Friday, April 3, 2009

The Danger Zone

I think the increased bus fare is weeding out some of the crazies on my bus. People have been quiet lately ... really quiet ... actually asleep, many of them. I've encountered the snorer and Cousin Prince Barkley (with bright pink helmet hair this time) but some of the oldies but crazies on my bus have gone missing. Today, however, I happen upon a new character: crackhead skinny. I take a seat in the mid-section of the bus nearing the danger zone which is the far back. You just don't go there unless you really have to, and this is why: As soon as I sit, I start to hear this soft wheezing sound behind me. I pay no attention to it. Next stop, two teenage girls walk on the bus and head to the back. The wheezing sound begins again but this time I can make out words in the wheeze "Heeey girls" and the rest of the sentence is nonsense (to me, anyway). I shift to my right just enough to realize the wheezer is sitting right behind me and actually trying to make out real conversation. I realize it's a woman. And she sounds like she's smoked five packs a day since birth. Imagine a loud whisper with a hint of rasp -- that's how this woman speaks. I hear the two teenage girls respond to her hesitantly and then wheezer and her friend get off at the next stop. I notice wheezer is scary skinny. And she is wearing jeans from 1980-something that have neon, multi-colored paint streaks all over them. I'm thinking they were bought like that, sadly. She stumbles to a stop just before exiting to make some incomprehensible remark to the girls and they sort of nod and smile in confusion. Something she said was funny because she laughs (coughs) as her friend ushers her off the bus. Here is the conversation that follows between the two girls:

Teen 1: I wish I could be that skinny.

Teen 2: You wanna be crackhead skinny like that? Pleeeeze.

(Then something I can't make out)

Teen 2: You know, yer gonna have to stop drinking after you have your baby. Because if you go to jail yer mom is going to be pissed!

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