Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Puddle Monsters

Early this morning I went for a walk to buy the Wall Street Journal.

In an alley I passed on the way to the convenience store I saw an old man using a hose to wash off the asphalt parking lot behind an apartment complex. There was a sewer at the edge of the parking lot and most of the water drained away. But at a few spots the water formed large puddles on the black asphalt.

A woman was standing in the alley. At first I thought the woman, like me, was just glancing at the old man washing the parking lot. But the woman seemed to be staring at the puddles of water.

I walked over to the woman. “The puddles make interesting patterns against the asphalt, don’t they?” I said. “The asphalt is black and the puddles reflect the sky so bright.”

The woman looked at me silently for a moment. Then she shrugged and looked back at the puddles. “I suppose that’s true,” she said. “But I wasn’t thinking about patterns. I was wondering if the monsters that live in puddles of rain water also live in puddles of water like this, water from a hose.”

“Monsters in puddles of rain water,” I said. “Puddle monsters. You know, I’ve never heard of puddle monsters but people who study lake monsters often hear of what sound like credible reports of monster sightings in lakes much too small to support a breeding colony of any kind of real animal. If people see monsters in very small lakes then, since those lake monsters can’t be real animals as we know animals, monsters in puddles of water would be sort of the ultimate extreme spot to see something like lake monsters. Whatever lake monsters really are.”

The woman looked at me silently for a much longer moment. Then she said, “Yes. That’s exactly right.”

I nodded. I pointed at the next block. “Would you like to go for breakfast?” I asked. “I can talk about lake monsters all day. Even lake monsters in puddles of water.”

The woman smiled then. She nodded. We went to breakfast and talked about lake monsters in puddles of water.

That’s my excuse for why my post was so late today.

Field research.

Puddle monsters.

Stay tuned. Much more to come.

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