Saturday, mar. 15, 2008 | 0 commentsI'm not sure if it's unilateral, end-of-a-millennium, one-step-beyond madness, or just that I'm a freak magnet. Either / or, the results are the same: every damn time I leave the house these days, the tourette's-plagued, drug-addled, and double-troubled pounce on me like cat on string, puncturing my space bubble, messing with my chi, fucking with my shit. But I'm not complaining (for once) -- ultimately, sane people are overrated. he past weeks have been filled with run-ins with bat-shit-nuts people, encounters that have left me with the unpleasant job of questioning the overall balance of crazed-to-sane. [You got me working (working) day and night!]
First of all, I've been taking this afro-brazilian dance class (sporadically! don't worry card-carrying members of S.L.O.T.H.) that features live drumming (people who know me will be especially surprised and chagrined by this breach with phobia) and has prompted my feet to bleed, a la stigmata, on more than one occasion. Now this particular masochistic indulgence has me, due to exceedingly confining parking issues, riding the bus a lot. Which means my average exposure time to insanity has risen exponentially.
There was the freaky neck-brace wearing lady who launched this amazing tirade (using a flimsy "is that a new tote?" intro as a segue) regarding how senior citizens refuse to move from the plum Rosa Parks seats to make room for handicapped people like her who had no obvious proof of their disabled status (which got me thinking that the brace was a recently acquired prop to help her acquire her by-rights seat). She said when those spoiled elderly refused to move, she'd just go right ahead and sit on them. Considering her 200+ pounds, I'm sure it was an intensely convincing argument. In our remaining time together, she also held forth about her bone-breaking anti-rape kick, her desire to take low-impact aerobics (after her arthritis waned), and her love of the local flea market (with its pick-pocket and riff-raff preventing 50-cent entrance fee).
Then there was the chatty, recently laid-off man who pestered the driver the entire 30-minute ride about whether his (the unemployed guy with the incredible severence package and the RN girlfriend who has breast cancer, not the driver) four DUIs would stand in the way of getting a job as a bus driver.
Or the silent man who, upon seeing my use of my transfer as a bookmark, insisted on slipping his transfer in between the pages of my book as well and then went back to sleep. The entire gift-giving incident transpired in complete silence.
But it isn't just public transportation that has me questioning the coming of the apocalypse.
I recently went to see a friend from LA play her harpsichord at a local bar and there met this evany doppelganger (a blonde loudmouthed multimedia situation -- just like me! -- who it turns out lives right next door, as in we share a wall). On April 1, I decided to drive to dance class, thinking I'd take break from the bus nuttiness. As I got in my car, I noticed there was a note under my wiper. I had just started to read it, "...move this shit-heap or I'm going to call the cops..." when this multi-pierced goth chick came running out of her hiding spot in my doorway. I shrink-shrank-shrunk away from her, thinking she was the animosity-ridden soul who'd left me the missive. But when she started babbling in about how the cops were after her, how her old man was in jail, she needed a ride to anywhere, USA, etc., I realized that she was unrelated and just needed a little help. I scanned the rest of the note, found out it was an April Fools joke from my recently acquaintanced neighborly twinsie, felt relieved, and offered the be-dark-flowing-gowned girl a ride as far as my class. The following 5-minute drive was a surreal mix of my feeling aged and relieved at having grown out of her fragile age of sixteen, a rocky era when you're as likely as not to run away from home and start dating a DUI-laden thirty-year-olds and take up living in abandoned churches. The interlude ended when I gave her some spare change, offered her deaf ears a warning about the worthlessness of any thirty-year-old who would be comfortable dating a sweet sixteen-year-old, and sent her on her way.
I've saved the really weird incident for last, dessert like.
I was driving to GG Park, bedecked with a bottled coke and burrito that I'd planned on gorging in the sunshine. I was approaching a right turn at about fifty, and, even though I was blessed with a green right arrow, I slowed so I could make the turn in a vaguely safe manner. This precaution earned me a long angry honk from a truck who was proctologizing me about two feet off my rear bumper. The turn made, said angry driver (this crazy, crazy woman) passed me on the left, screaming as she did, "You stupid fucking bitch!" She pulled in front of me, slowed way down, and turned on her left signal. I stopped behind her, waiting for her to make her move. As the on-coming traffic cleared, she started turning. We both started to move forward, but as we did so, we made eye contact in her side-view mirror. And as she was still mouthing epitaphs in my direction, I stuck my tongue out at her.
And she slammed on her brakes.
And I my left front bumper clipped her right rear.
Thus triggering an hour of brain-boggling insanity.
She pulled into the street that she had been signaling for and jumped out of her car, and I followed her, easing my car into a parking space as she splayed herself on the hood of my car, screaming, "Stop! Stop! Don't even TRY to hit and run on me, you fucking bitch!"
I got out of the car and instantly her wagging finger was in my face. "WHY DID YOU RAM ME!!!"
"Why did you lay on your brakes?"
"YOU WERE DISTRACTING ME WITH YOUR TONGUE!"
"Well, if you're so easily distracted by a tongue, then maybe you shouldn't be on the road."
"LISTEN YOU MOTHERFUCKER, [I'm paraphrasing here...her exact upbraiding lost in a sea of astonishment and fight-or-flight adrenaline] YOU TRIED TO MURDER ME BACK THERE BY SLAMMING ON YOU BRAKES AT A GREEN LIGHT, THEN YOU TRIED TO RAM ME! I'M GOING TO FIND A WITNESS WHO SAW HOW YOU TRIED TO KILL ME!!!"
And then she went off to knock on the doors of the all the houses on the street, and I stayed behind to write down her license plate number with a bloppy, sun-seared pen fished from my glove box.
She stomped back about ten minutes later, "NOBODY SAW WHAT YOU DID TO ME, SO I GUESS YOU'RE GOING TO TRY TO GET OUT OF THIS. I ALREADY PAY $250 A MONTH INSURANCE, BUT EVEN IF I HAVE TO PAY DOUBLE THAT, I'M GOING TO TAKE YOUR ASS TO COURT AND MAKE YOU PAY!!!"
"Listen," I said in my very calmest voice, "you're behaving erratically, and I don't want to talk to you one second longer than I have to, so let's just exchange info and let our insurance companies deal with this."
"I AM NNNNOOOOTTT EROTIC!!!!"
Which is when I lost it, giggling, alone, with this crazy person, blue ink all over my fingers, burrito cooling on my passenger's seat.
"THIS ISN'T FUNNY! I AM A GOOD PERSON! I DON'T DESERVE THIS! I HAVE A GOOD JOB! I WORK WITH PEOPLE WITH AIDS! DO YOU SEE THIS! [she pulls down her shirt to reveal her scar-less collar bone area] THIS IS FROM THE LAST TIME SOMEONE HIT-AND-RUNNED ME AND I HAD TO HAVE MY CERVIX REMOVED! [ohmygod!] I'M UNEMPLOYED! I CAN'T AFFORD TO PAY FOR THIS ... AND DON'T PRETEND THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE DENTS ON YOU CAR BEFORE! I'M NOT GOING TO PAY FOR THOSE!"
Jesus. "I know there were dents there already. My car is a complete beater and I have no intention of fixing this dent or any other dent. As a matter of fact, I've learned a valuable lesson today: since your Ford has nary a scratch, and my Honda is blessed with a huge dent, I'm buying American from now on."
"You're not going to try and get it fixed?"
"Well...do you want to just forget the whole thing? I'm usually not like this, especially with a sister."
God. "Sounds good to me!"
So we shook hands and parted.
And THAT'S why I'm holed up here at home, rat-a-tatting on my computer, avoiding all non-virtual contact, and living off the burger place I recently discovered delivers.