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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wherein the Number 10 Smells of Skunk...


I had occasion to ride the Number 10 the other day.

And right there, I think you can tell where this is heading, can’t you?

My free-range love for human beings is in for some testing.

I ask you: Have you ever seen so many weirdos?

Oh, if only you’d have been with me.

Boarding the bus, in and of itself, was notable. The front is full, dance-floor full. I suck it in, shift sideways, and “pardon me, excuse me” until I hit a baby stroller, the kind with room at the back for luggage. I gaze overhead at the “You Must Collapse Your Stroller” posting. I glance down at the mother as she offers the baby a bottle of Mountain Dew.

Sigh.

I can stay here, bumper to bumper with the people who can’t get past the baby, or I can try to get to the seat that I see just over there.

I stand on my toes, suck it in with a ferocity normally reserved for a how-long-can-you-hold-your-breath contest, turn sideways again, and maneuver past the stroller.

Ta-dah.

Next up? An older man and his non-collapsed collapsible grocery cart. It is holding a bag of catfood. He is wearing a woman’s pant suit and some interesting white slip-on sandals. I frown slightly, trying to work out where he got this outfit and what he’s done that he must now wear it in public.

I lift my right leg as high as possible without a 10-minute warm-up, balance on my left foot and step over his cart.

Yoga is really paying off.

The last available seat is mine.

And the peculiar smells wafting from the backpack of the guy next to me pique my interest.

How to describe this smell to you?

Picture, if you will, a badger and, oh, a skunk, sitting on a second-hand couch in the skunk’s mom’s basement.

“Care for a smoke?” the skunk says.

“Don’t mind if I do,” smiles the badger.

And then the police show up, slap the skunk into cuffs and it’s discovered that the badger has an outstanding warrant.

Like all buses, the 10’s population waxes and wanes at every stop. I am riding much further than I usually do, and by the time I am ready to de-bus, half of its riders are gone, ol’ Skunk Weed is but a hastily scrawled memory in my book of blog-hopeful memories and the man in the ladies pants suit is home and relating the story about the annoying woman who stepped over his grocery cart and then wrote, laughing to herself, in a small book pulled from a large purse.

Because it’s true.

Everybody is somebody’s weirdo.

31 comments:

Silliyak said...

No weirdos on our boat headed for the arctic circle, this is the sensible time of year to be in these climes no? Norway has been wonderful so far, interesting food, fisk anyone? They don't seem to have odors here, odd, maybe its just taking a few days to get through the layers of clothing.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
...and you're my kinda weirdo gal!

Do I detect a wee tad cross-pond-i-nation going on? LBOTMB over in Cambs and a badger on the No. 10 in Minipols disguised as skunk?

I want's me a pair of interesting white slip-ons, they'd go well with the sari! YAMxx

terlee said...

So many weirdoes, so many stories, and thankfully you have that little book handy to record it all...;D

Sioux said...

They say it is our sense of smell that is the last to go.

That seems unfortunate, when it comes to some odors...

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

The last bus I rode regularly was an express to the U of Minn. It lacked the interesting variety of the other lines I'd ridden, but your stories more than make up for that. You are a bus-riding adventurer, for sure.

jenny_o said...

I'm so glad you write about these encounters because I think I'd rather read about them than go through them myself! I so love your description of the man telling HIS funny bus story at home :)

Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

This took me right back to my days in NYC. Ahhh...jam-packed-in humanity.

Joanne Noragon said...

We once had an employee whose lunch box was unapproachable. We finally deduced it was rabbit spray from the un-neutered male who had the run of her house. She could not smell it. I wonder if she ever realized she ate lunch alone.

Marsha @Spots and Wrinkles said...

Been there, done that, did NOT buy the T-shirt. Having said that, I kind of like public transportation as a not-so-innocent past time.

True, the crime rate is daunting, and the spectrum of humanity on display can be dismaying.

But I enjoy the lull of moving along, when I do not have to steer, scan for crazies on the road, and watch for upcoming road signs. But then, I am always easily amused.
Funny post. thanks.

Daisy said...

"Picture, if you will, a badger and, oh, a skunk, sitting on a second-hand couch in the skunk’s mom’s basement."

I did picture that as you asked me to do, and then I laughed. :D

I love the way you write, Pearl. Thanks for the smiles today.

Marion Bulmer said...

Oh, i do hope so! I SO want to be someone's weirdo. In fact, we BOTH do. The Husband and I are working on it Really Hard. I can report a level, steady progress. Soon we may even be ready to leave the house and unleash it on the world.

Lo said...

Daisy said it all for me.
I DO love the way you write indeed.
A wonderful blog....thanks, old dear.

Linda O'Connell said...

Not only are the visuals captivating, you've got my nose running from the smells.

Elephant's Child said...

And some people are everyone's weirdo. A difficult job, but someone has to do.
Another great bus trip - thank you.

Daisy said...

I was born weird. We should get together if you ever run out of interesting people on the bus.

Nessa Locke said...

Picturing that man with the lady's pants suit, I have a strong urge to sing "I Feel Pretty." I'm fairly certain I would have at least hummed it.

vanilla said...

Now there is wisdom on the 10: Everybody is somebody's weirdo.

Al Penwasser said...

Bus people.
Gotta love 'em.
Or smell 'em.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You make me smile and thank goodness I don't live in the cities:)

Rose L said...

I have not ridden the bus and now may never do so.

joeh said...

And I thought the train was a bad commute...I think I had it pretty good!

Roshni AaMom said...

I for one am so glad for the number 10...that and your notebook to provide us all such delightful tales!

Saimi said...

What a grand idea, carry a book around to record potential blog information. You're a genius Pearl, oh and your post, yeah, is a great reminder why not to ride on #10!!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

I have never smelt skunk and have no interest in doing so.......

the walking man said...

Skunk weed smells bad but it does the trick when you over stretch getting past a stroller meant for two.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

The super-flexible shape-shifting weirdo with a notebook. I like that sentiment, though. We are all somebody's weirdo.

Suldog said...

That last line is one of the best I've ever read. It would be the title of my book if I had one written :-)

WrathofDawn said...

My fellow bus riders weren't any weirder than normal today, but on my way to the bus I encountered an elderly lady in a rainbow hoodie (broad horizontal stripes) with wide purple stripes in her almost white hair.

She is not going quietly into that good night, I tell you.

I would have whipped out the iPhone and taken a picture, but I'm not sure I could have taken her in a fight.

Roses said...

Word.

Marti Lawrence said...

This makes me glad I don't ever have to ride a bus :-)

Indigo Roth said...

Oi, Pearl!

I hope you're referring to one of those dreadful honey badgers (which is not a badger at all, in fact), and not the magnificent Eurasian variety that inhabit my garden.

As for the smell, it's being sold as CALVIN KLEIN'S "REVULSION".

Roth x