I Didn’t Expect To See THAT!

One of the things I like about writing stories for this here website is that the process sometimes leads me to examine the way I live my life, to notice my tendencies and to become more aware of my likes and dislikes. In other words, I’ve come to get a better, more organized sense of who I am since I began pecking away at my computer’s keyboard two and a half years ago, launching this blog into heavenly cyberspace.

And who am I, you ask? Holy crap, you think I’m nuts enough to lay myself bare in this article? Well, maybe I am that nuts, but I’m going to restrain myself. Instead, I plan to leave all of the juicy details for the blockbuster memoir that I’ve just now decided to begin work on soon. Do, Re, Mi Mi Mi Mi Mi will be its title. In it you will learn all there is to know about mi . . . I mean, me.

Gentle readers, I apologize for the detour. Where was I heading? Ah yes . . .

Surprises. Pulling my thoughts together while writing stories has made me fully realize that I like surprises. The good ones, that is. Not the bad, an example of which would be having Donnie Trump knock on my door on Halloween night and yell BOO! at me at the top of his lungs. That miserable motherf**ker wouldn’t even need to wear a devilish costume. In civilian garb he’s more than frightening enough.

Good surprises came my way quite a few times during the Cape Cod vacation that my wife Sandy and I indulged in last month. They weren’t of the knock-your-socks-off variety, but I found them hip in a modest sort of way. And here’s the thing: Sandy and I have explored Cape Cod’s territory so relentlessly over the 20 years that we’ve been vacationing there, I no longer expect to come upon something that I deem to be cool and that I also haven’t seen or experienced in ages, if ever. But as they say, you never know. Let’s take a look at the two incidents that startled my eyes the most.

Sandy and I were in Provincetown in mid-afternoon on the twelfth day of October, ambling along Commercial Street, one of the town’s two main drags. The air was warm and the Sun, though fairly low in the sky, was ridiculously bright. I must have been lost in a daydream, for it was only at the last minute that I became aware of a very large orange and black object, a school bus, taking up all kinds of space in fairly narrow Commercial Street and also in Law Street, the really narrow side street from which the vehicle’s driver was attempting to make a right turn.

The driver was in a tough situation. If he had continued to bear right he’d have delivered a mighty blow to the building occupied by kmoe, a high-class wares establishment. How would the driver, who had only inches of wriggle room, get out of his predicament? Would he get out of it? I was fascinated by the spectacle. It struck me as not only comical but bordering on the surreal, giddily out of place in quaint, artsy, cute-as-a-button Provincetown.

Well, if it had been me behind the wheel, I shudder to think what might have ensued. No doubt Provincetown soon would have been saying a eulogy for the picket fence across Commercial Street from kmoe and/or for the shrubbery a breath away from the bus’s rear. And kmoe itself would have had to close for extensive renovations.

In the end, thankfully, all was happily resolved. With assistance from a good Samaritan who took up position in the middle of Commercial Street and provided verbal and hand-gesture guidance, the bus eventually was freed. Hallelujah!

Why in the world, though, had the bus been on Law Street? Provincetown has more skinny streets than Imelda Marcos has pairs of shoes, and they ain’t welcoming to anything bigger than a pickup truck. The bus driver must have been zoning out or simply in the mood to add some dollops of excitement to an otherwise placid day. I’ll never know.

Sixteen days later I decided to go for a fairly long hike along some Atlantic Ocean sands. The rented house that Sandy and I called home, in the town of Orleans, is oh so close to the ocean, so I stuck my feet into a pair of sneakers and headed out the door.

By way of an ocean inlet I reached Nauset Beach in a handful of minutes. It was a lovely day, on the warm side, and the ocean waters, in the midst of low tide, were pretty calm. I strode southward with little in mind except to enjoy the views and to nod and smile like a good neighbor at whomever I crossed paths with. And I had my eyes open for seals, as they commonly cruise in the ocean on their way to the sand islets, just offshore Cape Cod’s southeastern coast, that serve as safe havens for them. I didn’t notice any of those creatures though. I did, however, dig the sight of a small group of seagulls that were in shallow water, a pebble’s throw beyond the mud flats left behind by the low tide. They seemed very cool, calm and collected.

After 30 or 40 minutes of all of this I made the command decision to reverse direction and find my way home.

It was during this return journey that I noticed a couple of folks sloshing around in the mud flats. Throwing aside all concerns about dirtying my bright white sneakers — hey, I’m nothing if not a manly man! — I began to slosh around too, enjoying the heck out of the day. I moseyed northward in the flats, and with each step my admiration for their soppy, primitive beauty grew. They needed to be documented, so I pulled out my iPhone and got its camera ready. I positioned myself just so, the Sun to my back, and was about to press the button. But what was that dark image that had entered the scene? I blinked twice before realizing that it was my shadow, a shadow of someone readying to snap a photograph.

Was it possible that I’d never noticed my own shadow on a beach before? If I had, I didn’t recall the prior occasion(s), which isn’t too unbelievable considering the sieve-like consistency of my cranium’s contents. In any case, I recognized the fact that the design, a most unexpected addition, enhanced the loveliness of the mud flats. I pressed the iPhone camera’s button. And it is with the resultant photograph that I now take my leave of you.

Till next time, amigos.

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story. Thanks,)

(If you click on the photos, larger images will open in separate windows)

46 thoughts on “I Didn’t Expect To See THAT!

  1. Audrey Driscoll November 11, 2017 / 12:15 am

    That shadow! I know it well; it’s turned up as an unwelcome ghost in some of my photos. But yours looks downright artistic, there on the mud flats.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Artist's Child November 11, 2017 / 1:24 am

    Wonderful post! Big blundering buses and dark shadows sneaking into your shot. It’s the quirky little things that make life interesting and you’ve given some lovely examples. What a great walk on a sunny day.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. artdoesmatter November 11, 2017 / 6:51 am

    Living in the ultimate land of suburbia here in South Jersey, I see similar yellow school bus antics like you saw, but thankfully, most residential streets are wider than a historic place like Provincetown! If I was an employee standing inside of that little shop – I would’ve had a heart attack. Ha! Thanks for sharing yet another great read and look forward to following more of your adventures!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2017 / 10:37 am

      Morning, Patricia.
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Maybe school buses get stuck in PTown fairly often. I don’t know. But I’ve spent tons of hours on that village’s streets, and I’d never seen a stuck vehicle of any kind before.


  4. joyce hamilton November 11, 2017 / 7:30 am

    Cool picture of the shadow in the flats.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2017 / 10:40 am

      Good morning,
      Joyce. Thanks for dropping by.
      Next time you’re on the Cape, you might want to visit Nauset Beach. That’s where I took the photo. It’s a real nice stretch of sands.


  5. Alyson November 11, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Funny how if we just have a bit of a wander, things of interest arise that make for an entertaining blog post. I know I’ve said it before but your time on Cape Cod reminds me a lot of the time we spend on our North of Scotland beaches. And yes, we have a similar family shot of our shadows in the rippled sand!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2017 / 10:42 am

      Hi Alyson.
      Shadows make for interesting pix.
      Enjoy the weekend. But watch out for those shadows!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson November 11, 2017 / 10:49 am

        Sadly no shadows this weekend, just lots of rain!

        Liked by 2 people

  6. andrewcferguson November 11, 2017 / 10:08 am

    Cracking piece, Neil – you should get some sort of cut from the Cape Cod tourist Board!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rob November 11, 2017 / 11:44 am

    “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The shadow knows!”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      Hello there, Rob.

      I was thinking the same thing a little while ago!

      Take care —

      Neil S.


  8. cincinnatibabyhead November 11, 2017 / 12:25 pm

    Do you have any ear shots of yourself? I was kind of hoping for part 2 of the bus doing the same thing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2017 / 3:28 pm

      Afternoon, CB.
      Sometimes I’m dense —– I’m not sure what you mean. Please let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cincinnatibabyhead November 11, 2017 / 4:23 pm

        I had an uncle who went on vacation. He came home with every pic he took with his ear in the photo and he couldn’t recall what he was shooting. He had the camera backwards. “I thought things were awfully far away when I was looking through the camera”. His focus was very good though.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. vprofy November 11, 2017 / 2:41 pm

    Started writing journal in h.s. Over 50 years ago. Not sure I know myself yet.

    Reading “Philadelphia: finding the hidden city.” You would enjoy it. They have a website also.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2017 / 3:21 pm

      Good afternoon.

      You know, I’ve seen that website, but not in a long while. I’ll take a look again soon.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Neil S.


  10. Ann Coleman November 11, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    I’ve also found that blogging helps the process of self-discovery, because we do have to recognize what we think about things before we can write about them. As for the shadow, I can relate to that as well. I was once strolling along my favorite beach when I noticed a shadow of a rather chubby person, just in front of me and a bit to the right. I walked more slowly, giving her space to pass. She didn’t, and just kept pace. Eventually I got annoyed and turned around to see who was following me so persistently. And, of course, there was no one there….

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Still the Lucky Few November 12, 2017 / 11:15 am

    I’m always happy to read your thoughts on Cape Cod, which I will visit someday, I swear. Speaking of swearing, the bus driver may have just dropped off a load of screaming, squirming school kids, and was still understandably half-crazed. Just a thought, from a happily retired teacher!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 12, 2017 / 1:43 pm

      Hello there, Diane.
      I’ll never know if he was supposed to be on narrow Law Street or not, but watching the situation was fascinating.

      See you —


  12. Aunt Beulah November 12, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    If joy is to be found in noticing the beauty and fun in small things, then you are an extremely happy man. And not only do you get a kick out of a lost school bus trying to navigate a narrow turn and your shadow on a water-carved mud flat, you allow us to share your pleasure through your words and photographs. Very nice.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Christy B November 13, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    I am thinking now of my mom reciting the poem “Me and My Shadow” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Hello there, Christy.
      Maybe I’ll change my gravatar image to the shadow photo!

      See ya’ —

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Julie Yates November 14, 2017 / 8:44 pm

    Since we drive a 44 foot motor home and tow a a jeep, I can relate to being in a tight spot. We had a bit of an unfortunate incident while in California among the redwood trees. I might write about it in a post down the road, but it hurts too much right now!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Cindy November 14, 2017 / 11:53 pm

    School buses and mud flats–not the usual Cape Cod vacation topics! That’s why we love reading your blog, Neil. More Codpieces, please! 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  16. aprilswopegreene November 20, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    You said it, Neil. Blogging is often surprising (usually in a good way!) for me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 20, 2017 / 10:59 pm

      Hopefully those good surprises will keep on coming.

      Thanks for stopping by, April. It’s always good to hear from you.
      See ya’ —


  17. Ellen Hawley November 25, 2017 / 11:37 am

    I’ve moved to the land of narrow roads, aka Britain, and every so often some poor trucker’s sat nav (GPS, whatever you want to call the beast) will recommend a route that works well for a VW bug but not so well for the truck in question. Then, next thing you know, the poor soul’s in the paper, truck trapped behind two quaint houses until someone has time to grease the truck, the houses, and what little air’s left between them so a tow truck can extract whatever’s easier to move–usually the truck.

    A truck driver friend recently told me a tale of a driver who was trapped so thoroughly that local samaritans were passing sandwiches through the windows so he wouldn’t starve in there.

    Glad the school bus in Provincetown got out.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. cath November 16, 2020 / 2:37 pm

    Ah, just what I need on a dark, windy November night, sunshine and sand. Even the bus looks like fun, though I did feel some empathy for the poor driver. I’ve had nightmares about situations like this!


    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 16, 2020 / 4:30 pm

      That bus driver was in a pickle. I should have stayed there to see how the situation got resolved.


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