I know I should be posting my He Said / She Said about why it is better to have a summer birthday, but I had an encounter this morning that I wanted to share.

I dropped my wife off at work this morning and then headed to the neighborhood Wawa for a coffee during the busy morning rush hour.  I was about three people deep in the cashier line when a very confused-looking man walked in.  He removed his  old fashioned sunglasses from a head covered with a full-blown mullet, and revealed an expression suggesting that whatever was on his mind was the most important thing in the world.  It wasn’t so much a panicked look as it was a “caught up in his own situation” look.

The cashier was in the process of accepting payment from a customer when Very Confused Looking Man glanced at a paper in his hand, looked in her direction, and blurted out, “Can you tell me where the nearest payphone is?”  My initial reaction was, “Huh? Did he just interrupt her to ask for a payphone?” I first obtained a cell phone for work purposes in 1998 and, without finding any definitive data online, recall them exploding in popularity about 2-3 years after that.  I also recall reading and hearing news stories at that time that more and more companies were removing pay phones from public facilities since they were no longer producing enough income to justify the hassle of maintaining them.

The cashier, who appeared just old enough to legally work, had a blank look on her face as she handed change to the customer in line. Her quiet reply to Very Confused Looking Man was, “Honestly, I have no idea where that would be.” Since the cashier is young enough to have never even manually rolled up a car window, she could have just as easily said, “Honestly, I have no idea what a payphone is.”  Very Confused Looking Man looked very disappointed and resumed a hurried pace through the store.

I was not the only person in disbelief of Very Confused Looking Man’s question.  The customer who had just received his change was an elderly man, old enough to still have a ‘new’ rotary phone, but even he looked at the cashier and asked, “Did he just ask for a payphone?”  The elderly man asked this in a hushed tone, careful to preserve Very Confused Looking Man’s dignity after asking such a ridiculous question.  The cashier nodded and then let out a nervous laugh, which made me smile.  We were all temporarily lost in our own thoughts when Very Confused Looking Man asked the question, but now realized that we had shared this moment of anachronistic realization together. Today, in this age of cell phones, someone asked for the location of the nearest payphone and none of us could provide an answer. 10 years ago, my answer would have been, “Gee, did you look right outside Wawa?” but obviously not anymore.

It wasn’t until I got home that I properly processed the details of the situation and realized the truth. Think about it: a preoccupied outsider, the old fashioned sunglasses, the full-blown mullet, the bizarre request for a payphone. This man was clearly a time traveler from the past! And we had all laughed at him, instead of recognizing the awesomeness of the experience!

I leave you with two very important questions:

  1. Why is Very Confused Looking Man here in the future?
  2. Do you know where you can find a pay phone?

I finished last night’s LOST episode, “Dead is Dead” (04/09/09).  I won’t post a recap/summary (unless necessary for a point I am trying to make) or any theories because there are enough blogs and websites dedicated to those topics, but here are some of my questions and observations from last night’s episode:

1. First of all, I was plagued throughout season 4 in noticing that Penny (played by Sonya Walger) bears a striking resemblance to some other celebrity, but could not figure out who. It was not until early in season 5 that I put my finger on it: John Travolta. I don’t know if  it is the eyes, cheekbones, similar femine demeanor, or what, but every time Penny is on screen, I can only image her exclaiming “Sandy! in a British accent.  I brought this observation up to some friends recently and even produced pictures of each actor, but I was dismissed as crazy.

Until today.  My wife received this email from a co-worker who was involved in that conversation: “Ok, I can kind of see the Penny – John Travolta thing.”  It is a small statement of pseudo-agreement, but a huge victory for my celebrity matching self-esteem.

2. Ben is certainly becoming more and more intriguing to me as we slowly discover his soft, compassionate side — particularly his mercy towards mothers with children. In last night’s episode, present-day Ben says to Jin, “Find Desmond Hulme and tell him I am sorry…he’ll know why.” This statement is then followed by a flashback of Ben walking on a dock to kill Penny, and I was disgusted by his savage disgustingness.  Then, he is redeemed as we see that he reacts to Widmore’s daughter (and grandson) the same way he reacted to his ‘own’ daughter 20 years earlier — and that earlier move had terrible implications on Ben and Charles’ relationship. I wonder if this consistency and mercy from Ben will resolve some of the animosity between the two (assuming his phone call with Charles just moments earlier did not do irreparable damage already).

Either way, I find myself conflicted: is Ben a decent human being worthy of sympathy and compassion, or is he a manipulative monster who should be loathed and condemned? Or both?  Just another example of brilliant writing from LOST’s crew.

3. I am very interested in seeing how Ben’s orders/threat from Alex the Smoke Monster (A the SM) to loyally follow Locke will unfold.  He seemed genuinely shocked and in awe at the end of the episode, when Locke reappeared with the vine.  His orders/threat from A the SM seem to have been set up by a statement from Locke earlier in the episode. I don’t remember the exact quote, but Locke, responding to a barrage of questions from Ben about where they were going, says something to the effect of, “It’s not easy to blindly follow someone on the basis of a leap of faith without knowing answers, is it?”  Thanks to A the SM, it seems that blindly following someone (Locke) on the basis of a leap of faith is exactly what Ben must do from this point forward.

Questions from “LaFleur” that have been answered:

1. Horace and Amy’s son is Ethan. Ethan appears as a baby in one of the subsequent episodes, and as an adolescent in “Dead is Dead.” This raises a new question: Is Ethan more significant to the overall story of the island than we currently know, or, as my wife suggests, is he merely included in episodes to serve a reference for the time period of events so that viewers don’t get too confused.

Those are just a few thoughts / observations I have after watching last night’s episode, “Dead is Dead.”  Please feel free to comment, respond, share your own thoughts or questions, or otherwise let me know you enjoy reading mine!

I watched last night’s LOST episode, “LaFleur” (03/04/09).  I won’t post a recap/summary or any theories because there are enough blogs and websites dedicated to those topics, but here are some of my questions from last night’s episode:

1. Why won’t the “sonic fence” keep Richard and his people out of the compound.  He mentions to Horace that the fence “may keep somethings out, but not him and not his people.”  Do the Hostiles know the code to deactivate its disintegration powers, or is there something special about them?

2. What happens on the island between the 1970’s (which is the current time for Sawyer’s Five and the Oceanic Six) and the present day that results in the death of women giving birth?  Is it because the Losties are in the 1970’s and interfering with the natural progression of events, or is there some other event that happens?

3. Who is Amy and Horace’s son?  Will he grow up to be someone we already know from watching the first four-and-a-half seasons , or is it an insignificant character shown only to signify that Amy gave birth without dying?

That’s all I’ve got for now.  More questions (and hopefully answers) may pop up as I have discussions with my wife and friends, and listen to Preston & Steve’s LOST discussion!