The weirdest thing happened at dinner last night.
John and I'd taken his mom out for her birthday, and we were at a little Polish restaurant across town. Everything was going fine, all potato pancakes and beety borscht, when I looked up and noticed something... off... about one of the other diners across the room. His group must have arrived after us, but I'd been too busy talking to notice.
I was seated directly facing him, and since all of the tables between ours were empty, it was hard NOT to notice this old guy in a hunting cap. He sat ramrod straight, his face in profile to me, glaring down the length of his table.
The rest of his party (there were 6 of them) were clustered at the other end, leaving at least one or two empty chairs between themselves and Hunting Cap. They were in high spirits, and judging by the birthday balloons, I figured this was just a family celebration with the obligatory cranky uncle no one wanted to be around.
But he was so STILL.
Another 3 seconds of peripheral squinting, and I realized with a start that Hunting Cap was, in fact, a stiff. Or more accurately, a life-sized mannequin.
Sitting at a table.
In a Polish restaurant.
Right. Now here's where it gets weird:
Five minutes later, I darted another look over at Weekend At Bernie's, and you guys, I am not making this up: he was staring right at me.
What's that? You want a visual to go with this nightmare fuel?
Then by all means, come share in my horror:
(It looks like I pixelated Bernie's face, but I didn't. That's just how he looked.)
Can you see the eyes? CAN YOU?? Because I could, and it freaked me RIGHT THE HECK OUT.
Unfortunately I couldn't run shrieking from the room, because A) he was right next to the exit, and B) this was my mother-in-law's birthday dinner, and how do you ever live that kind of thing down? (I took these pics when she went to the restroom.)
So instead I laughed maniacally - just to show everything was A-OK, no problem here! - and proceeded to carry on a wide-eyed, overly attentive conversation with my table mates regarding the proper use of dill in pierogies, all while frantically darting looks at the Thing staring at me from across the room.
This went on for several sphincter-clenching moments, until a few more members of Crash Test's party arrived.... and started talking to him.
They greeted Don't-Blink-McMurder-Face and laughed and tweaked his hat, and by the time they sat down, he was staring down the table length again:
Did I mention he had a corncob pipe in his mouth? Is any of this surprising you any more?
I'd like to point out I was being very discreet taking these photos, but at this point John leaned over and hissed, "You've got to stop taking pictures! They might notice!"
At which I turned to John, incredulous.
"They brought Chuckie's grandpa in for dinner, and I'M the weird one here??"
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Seriously, Jen? You like borscht??" Yes I do. Beets are delightful. But if you're also thinking that maybe - juuuuust maybe - that was NOT a mannequin staring at me in the Polish restaurant on Monday night, but in fact a real live person, well first, why? WHY WOULD YOU EVEN SUGGEST THAT?? ...and second, allow me to dissuade you of such a hypothesis:
NOPE NOPE NOPE HAIL NOPE
That's right: the thing had its head cranked all the way around to watch us leave. And we had to walk within 5 feet of him to get out. And the soup of the day was pea soup. (Again, NOT MAKING THIS UP.) And holy wow was he even creepier up close.
When I described all this to my friend Sharyn, she made me promise I'd include this:
See, puns DO make everything better!
Bahahahahahaaa!! Aha! Ha. Heh.
Bahahahahahaaa!! Aha! Ha. Heh.