Last Saturday was one of those rare September weekends, where it’s sunny and warm and feels like it’s still the middle of summer, even though fall is only days away. We get lots of days like this in September, but they often fall during the week, fading to rainy cool days in time for the weekend. So when we had this really beautiful day on a Saturday, my mom just had to get out of the house. She was hell bent on going for a drive and enjoying the weather – on what was possibly the last really nice weekend day before next June.
I magnanimously decided to grace her with my presence. So into the car we hopped, and over the Malahat we drove. We had a flimsy purpose to our travel. Mom had found a farm that offered horse rides and she wanted to check it out. Easy enough. Drive up island, turn left at RONA’s, right at the first pub, straight on until you see horses. We found ourselves on a pretty narrow country road and when we saw the horses we weren’t ready to stop driving. So drive on we did, and shortly after the horses the main road ended at the beginning of a forest. There was a smaller dirt road leading into what looked to us like a place where you could rent cottages or camp or something.
We followed the sign to the administration building, and ended up in a large, empty parking lot. We got out of the car and headed towards a path that lead to a long log building that looked like a lodge of some sort. Now, I should mention that we didn’t really know what we were doing. We ended up in this place and it looked interesting, so we were looking around.
That’s when a rather large fellow that we’d passed on the road a few moments ago (and who had made no attempt to flag us down) appeared in the parking lot behind us and started calling and waving to us.
“What are you doing here?” he said.
“Well-” my mom started to answer, but he cut her off.
“You can’t be here. This is private property.”
Enough said. We start heading back to the car.
“Okay, sorry,” mom says. “We thought it was-“
“You can’t be here.”
“Sorry, we’re leaving now-“
“There are people here other people aren’t supposed to see!”
Um, excuse me?
Does this strike anyone else as a ridiculous thing to say? Let’s break it down, shall we?
First of all, we were leaving. Getting in the car as he said this. Obviously we were not challenging his authority, we weren’t about to cause a scene. We didn’t need further convincing to leave. “No, we’re staying!” “But there are people here other people aren’t supposed to see!” “Oh, okay then! We didn’t realize that! We’ll be on our way, and sorry for the trouble!”
Even if we were being unruly, that wouldn’t make us leave. If anything that would kindle our interest in the place. What people? Why are they here? Why can’t other people see them?
And if they can’t be seen, this implies that other people aren’t really supposed to know about them either. But now we do. Because he told us. If he’d just let us leave we would have forgotten all about that place. Now that place is etched into my brain, all because of this strangers weird comment. Mom and I talk about it. We tell other people. And we all try to guess at who these people are and why we shouldn’t see them.
Are they famous? Is it a retreat for Hollywood’s prettiest celebrities? Are they criminals? Is it part of an underground railway system for thieves or murderers or corrupt American mortgage brokers? Are they in the witness relocation program? Victims of abusive families? Are they filming a reality TV show? Is it Survivor: Cobble Hill? A cloning ranch? A porthole to an alternate reality where I’d encounter myself, causing a molecular paradox that would make the universe implode? Hmm? IS IT?
On the way out we noticed a big red sign that read “ABSOLUTELY NO UNAUTHORIZED ENTRANCE”. Oops.