The night I celebrated my birthday was a fun one. It was also a strange one.
It was actually my last night staying in Bishop before being moved up to the employee housing in Mammoth Lakes. Maybe that’s why the town of Bishop, California decided to pull out all the stops and make this night one of the strangest I’ve ever had.
Of course, I couldn’t NOT share what happened, so here we go! (+1000 grammar points)
One of my roommates, and I decided to grab some frozen yogurt before setting up the party, and walking back with our yogurt is what set the stage for this:
We were walking down the sidewalk when all of the sudden, a high school-aged boy pops out of the bushes asking “would you ladies like some flowers???”.
What would anyone do upon seeing someone pop out of the bushes besides freeze? That’s the first thing I did.
The second thing I did was analyze the situation.
I’ve spent enough time on the internet to know what the setup to a prank looks like. Plus, the “free flower” scam is common around the world, I just didn’t expect it in the tiny town of Bishop, nor from a high school-aged kid.
The third thing I did was prepare to walk away without saying anything. My roommate, however, has a more positive outlook on the world than I do, and is probably more intuitive than I am, because she said yes and the boy handed her a lovely pink carnation. I waited nervously, but nothing goofy happened, and so I hesitantly took one too. We thanked the boy for this random act of kindness and went along our merry ways.
That is, until we heard a tire screech and devastated cry of “NOOOOOO” from behind the bushes.
We ran around the corner to see what had happened, and were met with the following scene:
A different guy of the same age is driving an SUV (presumably the tire screech culprit) laughing hysterically while a bouquet of carnations lay on the ground behind it, alongside the flower-giver who is on the ground, apparently distraught.
To this day, I have no clue what we saw. Sure, we weren’t the ones getting punked, but were we unintentionally a part of the punk-ening? Was the flower-giver the intended victim? Was it all a setup for a viral youtube video? Really, I don’t think we’ll ever know.
1000 child visitors
Fast-forward to our bonfire party (VHS fast-forwarding tape noise):
There are around 10 of us just hanging out around the fire drinking and talking. We live sort of close to the downtown area, but not close enough to get a lot of traffic. However, there is a gym next door, and so sometimes we’ll see people walking to and from there at weird hours of the day and night.
That’s why, when a group of about 12-14 people walked down the dark street at like 11pm, we all just assumed they were dedicated gym rats and waved at them.
Then, to our surprise, they walked right up to the front gate.
In the light of the fire, we realized that they were kids.
A lot of kids, actually. From the ages of 6 to 16, they seemed to be just wandering around at night. I guess they don’t have to follow the street light rule like I did when I was their age, more power to them I suppose.
They asked us if we had any s’mores. I actually did have s’mores ingredients, and who would say no to kids asking for food? So we showed them how to toast marshmallows without them falling into the fire. In a matter of minutes, all of our s’mores, snacks, sodas, etc. were gone. And just as quickly as they had appeared, the kids were gone too. Back into the night.
To be clear, I don’t care that they ate all our food in the slightest. If kids are hungry, I’m totally okay to share our food, even though candy and chips aren’t the healthiest meal. It was just so odd that it happened.
Thankfully, we’d kept our alcohol under careful eye, so we continued drinking after the kids left.
I’m choosing to believe that this is why, out of 4 roommates, none of us remembered to bring our apartment key outside with us.
So our only option was to call our RA. Thankfully, she works the night shift. We got to work making our little shindig look less like a shindig and more like a casual nighttime hangout. As you may have read before, I don’t hide my drunkeness well at all, and so attempted to put on my best apologetic-yet-put-together performance yet when she arrived. In the end, I don’t think she cared whether or not we were drinking, because she unlocked the door and left right after.
At the very least, I didn’t feel like a total idiot.
As we were talking, we got to talking about chemistry. How did that come up? Beats me. But next thing I know, one of our neighbors runs down to the convenience store and just buys a box of magnesium.
I didn’t know corner stores just sold random stashes of minerals, did you???
Well, all I do know is that he douses our bonfire with magnesium and without hesitation- and the flames turned a surprising blue-green. I, for one, was mesmerized by his resourcefulness and the absolute wizardry present at our party that night.
Really, that’s all.
The second two occurrences were noticeably less interesting than the first two, but just imagine: you’re slowly getting drunker as the night goes on, and each vaguely unusual occurrence amplifies the nonsensical nature of the previous events.
It was enough to convince me that Bishop, California was indeed sending me off with a flower, a candy wrapper, a lack of keys, and a flame to remember it by.
Bon voyage, Bishop. You will be kinda missed, and you will certainly not be forgotten.