Driving from New York into Pennsylvania on Interstate 90 we stopped at the first rest-stop  to stretch our legs, get a snack, and let the dog, Dipstick,  do his thing.  The plaza was well lit and quite modern.  In fact the entire plaza was bathed in light, front and back. The back stretched out a good 50 yards to a fence.  Beyond the fence was acres of hedge-rows, that could have been corn rows, but it was much too dark to tell for certain.  Nevertheless, thinking that it would be best to take Dippy for his stroll in the back of the plaza, he and I headed for the back and could clearly look into the rest stop itself which was a wall of glass window running the full length of the plaza. Inside I saw a little old man waving wildly at me, and pounding on the glass.  He was obviously trying to get my attention. Dippy and I looked at him, and then looked at each other and began to head back the way we had come and the man was following us inside to the door. As we came to the end of the building, he emerged from the building wildly gesturing to us completely out of breath saying, “don’t go out there”. I asked him “what’s the problem”?

And still out of breath he looked at me and said, “It’s dangerous back there…bad things happen”. I looked out at the area which was completely lit up and said, “What kind of things?” He looked at me like I was crazy, and said,” Arabs!!”.  At this point, I wish I’d had a picture of my face as I was trying to absorb what he was saying.   My mind is racing as I’m trying to process what I heard. “Arabs???”  I said.

Arabs!!”  He then said, “It’s dark out there”.  I looked at him, and then, at the dog who was looking at me as if he was nuts, and I said, “Well, which is it, Arabs or the darkness?”  He then threw his hands up in the air with complete exasperation as if I was the crazy one here and said, “it’s dangerous back there. 

I stood there in total amazement at what this guy was all worked up over.  I looked out beyond the fence at the hedge-rows which stretched out for acres into the darkness and thought, “this guy has visions of terrorists running through his head”, and they’re all gathering in a cornfield in Pennsylvania…and he thinks I’m going to take my dog out beyond the fence and into the hedge-rows in total darkness where I’ll disappear forever or get captured …by Arabs no less.  I had no idea that Arabs had a predisposition to hanging out in dark hedge-rows off the interstate in Pennsylvania just waiting for unsuspecting tourists who are walking a dog and decide to climb over a fence...with the dog, and then wander through acres of darkness.  I mean…is that something that’s part of Arab culture? Do they just sit there and wait, as if anybody is going to actually say to themselves…I think I’ll climb over a fence with my dog and simply take a stroll into acres of dark hedge-rows.  Maybe I’ll meet some Arabs. I mean, it’s midnight and I’m just making a pit stop here, but on second thought, maybe I’ll just jump a fence and explore acres of dark fields in Bumfuck, Pennsylvania. I’m trying to put together in my head why Al Qaeda, who I have to assume this guy is referring to (aren’t all Arabs members of Al Qaeda?), would have any interest in launching a terrorist attack from some cornfield in Pennsylvania off the interstate.  I finally said, “What the f**k are you talking about man? Why would I even consider taking my dog out beyond the fence that I have to climb over at midnight into some dark hedge-rows or cornfield or whatever it is? Does that sound sensible to you? Is that something that you would do? “Hey honey, go wait in the car. Me and the dog are going to wander through some cornfield for a while. If we don’t come back it’s because the Arabs got us”. My dog needs to take a crap and we’re walking right outside this window and you’re freaking out about Arabs or the dark, or maybe both.”  Finally a woman co-worker told the guy, “let him go and walk his dog”. “Go ahead sir.” “Never mind.”  

 ARAB’s???;  In a cornfield in Pennsylvania?  I wonder who he’s voting for?


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