The February malaise extends to blogging, I’m finding.

But I did the Year of the Rat Treasure Hunt* and our team (“Plague It Again, Sam”) placed fifth in the Regular division (up from about 33rd last year, and out of hundreds of teams!) We should also have won best Film-Noir Themed Team Name but apparently there was another team with the same name and they got to the podium first**. Whatever, at least we got to feel clever! The weather was pretty lousy, windy and rainy, but not as bad as the predictions said it would be.

Also, this year we were much, much cleverer in planning our route, and we hardly saw the big parade at all. This meant that we finished much sooner, but also meant, obviously, that we didn’t see the parade which was too bad even if most of the paraders were swathed in protective plastic like ambulatory parlor furniture.

Odd treasure hunt story; so I’m standing with a crowd of about 15 other people, and we’re all looking for a number that we know is somewhere on a building. A little old man*** comes up to me and says in a thick accent “I have live here forty year. I never see this people before. What is happening?” I tell him it’s a game, a treasure hunt. “Treasure?” he says, confused. “Not real treasure,” I say, “Just a game. We get clues and have to go to places and find stuff and write it down.” “I have live here forty year!” he says, louder. “That’s nice,” I say. “Here!” he says and lunges towards me. I step back, and so the thing that he was trying to put on my shoulder instead falls to the ground. At first I think it’s a flapping wind-up toy, but then I see that it’s a small white live bird, like a small dove. I barely have enough time to register this when the little old man dives for the bird, scoops it up and makes it disappear somehow into his coat.

My teammates, having found the elusive number, attract my attention and I go to leave, when the little man is in front of me again. “Here!” he says, “This treasure! You want treasure!” He’s holding out a book; I can’t quite see what it is but it looks like an elementary school atlas or something with a purple ‘70’s looking cover. It has loose pages stuffed inside. “Here!” he says insistently. I say “No thanks! Take care!” and leave with my friends.

I’ll never get to Narnia at this rate.

* R:tAG bowed out; it was lousy weather plus he wasn’t sure if his lower back could handle the strain.

** We were also all wearing trenchcoats, fedoras and mouse noses, though the noses didn't last long. They're hard to breathe through.

*** Apparently I am a veritable magnet for strange little old men. I cannot think of a way to parlay this into anything useful, but it does appear to be my superpower.



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