Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bus Chronicles 5: The Surgical Mask Nightmare

I like most people. I’m optimistic, friendly; it really takes a lot to get on my bad side. That being said…

She’s on my bus every morning in the same seat – an aisle seat – so the seat next to the window is empty, in an attempt to deter anyone from sitting next to her. And if someone dares glance at the empty seat and give an awkward “excuse me” she’ll mutter something rude in Chinese before scooting over. But that’s only if said seat is the last available. If it’s not, she’ll yell loudly in her whinny accent: “Noo! You sit dere! Noh here, noh here!”

She always wears a face mask. She never touches the bar when she struggles to get out of her seat, always wrapping the rail with a napkin first. (The same napkin every time, too, so any germs that were on that railing now just stew on her napkin. Stupid)

It takes her minutes to shuffle to the door when exiting the bus, and if there’s ANYTHING in the aisle – the tinniest thing – she’ll make a dramatic “oOoOoOh!” as she attempts to maneuver around shoes and umbrellas.

She can barely walk, this woman, I have no idea why she tries to take public transportation, and yet she makes it everyone else’s problem. They should stand rather than occupy the empty seat next to her. They should keep their germs to themselves! And how dare they bring umbrellas and have feet that she must somehow manage to get around!

She hates children. One morning, a little girl and her grandmother were riding on the bus. The little girl was obviously SO excited to pull the cord that makes the ‘ding’ that notifies the bus driver someone wants the next stop: jumping up and down – “Now? Now? Now? This stop, Grandma? This one?” And as soon as Grandma smiles and nods her head, Germaphobe pulls the cord. I looked at the chubby child, lip quivering as she tried to pull the cord and make it ding again. “It’s not working, Grandma. It’s not working.” Poor thing was borderline frantic and China just replies: “Oh, sowy. Nest time, nest time,” and shrugs her shoulders with a “too bad, so sad” frown. Luckily, the bus driver caught on and reset it so the child could have her turn.

She hates dogs. She must live nearby because I saw her one day when I was walking my dog to the grocery store. I kid you not I was at least 10ft away from her and this frail woman who can barely exit a bus somehow lifts her leg in front of her in a kicking motion yelling at me that my dog is going to attack her. Gamble is smelling some bush, completely oblivious to Crazy’s existence.

Ever heard of Edgar Allen Poe’s the Tale Tell Heart? Poe has an old man living next door. An old man with a glass eye. The narrator eventually becomes fixated on the eye and develops an irrational fear of it. He has nightmares every night, until the glass eye sits so heavily on his heart and mind it eventually leads him to murder his neighbor.

Sometimes, I have nightmares of an old Chinese lady in a surgical mask…


  1. I think you should get on the bus and sneeze on her . . . xoxo

  2. or better yet, do they allow dogs on the bus? bring gamble and sit next to her :)