Sometimes, you can look straight at something and still not believe you're seeing it.
Yesterday, driving along winding Navesink River Road in Middletown, New Jersey, on a sunny but cool and breezy Mother's Day, I took note of the blue vintage Corvette convertible we passed heading the other way. It's a car you'd notice anywhere, a beautifully preserved classic on a day made for a Sunday drive.
Attracted by the car, I only slightly noticed the driver, and it wasn't until I took another glance in the rear-view mirror that I remembered I know Bruce Springsteen has a vintage Corvette convertible. And though I didn't get a good look at the driver, I at least knew I couldn't say for certain that it wasn't Bruce Springsteen behind the wheel. A middle-aged man with dark facial hair and a bandana on his head. There was a passenger with him who wasn't his wife, because I would've noticed the red hair of Patti Scalfia, but it very well could've been one of his children.
But when I mentioned all this to Casey, she brought up a good point that raised some doubt. "Would he really have a license plate that obvious?" she asked. "It said, 'ROCKER.'"
She had a point there. Why would a celebrity that huge in the quiet suburbs of central New Jersey draw that much attention to himself on the road?
But then again, the Corvette isn't his everyday car. It's his weekend ride, his only-on-a-sunny-day plaything. If he's not going to be driving it that often, then why not have a little fun with the license plate?
So I can't say for certain that it was a second sighting, but I'm confident enough to tell people, "I think I saw Bruce Springsteen the other day."
But when your mind thinks it knows enough to try to overrule your eyes, you just find yourself suspended in an inner debate, staring off into the distance while your gaze locks in, attempting to convince you that you are actually seeing what you're seeing.
Today, that scenario played out at the car wash while I waited for the attendants to wash the windows and wipe it dry after the wash. "Look," one of them said to another, pointing across the street to a playground complex. There, another 50 yards or so from the fence along the road, a couple lay in the grass enjoying the warm afternoon -- enjoying it much more than any of us.
The guy lay flat on his back on a slight slope beside the tennis court and behind some bushes that shielded them from the road on the other side. His girlfriend straddled him, a provocative but otherwise not offensive position when they're both clothed and enjoying a little playtime on the playground. But the fact that she continually bounced and gyrated on him, regularly reaching back to pull her skirt down because it kept riding up and revealing her ass clearly meant that this was no dry hump.
Half a dozen car wash attendants kept one eye on the coital couple while wiping down dashboards and windshields, pointing it out with smiles of disbelieve to each of us waiting for our cards. "Stupid, no?" one asked me.
Even though everyone around me was convinced he was watching a late-night Cinemax movie live and long-distance, I stood there much less assured. Sure, they were concealed from anyone approaching them from the far side (his right, her left), but those of us 75 yards away across the street and on the other side of the chain-link fence -- not to mention every car, including the police cruiser that passed at one point, on the four-lane road -- had a clear view obstructed only by any individual eyesight issues we might possess.
So did I see a true afternoon delight in broad daylight on a New Jersey afternoon? The evidence sure seems to support it, but my mind wasn't going to be so easily convinced.
Lou Gehrig in Asbury Park
4 years ago