Monday, November 21, 2011

My Unique Urban Moment

Public transportation is one of the more common experiences in cities the world over. Who thinks twice about jumping on the train to go to a meeting? Dallas residents, that's who. I used the train for maybe the third or fourth time ever today and it still feels like Disneyland. Theme songs from New York sitcoms started playing in my head. At one point I had a Friends-Sex in the City-Mary Tyler Moore medley going.

On the way to my lunch meeting I discovered that reading in trains is something only experienced public transportation commuters can do well. After five minutes, I was turning green. Oddly enough, though, reading all the signs didn't give me motion sickness at all. My favorites  are definitely the Poetry in Motion posters. Well done, DART.

After a very pleasant lunch, it was time for another ride... and for a very unique urban moment.

So there I am texting when an older woman sits next to me (potentially homeless, or maybe just cold). A couple nearby asks her a question regarding the best stop to get them to a particular intersection. They were probably tourists, since they had a map and the unmistakable look of "I'm not from here" confusion. The barely audible conversation continues (trains are loud) and all is well. I'm kind of uncomfortable with a stranger pressed up against me, but hey, it's part of the train ride and she's just a harmless old lady with a walker. So I center my attention on my phone, periodically exchanging smiles with a couple of little girls playing with their happy meal toys.

Then, out of the clear blue, the old lady is on her feet screaming at the poor visiting couple! And I mean seriously screaming! She was cussing and spitting and running over my toes with her walker. I'm telling you, now I know what "fit to be tied" looks like!

A younger man that clearly rides the train all the time explained to the (mortified) rest of us that she was fine and would be off the train soon. He tried to talked to her—while keeping his distance—, but pissy granny was having none of it! The guy just kept telling her to calm herself and not say such things.

And what things! I've never heard a senior citizen use the f-word in so many ways and direct it at so many people! Remember the little girls I mentioned? Yup. She f-ed her way through several directives at them. When the mother encouraged her to leave the kids alone (quite patiently, actually), the angry old lady made sure the mom knew she was in fact going to hell, f-ing hell no less. It was impressive.

By the time our angry train companion started in on the teenage boys, I had managed to squirm past her. I stood at a safe distance while intervention guy kept saying, "Those aren't words God would say" and her name (which I never clearly heard).

My adrenaline was going bananas. It was hard not to be nervous, but honestly equally hard not to laugh, especially since most of the teens and kids were laughing hysterically. I was glad they weren't scared, especially the little ones, but of course I wasn't going to laugh at what was clearly an unwell elderly woman coming unglued in public.

When I saw my stop, I maneuvered to the doors, relieved to escape the f-ing yelling from agrograndma only to discover she was getting off at my stop. Oy!

Upside: I power walked today.


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