a bell would ring and a million bats would emerge on cue.
--"that's a lot of bats." Spoken repeatedly.
--"are they fruit bats?"

"Fruit bats?" Gloria whispered.

Hmm. Fruit bats.

They're actually Mexican free-tailed bats, and they mostly eat mosquitoes, but suddenly I didn't care.

One of the things I've always wanted to do in life is create a thriving urban legend, the kind that becomes so pervasive it eventually gets debunked on

I know. Other people want to cure cancer. Yes, I look bad in comparison, but I have to play to my strengths, and curing cancer is unfortunately not one of them.

Creating an urban legend, though--right in my wheelhouse.

Let's see. Snobby people + Lack of Knowledge About Subject= Light Bulb.

Strawberries and wine go together, I think.

Here's the prank. First, get a few friends to go down to Town Lake near dark. Have half of them hold strawberries over their heads, while the other half just hold their hands over their heads. When bats swerve near (a few always stray from the main streams), take photographs.

It's an easy Photoshop job to take the pictures and edit them so that it looks like the bats are carrying strawberries.

Oh, yes.

Upload the pictures back onto the camera.

Return to Town Lake near dark--this time, with a few friends (as plants) and a few boxes of strawberries. Start talking about how amazing it is that bats will take strawberries from your hand.

They'll laugh, of course. That's when you say "We got some pictures last time," and you hold up your camera. At that point, they'll be 100% in, because you have conclusive photographic evidence that this actually happens.

Then, just start passing out strawberries.

My dream is to have fifty or a hundred people lining the path at Town Lake, all holding strawberries over their heads.

Waiting for the bats.

When the bats come out, and a few fly near, your friends can pull down their arms suddenly, claiming that a bat took their strawberry. It's near dusk, the bats fly so erratically that they're impossible to follow, and there will be no reason to doubt them.

Then people return to their cities, and they tell their friends the miraculous story about the bats that take strawberries from your hand. Those friends tell their friends, maybe a photograph or two mysteriously winds up online, and someday, people are bringing strawberries with them when they come to see the bats.

"I"m glad you're not in politics," Gloria said.

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