Monday, September 17, 2007

what big eyes you have, Virginia Woolf

So my distance vision is not really the best. Driving around is always exciting because I need to be immediately in front of a sign before I can receive its course-setting instructions. My imagination, therefore, plays a fair part in sighting what's far-off. So imagine my surprise yesterday as I drove east on University and spied, looming above the line of car roofs, what appeared to be the head of Virginia Woolf, looking especially huge and saturnine, strapped to the top of a Volvo.

I had a moment of wincing clarity: I'd finally lost my mind. For that instant, I determined that I'd finally had the psychotic break I'd long dreaded. Maybe this decapitated author existed only for me, a private dancer here to haunt my demented mind. To my great relief as I neared her, though, the splendor of the plaster head's reality was unmistakable. She was real. Phew.

I pulled over, the bulldog in me engaged and ready for the play-tug negotiations that would ensue as I convinced the lucky owner of our star-crossing, that he was absolutely meant to sign the big Ginny over to me. I already began the plans for her arrival in my small, but willing home. She could sit in my window and look out over the downtown Oakland cityscape. A bay window of our own. To my disappointment, though, as I walked up the street "Virginia" revealed herself to be none other than the miserable matron from—yes, that's right—American Gothic.

I went into the store anyway. I'd parked, after all. In the SF Bay Area, that's commitment. And well, it ends up I just loved this guy. I asked if he had a digital camera (I only had my phone with me). He didn't, but said that he actually went over and drove around the Google campus whenever he had Gothic wife strapped to the car. His strategy was to sucker the deck kids roundabout those parts to take pix and post them online—just like I was wanting to do. "Free advertising," he smiled. And look at that. Per his plan, I was charmed enough by the outsized oddity that I inadvertently ended up advertising for Rerun clothes (see side of Volvo). The guy was a regular guerilla marketing marvel.