On the surface it was a normal Saturday morning in downtown Knoxville. I stayed in to do the weekly domestic tasks common to downtown and suburban residents alike. By 11:00 AM I was itching to get out into the city. Weather forecasts suggested it was the last day the temperatures would budge above the annual Alaskan average, so wanting a last glimpse of the unfrozen slice of urban we all love so much, I grabbed my very large recycle bag and stepped onto the street.
It is actually a trash compactor bag, so it is extra large, white and very thick. That’s important to the story, I promise. I also grabbed a box full of mixed-paper to take to the recycle center on Central. I looked pretty cool carrying a big plastic bag and box with a picture of a child’s potty prominently displayed on the side. I took my camera, just in case I ran across anything interesting.
I did, of course, run into something interesting. The Jingle Bell Run (see previous post) was ending. I put my bag and box down beside the garbage cans figuring they would be out of the way and hopefully no one would complain if I left them there for a few minutes. I was correct about that part, but what I hadn’t considered was the possibility that someone would steal my recycle bag and box. Especially the box. I was so stunned when I returned to the spot to find them both missing that I walked in circles for five minutes thinking I must be losing my mind.
Still in this unsettled state, I stumbled back into Krutch Park only to have my eyes rest on a man working on his supplies. He had a kind of cool knit hat and a very large and fairly expensive looking cross-country back pack as well as a nice sleeping bag and he was drinking a cup of coffee from Cafe Four. I couldn’t tell if he was homeless or a step or two above that status. I struck up a conversation.
I asked if he was passing through or from around here. He didn’t really answer the question. He replied that he hoped to get an apartment, soon, but would be leaving when the weather broke in the spring. He plans to hike the Appalachian Trail. It’s hard to say if that is a possibility for him. His teeth suggested he could use better medical care, so I’m not sure what condition he might be in for such an undertaking, but he seemed like a nice guy.
I introduced myself and asked his name. “Trinity,” was his reply I immediately thought of the movie, “My Name is Trinity,” from 1970. Why? I have no idea. I never even saw the movie. Why didn’t I think of the Holy Trinity? Why didn’t I notice the strangeness of the name? I didn’t. I asked if I could take his picture. He said, “no.” I rarely get a rejection and this one made the second one in a ten minute span. I told him that was fine and started to walk away, but he called me back. “It’s important that my picture not be seen in the future,” he said with an apologetic tone. I understood immediately that he was a time traveler. Of course his picture couldn’t be seen. Obviously it could alter events yet to take place.
I shook his hand and we parted on good terms. Why didn’t I ask more? Could it be that I had been abducted by aliens and they purged my brain of my normal thinking patterns? Maybe they took the recycle bag to learn more about our culture!
It seems as good an explanation as any for the strange morning. Still, I would like my recycle bag back if you see it. I try to reuse them until they get too nasty to carry. You can keep the potty box. And if you meet a guy named Trinity, be very careful.